Tutorial: Envelope Cushion Back with Buttons and Binding

I began following the English Country Garden QAL in February 2021. I did intend to make all nine blocks and create the quilt-as-you-go quilt top… But best intentions and all that…I’ve got to the back end of 2021 with just four of the blocks completed. I enjoyed learning more about EPP and applique by making the blocks and also enjoyed having a slow stitching project to turn to but now I’ve decided it’s time for me to draw my involvement in the QAL to close. I’ll be making use of the completed blocks rather than consigning the project to the UFO Cupboard of Shame!

I’ve trimmed the blocks to 18½” square to make four new cushion (pillow) covers to replace the rather worn patchwork covers we’ve been using in our living room for the past 10 years or more.

I hope sharing the process I’m using to make cushion covers from these quilted patchwork blocks will be a useful guide should you decide to do something similar 🙂

Materials

  • One 18½” quilted patchwork square*
  • Cushion Back Fabric: cut two 18½” x 15″ rectangles
  • Medium weight interfacing: cut two 17½” x 2-5/8″ rectangles
  • Two 1″ buttons
  • Double fold binding: cut two Width of Fabric 2¼” strips to make approximately 84″ of binding. Sew strips together and press in half lengthways
  • 18″ x 18″ pillow form.

*I like my cushions squishy. If you prefer a firmer, tighter fit then cut your square to 18″ and the Cushion Back Rectangles to 18″ x 15″.

Equipment

  • Sewing machine with facility to make button holes
  • Rotary cutting tools
  • Pins and/or binding clips

Step One: Preparing Buttonhole Plackets

  • Place a Cushion Back Rectangle wrong side up on an ironing surface. Press a crease 3″ down from a long edge of the rectangle. Open out the rectangle.
  • Position an interfacing rectangle along the crease – there will be approximately ½” fabric exposed at either end and approx. ¼” seam allowance along the top of the rectangle.

 

  • Adhere the interfacing in place as per manufacturers instructions.
  • Fold and press the seam allowance over the edge of the interfacing Diagram 1.
  • Fold the interfacing flap to the back of the rectangle and pin in place.
  • Top stitch 1/8″ along the top edge and 1/8″ inside the seam allowance to secure the placket Diagram 2. Now measures 18½” x 12″ (18″ x 12 if making the tighter fitting version).
View of wrong side of a Back Rectangle with top stitching completed.
  • Repeat to prepare the second Cushion Back Rectangle.

Step Two: Make Buttonholes and Attach Buttons

  • Fold a Cushion Back Rectangle in half on the placket edge and make a crease to mark the centre.
  • Lay the Cushion Back Rectangle face up on a flat surface.

  • Measure 2½” away from the centre crease and make an erasable mark starting ¾” above the top stitching that secures the placket seam.
  • Repeat to measure and mark a buttonhole 2½” away from the other side of the centre crease.
  • Make vertical button holes using the marks as guides.
  • Place the Button Hole Placket, face up, directly on top of the placket of the other Backing Fabric rectangle (also face up).
  • Make a mark through each buttonhole onto the placket below to position the buttons.
  • Attach buttons.

Step Three: Attach Cushion Back Rectangles and Binding to Cushion Front

  • Lay the Cushion Front right side down on a flat surface.
  • Button the two Backing Rectangles together and pin placket ends so plackets are lying directly on top of each other.
  • With Cushion Back face up, place one 18½” edge directly on top of a Cushion front edge. Pin in place.

  • Carefully smooth the Backing over the Front. Pin in place. There will be a strip of excess Backing fabric along one edge.

  • Flip the pinned pieces over so the the Cushion Front is uppermost. Use a rotary cutter to remove the excess Backing Fabric.

  • Pin the binding raw edge to raw edge around the Cushion Front*. Start on an edge that does not have exposed Placket ends.
  • Stitch the binding in place using a ¼” seam in the usual way. Take care not to accidently flip the placket pieces as you stitch.
  • Hand stitch the binding to the back of the cushion cover.

*If you would rather machine stitch both edges of the binding then first stitch the binding raw edges to the Cushion Back before flipping the binding round and machine stitching it to the front of the cushion cover.

I hope this tutorial is useful. Any questions or suggestions do get in touch with me using the comments box at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in reading more of my tutorials you can find them by using the ‘Tutorials’ tab in the header 🙂 . I’ve also published several patterns including the I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern, these can be bought as PDF downloads from my Etsy Shop.

Linking with Kelly for Needle & Thread Thursday. Kelly has been busy hanging lights outside her house in time for the Holiday Season but has had time to create a gallery of quilts from last weeks linkup.

Allison

Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (271)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. This week fashionably late on a sunny Sunday afternoon 😁 Bring along your project(s) and take part in the generous sharing of tips, ideas and encouragements that our Worldwide Quilting Community is just so good at doing! Do add to the community by leaving a message in the comments box of any blog sites you visit using the links below 🙂

I’ve been busy creating an I-Spy quilt using my I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern. The top came together really easy. When it came to finding

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Glue-Baste-It: Discovering new sewing notions

My little basket of applique and English Paper Piecing notions is almost fit to bursting! Funny how each branch of patchwork quilting calls for another collection of bits and bobs 🙂 My latest purchase is a 2oz bottle of Roxanne Glue-Baste-It.

 

Ridiculously expensive for something that looks suspiciously like PVA glue but HeyHo I was sold on the precision dropper that administers dots of glue little bigger than a pin head.

I’m using Glue-Baste-It to temporarily adhere my EPP pieces in place on the background fabric. I had been using the SewLine glue pen.

