Sewing Tips Newsletter – Issue 4

Sewing Tips Newsletter
by Jenny T.

This past weekend has some of the most perfect weather in Virginia. It was low to mid 80’s… sunny… and breezy. And do you know what that means? It means time to crack out the grill, set up the patio furniture and enjoy the outdoors! I just had my deck built and I am so excited about getting it all “fancied up” for guests. One way to freshen up your patio furniture is to put out some new seat cushions in your favorite fabric. Don’t throw out your old ones, just recover them.

This week’s sewing tip includes a quick and easy method for sewing a box cushion Plus designer tips for both indoor and outdoor cushions.

In this issue:

1. How To Sew A Box Cushion in 15 Minutes or Less

2. Designer Tips For Sewing Box Cushions

3. Ask Jenny T. Now

4. What’s new in Simple Sewing Projects

5. Decorating Advice

And now… on to this week’s sewing tip!


Sewing Tip #4: How To Sew A Box Cushion in 15 Minutes or Less

In this lesson, you’re going to learn a super fast way to sew a box cushion. This is a great way to quickly add new seating to your outdoor patio… or to add some fun floor cushions for the rec room. Whatever your reason for wanting box cushions, you’re going to love this quick, now fuss method for sewing a box cushion.

The video for this lesson is at


Foam cushion

A zipper that’s the same or longer than one side of the cushion


Zipper foot

Matching thread

Cut the fabric

Cut 2 pieces of fabric that are:

Cut width = width of cushion + depth of cushion + 1 1/4″

Cut length = length of cushion + depth of cushion + 1 1/4″

Sew on the zipper

Lay the 2 pieces of fabric right sides together, aligning all 4 edges

Sew only 1 edge with a 5/8″ seam allowance, using a basting stitch

Press the seam allowance open and flat

Lay the zipper right sides down on the seam allowance, centering the zipper teeth along the seam

Baste the zipper tape in place with a hand needle and thread

Using a zipper foot, sew the zipper tape to the fabric… sewing a straight line from edge to edge. (you should have 2 lines of stitching when you’re done.

Sew the other 3 sides

Zip the zipper so that the zipper pull is about half way across the fabric.

Lay the fabric right sides together aligning the raw edges

Sew a 5/8″ seam allowance along the 3 sides

Press the seams open and flat

Create the boxed corners

At each corner, fold the fabric so that the center of the seams are aligned… the seams should run down the center of the folded corner.

Draw a line across the corner where the line will be the depth of the cushion.

Sew along this line

Trim off the corner leaving a 5/8″ seam allowance.

Turn the cushion cover right side out and insert the cushion. Zip it up.

You’re done!

Discover video and audio of even more sewing tips, how-to’s and resources by visiting You’ll even be able to subscribe to these weekly sewing tips and how-to’s and receive them through your iTunes or podcast player.

To learn how to sew designer box cushions… with tufting, ruffles and welt cording… visit


Designer Tips For Sewing Box Cushions

1. Add welt cording to the edges. Most box cushions you see, have welt cording along the edges. This defines the edges and is a more professional result.

2. Add ruffles to the edges. Insead of adding welt cord to the edges, add a small ruffle. You can even add ruffles to the fabric covered buttons.

3. Tufting. Tufting is when you sew buttons to the cushion. You can create your own fabric covered buttons of matching fabric… or contrasting fabric. Sew on just one center button, or rows of buttons. It’s your choice and design!

4. For softer feel, wrap foam in batting and felt first. If you are making an indoor box cushion, you may want a softer feel than just feeling the foam under the fabric. Use spray adhesive to attach batting to all sides of the cushion. Then wrap the cushion in felt.

5. Wrap top, bottom and front in Dacron or cushion wrap to help protect your fabric, help your cushion hold its shape and to have your cushion last longer.

6. If you don’t like the look of a centered zipper, try sewing a lapped zipper instead. This will hide the zipper. You can find video instructions for sewing a lapped zipper at

7. You can also have the side strips of the cushion wrap a bit to the zipper side… creating a small pocket to hide the zipper pull.

8. For extra thick cushions wrap the zipper around the corners of the cushion. This will create a wider opening allowing you to insert thick cushions… like 4″ or thicker.

