How To Make French Mattress Cushions

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How to make a tufted french mattress cushion

Learn how to make your own French tufted mattress cushion with this step by step tutorial. These handmade mattress cushions can be used on window seats, daybeds, benches or simply as soft and comfy box floor pillows. This DIY project is easier than you may think – it was my first attempt at a French tufted cushion and the result is not at all bad if I say so myself. If you fancy having a go at creating a mattress cushion yourself, don’t be daunted, it’s not nearly as hard as it looks!

When I started looking for a cushion for the window seat in our newly installed walk-in wardrobes, I realised, it was going to be a bit of a challenge finding one that (a) I liked and (b) actually fit the custom size of the seat.

I love the look of these gorgeous mattress cushions but they can be quite expensive to buy especially if the fabric used is linen, which it usually is if it’s a good make. The cushions I found were either too big or not big enough! That’s when I decided I had the perfect excuse right there, to try my hand at another creative project! It turned out quite well if I say so myself and I can see myself making more of these in the future.

For your convenience, this website contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to yourself however, it helps towards the costs of running this blog. Thanks so much for your support of Chalking Up Success! Please read my fulldisclosurehere.

Here’s how I made my French tufted cushion

Time needed: One weekend 2 days.

High-density foam pad cut to size (USA) (EU)
Foam batting (mine was around 1inch thick) (USA) (EU)
Fabric Adhesive (spray) (USA) (EU)
Fabric – My piece was 145cm x 90cms (I saved a little here by ordering an off cut) (USA) (EU)
Matching sewing machine thread (USA) (EU)
Strong Upholstery thread (for the quilting – so it doesn’t snap when you pull it taught) (USA) (EU)
Hand sewing needles (USA) (EU)
Long mattress needle (USA) (EU)
Tacking pins (USA) (EU)
Tacking thread (in a contrasting colour to the fabric)
Scissors (USA) (EU)
Measuring tape or ruler (USA) (EU)
Fabric marker (disappearing ink) (USA) (EU)

Foam cushion:
I was very lucky to find a foam cushion that was the exact size for my window seat. If you need to cut the foam to size, one of the best ways to do this is with an electric bread knife.

Foam Batting:
Cut two rectangles of batting to cover the top and bottom of the cushion.
Cut two short side pieces and two long side pieces
OR
Wrap the foam around the entire cushion and just cut side pieces as needed, (this is what I did).

Linen Fabric:
Wait until you’ve attached the batting to the foam to measure the cushion again. Add 1/2 inch seam allowance to the measurements.
Cut 1 top panel and 1 bottom panel.
Cut 2 side panels
Cut 2 long side panels

Prepare The Cushion

Spray the top of the foam cushion with spray adhesive (follow the instructions – I had to wait five minutes before attaching the foam).

Press the batting onto the foam cushion pad. Repeat this until all sides are covered with batting.

The cushion pad is finished.

Make the mattress cushion cover

If you search the web for ‘How to make a box cushion’ this is the first video that shows up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw_40jnjZBE

This is the tutorial I followed except for making the zip.

I first pinned and then tacked the cushion panels together before machine sewing and with the cushion turned inside out, I inserted the cushion pad to make sure I had measured correctly and that the cushion cover fitted.

After sewing, you will be left with one of the small side pieces open.

Make a small fold down the length of each of the open edges and iron flat.

Insert your cushion pad into the cushion cover.

Use the hand sewing needle to sew the small edge together using a ‘slip’ stitch (also known as ‘ladder’ or ‘invisible’ stitch).

The mattress cushion cover is finished.

Tufting the mattress cushion

Measure the cushion and use a fabric marker to place a dot in the middle of the cushion.

Thread the upholstery needle with a long piece of double thread and tie a large knot in the end. (Just keep making the knot until it’s nice and big). The length of the upholstery needle makes it easy to grab hold of and push through the layers of fabric, batting and high-density foam.

Push the needle straight down from the top to the bottom of the cushion then double back through to the top again. Repeat this a few times pulling tightly as you go. Finish by cutting the thread and tying several times. Snip the thread close to the knot.

From here, it depends on the size of the cushion as to how many tufts you make. I measured from the middle out to the side (26 cms) and made a tuft at halfway (13cms). I did this all around the top of the mattress cushion.

The top tufting is finished.

Tufting the sides of the mattress cushion

This was the part that I was most unsure of. I’ve read countless ‘tutorials’ and never did quite get the gist of how to tuft the sides of the mattress cushion. In the end, I decided there was nothing for it but to ‘learn by doing’.

Measuring & Stitching
If you are good at eyeballing whether the stitches are even then you will save a little time here. I decided to measure and mark where the stitches should go using the fabric pen.

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I measured along the top edge every 2cms with a depth of 2cms in towards the middle of the cushion. Then I did the same with the stitches underneath but used the half centimetre marks to measure along the sides. This meant that the stitches were staggered top and bottom. I know that sounds a bit convoluted but you should be able to see what I mean from the photos and if not from those then from the video if it’s up by the time you read this post (If not, then it’s coming soon!).

Continue doing this around the top and bottom of the mattress cushion. Try your best to line up the top and bottom stitches because that’s what gives the cushion its ‘mattress’ look.

The French mattress cushion is finished!
See below for:
‘The things I learned’ and ‘The things I’m glad I bought’.

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So my French mattress cushion is finished. Since the high-density foam was the exact fit for the window seat, I was worried that after adding the layer of batting and fabric it might make the cushion too big for the space but it didn’t. Tufting the sides seemed to pull them in enough so that the cushion was still a perfect fit.

Things I Learned

My French Mattress Cushion is not perfect but for a first attempt I happy with how it turned out.

I will definitely make another one of these but there are a few things I might do differently next time around.