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Table Top Sewing Basket Tutorial

Hand sewing projects have the great advantage over machine sewing of generally being mobile activities. Even if ‘mobile’ only means moving from room to room or sofa to armchair within the home! Which is basically as mobile as sewing projects can be in current Covid restricted circumstances! Of course being mobile, even in this limited sense, does raise the need for some sort of container to carry and store sewing notions.

I had the perfect container hidden away on a shelf in my sewing room – a little fabric basket just the right size for the threads, needles, scissors and other bits and bobs I need for English Paper Piecing and applique projects. As well as being a useful container for carrying all the notions the basket also serves as a way to keep them all safely in one place – rather than thread spools rolling off the coffee table and my scissors getting lost between the sofa cushions!

Realising how useful the fabric basket has been to me over the past few weeks I decided I would make one as a gift for someone who is about to recommence home sewing after a long break. I’m really chuffed with the little basket and matching pincushion I made from a fat quarter and a few smaller scraps.

My word for 2021 is SHARE and in that spirit I thought I’d post a tutorial should you feel inspired to make a Table Top Sewing Basket 🙂 I certainly wouldn’t claim that this is an original idea. I first made a fabric basket back in 2014. I can’t remember the tutorial I followed. If  ‘make a fabric basket tutorial’ is typed into a browser the choice is overwhelming! Overtime I’ve adapted that first tutorial, introduced ideas from other basket tutorials and tried different combinations of materials. So this is a hi-bred of several tutorials and plenty of experience 🙂

To make a basket with a 4½” (11cm) square base that stands 4½” high you will need:

  • One Fat Quarter cut into: one (1) 5¾” x 20″ rectangle; two (2) 4¼” x 7″ rectangles
  • Contrast fabric: one (1) 1¾” x 20″ rectangle.
  • Lining: Two (2) 9½” x 7″ rectangles.
  • Medium weight iron-on interfacing (optional): one (1) 5″ x 19″ rectangle.
  • Wadding: one (1) 9″ x 22″ rectangle.

Step One – Preparing the Outside of the Basket

  • Using a ¼” seam, stitch the contrast fabric rectangle to a long edge of the 5¾” x 20″ rectangle. If either of your fabrics are directional be sure to orientate them correctly with the contrast fabric at the top of the basket! Press seam open.
  • Fuse the iron-on interfacing to the back of the pieced rectangle.
  • Lay the pieced rectangle face up on top of the wadding. Baste the two layers together. Try using masking tape to keep the wadding slightly stretched and in one place whilst lightly pinning the pieced rectangle in place.

  • I could write ‘quilt as desired’ and imagine the howls of frustration 😀 so instead I’ll just say that I generally choose to use a walking foot to stitch gentle wavy lines along the length of the piece. But if you are keen to practice free motion quilting stitches then a project this size is ideal! Keep the stitching lines about ½” – ¾” apart to help give the basket a bit of extra rigidity.
  • Once quilted use a rotary cutter to trim away the excess wadding.
  • Cut the quilted rectangle into two (2) 7½” x 9½” rectangles.

Step 2 – Making Boxed Corners

  • Place the two quilted rectangles right sides together. Use a ruler and pen to mark a 2¼” square in the lower left and right hand corners.

  • Line up the seams and pin. Stitch the two pieces together using ¼” seam. A walking foot is useful for getting through all the layers. Use strengthening back stitching at the start and end of each seam AND over the drawn lines.
  • Use scissors to cut out the marked 2¼” squares.
  • Fold one cut corner so the side and base seams are lying together.

  • Pin in place and sew along the opening using a ¼” seam, back stitch the start and end of the seam.

  • Repeat with the opposite opening.
  • Turn right sides out.

Step 3 – Make the Lining

  • Place the two Lining rectangles right sides together. Use a ruler and pen to mark a 2¼” square in the lower left and right hand corners.

  • Stitch the two pieces together using a 3/8″ seam. Leave a 2″ opening in the bottom seam. Use back stitching at the start and end of each seam AND over the drawn lines.
  • Use scissors to cut out the marked 2¼” squares.
  • Make boxed corners in the same way as for the Outer Basket.
  • Finger press the seams open and leave the lining wrong side out.

Step 4 – Make the Tab Handles

  • Place a 4¼” x 7″ rectangle wrong side up on an ironing board. Fold the shorter sides to the centre. Press to crease the folds. Fold along the centre line to make a 1¾” x 4¼” rectangle. Press the folds.

  • Top stitch close to both long edges of the rectangle.

  • Repeat with the second 4¼” x 7″ rectangle.

Step 5 – Constructing the basket

  • Place the Outer Basket inside the Lining, right sides facing with the side seams against each other.
  • Fold a Tab Handle in half widthways and slip it between the Outer Basket and Lining layers so it is centred on the side seams. Allow the raw edges of the Tab Handle to protrude ¼” above the rim of the basket. Pin securely in place.

  • Repeat with the second Tab Handle on the opposite side of the Basket.
  • Pin the Lining and Outer Basket together all around the rim. (This might be a bit of a tight squeeze as the Lining is shorter than the Outer Basket).
  • Stitch a ¼” seam inside the rim – a walking foot is useful for stitching through all the layers.

  • Use the gap in the bottom seam of the Lining to turn the basket right sides out.
  • Hand or machine stitch closed the gap in the bottom seam of the Lining.
  • Roll and pin/clip the rim of the basket so the seam is uppermost.

  • Top Stitch ¼” below the rim to hold the layers in place and create a neat edge.

I hope you enjoy making, using and/or gifting a Table-Top Sewing Basket. Any questions? Pop them in the Comments box and I’ll do my best to help.

One last tip: Best not to use a bag wadding such as Bosal In-R-Form for a small basket like this one. I did once and turning the bag right side out was very difficult – a bit of a Call the Midwife situation if you know what I mean? :-O

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday and with Denise for her Put Your Foot Down linky.

Allison