9. Pretreat your fabric and choose fabric that’s appropriate for it’s use. You obviously don’t want to sew a silk cushion for an outdoor patio.

Constructing the box cushion to use these special techniques is different than the method in this newsletter. To learn how to sew professional quality box cushions using custom welt cord, buttons or ruffles, visit


Ask Jenny T Now

While you wait for the next sewing tip, be sure to visit and submit your sewing question. Your question maybe answered in my next podcast or newsletter!

Question from Bobbie: Why does the fabric sag away from the lining in my Roman Blind when I open the blind. I have made 6 such blinds and they all give the same problem. I have used Blackout for the lining. Desperate, please help.

Answer: Your fabric will swag away from the lining if you have not sewn the roman shade rings through all layers. A Common mistake is to sew the rings only to the lining. But then there’s nothing there to hold the fabric to the lining. Your rings must go through all layers.

Question from Fran: Jenny, have you ever tried to create/sew a roman shade which also has the sheer roman shade attached to it? I believe they are called dual roman shades.

Answer: Yes! What you’ll do is attach your fabric roman shade to the front of your board and rig as usual. Then attach a sheer roman shade to the back of the board. You’ll need to install small grommets for each lift cord close to the top of the shade. Thread the lift cords to the front of the sheer roman shade through the grommets. Now, thread your lift cords through the screw eyes on the board, but in the opposite direction of the fabric roman shade’s cords. So that you’ll have your fabric roman shade’s cords on one side and the sheer roman shade’s cords on the other.

Question from Deb: how to make hobbled shades

Answer: You can learn how to make hobbled roman shades by visiting

Question from Sheryl: My daughter and I are getting ready to make the Roman Shades with your instructions. She has picked a contemporary floral print fabric with light neutral colors along with some black in it. She doesn’t want the stitching where the shade tape is sewn to show on the front side of the shade. What do you suggest we use for thread? We are doing this in about a week so if I could have your answer soon it would be great. Thank you.

Answer: My first choice would be black thread. Or if there’s a dominant neutral, choose that color. You’re using roman shade tape, and this is one of the downfalls of the tape… those darn stitching lines. If you really don’t want the stitching to show, sew on individual rings.

Question from Carol: Jenny, I am getting started on sewing some boxed cushions. One of them is the T-shaped seat cushion and the other is the back cushion with an arched top edge. How important is it to put a Dacron wrap around the cushion before it is put into the cushion cover? In sewing the cushion covers, are there any special hints or tricks that I should know about? Thank you for your time. Carol

Answer: If your cushions are for inside use and will be used frequently, I would definetly wrap the cushions in Dacron. As in the article above, this will help protect your fabric, keep the shape of your cushion and give your cushions a longer life. As for other tips and tricks, check for a complete series on sewing box cushions.

Visit and submit your sewing question today.


What’s New This Month In

1. Step by step illustrated instructions for sewing a pleated cut out swag.

2. Step by step illustrated instructions for sewing jabots.

3. How To Sew Buttons Video Series, which includes how to make custom fabric covered buttons.

4. A complete video series of me – Jenny T. – sewing a skirt with an invisible zipper using an easy sewing pattern. This was so much fun!

5. Starting June 22nd, my first online class will start. I will be using my living room as the case study and I will be designing, sewing and installing cut-out swags with drapes. This class will last 6 to 8 weeks. I should have a sign up link within the next couple of days. Each week will consist of a full video tutorial, printable info, step by step illustrated instructions, a weekly Q & A and more. This class is for all level of sewers. For non-members, the class fee will be $47. Super sewer members will have access to this class at no extra cost. Please send me a quick email to let me know you are interested. This will give me an idea of number of students and help to finalize the itinerary. Don’t worry, your email will not require you to sign up…. but of course, I’d love it if you did!

Gain immediate access to all this exciting content plus to all of the archived sewing projects and how-to’s for FREE… for the next 30 days!

Here’s the link to subscribe to

and in the coupon field use: 118B4

** This coupon will expire June 22nd. Sign up now to try out at now cost! **

I hope to see you in the member’s site!


Decorating Advice

If you have a decorating question, please visit and submit your question.


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Happy Sewing!

Jenny T.

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