  1. I would buy a larger piece of fabric.I saved money by buying an off-cut but ended up having to sew two pieces together for one of the small side panels. No one will see it because it’s packed tight against the sides of the window seat so it doesn’t matter here really but it wouldn’t look great on say the bench in our hallway where something like that would be very noticeable.
  2. I would tuft the edges firstand the centre of the cushion last. I’ve seen it done both ways but tufting the middle first, pulled some of the edges in towards the middle. They ended up crooked and that made it hard to measure the tufting along the edges and I was left with an uneven edge.

Things I’m glad I bought:

  1. The long mattress needle.I thought this was going to be a waste of money but it made light work of pushing the thread through the middle of the mattress for the tufting. I had read that I would need to wear leather gloves for this project but now I’m glad I didn’t buy them, I wouldn’t have needed them at all. I think the fact that the needle is so long meant there is more to grip and that makes it easier to push through the high-density foam and batting.
  2. Thicker upholstery thread.You need to be able to pull the thread really tight to create the tufting. I doubled up the thread thinking that would be even better but I don’t think I would have needed to do that at all. When I tried to break the thread with my hands, it would not budge so I had to use my scissors.

I saved some cash by doing it myself but I know a project like this is not for everyone.

If you love these mattress cushions but don’t want to make one yourself, here are some gorgeous custom handmade alternatives you can buy online:

For your convenience, this website contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to yourself however, it helps towards the costs of running this blog. Thanks so much for your support of Chalking Up Success! Please read my fulldisclosurehere.

If you’re in Europe – Heritage and Folklore

If you’re in the USA – Grateful Home

Or here if you are in the UK – Wendy Hood Furnishing

French Mattress Cushion Tutorial

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Are you familiar with french mattress cushions?

Originally, the French made their everyday mattresses this way! Leave it to the French to elevate the everyday items with beautiful detailing.

Marked by an extra big, bunchy edge welt and delicate, button-less tufts, these casual cushions add another layer of farmhouse elegance wherever you see them.

I have seen them online in few places and they always strike me as so timeless and cozy.

But, I wanted to see if I couldn’t make one myself. There really isn’t much online about how to do it, so it was fun to figure it out.

The welting and tufting stitches, in particular, are ones that I figured out through a lot of trial and error.

I am happy to pass them on to you!

French Mattress Supplies

  • I like to buy mine off Ebay. The foam pictured in this post is 3″ thick, which created more or a 2″ inch side on the cushion. If I were to do it again I would probably use 6″ foam.
  • Cut with a serrated knife, using a sawing motion. An electric knife works great!
  • Batting
    • I like polyester, 10 ounce which is 1″ thick. The fluffier the better for this project.
    • I found mine at Joanns.
    • Do not use piping, it is not malleable enough.
    • Spray Adhesive
    • Fabric
      • Ticking and velvets are very french looking. I used microsuede because I have a dog that thinks I just made her a new bed. Microsuede is easy to clean with just a baby wipe.
      • Matching Thread
      • 2″ Needle
      • Straight Pins with ball heads
      • Sewing Machine
      • Fabric Scissors
      • Upholstery Thread
        • Buy thread that matches your fabric. I was lazy and just used what I had on hand. My knots are showing more than necessary now.
        • 6″ Upholstery Needle
        • Leather glovesIMPORTANT.
          • Basically, if you don’t wear leather gloves you aren’t going to get through this project. On a cushion this size, I had to hand stitch for six hours. There is so much pulling and pinching and pushing needles through that my hands were aching and redwith the leather gloves.
          • Make sure they are skin tight on your hands.
          • I use these Mizuno golf gloves in a Youth Small when I do upholstery.
          • Scotch Guard
          • French Mattress Tutorial

            Box Cushion

            • First, cut the upholstery foam to the desired size.
            • Make the box cushion cover.
            • When you cut out the fabric pieces be extra generous. Don’t just cut the extra 1″ seam allowance, cut and extra inch of both sides (3″ total) so you have lots to bunch up. I wish I had done this more on mine.
            • If you have never made a box cushion, follow this Youtube video, skipping the zipper information.
            • Leave one of the long sides open.
          • Then, cut large panels of batting that will cover the top and bottom of the cushion. Cut two extra wide strips of batting to adhere to the top and bottom edges of the sides. These will be easy to bunch up when it’s time to do the welting.
            • Use Spray Adhesive to adhere all the pieces to the foam.
            • I used a big piece of cardboard and moved it around to protect the floor as I sprayed.

              Carefully slide the foam and batting into the box cushion cover.

            • Check all over and make sure the batting stayed in place.

            • Pin open side shut, tucking in a little seam allowance on both sides as you go.
            • Use the 2″ needle and matching thread to slipstitch the opening closed.
            • Here is a Youtube video showing how to do a slipstitch.

            Welting

            • Using upholstery thread, gloves and the 2″ needle, start at one corner of the cushion.
            • The stitch I came up with that gives the most bunchiness is a four step process.
          • Start by pinching a good inch of fabric and batting, even a little foam if you can. Keep nice and high on the top edge.
          • Next, make a 1/4″ vertical stitch on the top of the welting and come down below.
            • Then, make a 1/4″ horizontal stitch underneath.

            • Come out next to the bottom of the vertical top stitch.

            • Finally, stitch right under the surface of the top fabric and make one large 1 1/2″ stitch inside the fabric to get to the place to start the next stitch. Pull tight as you go.
            • Do this all along the top edge and then the bottom edge.

            Tufting

            • Once you finish the welting, you can decide on the tufting pattern.
            • People seem to either do two parallel lines of tufting or a diamond pattern.
            • Because I knew I would be covering the back half of the cushion with pillows, I decided to go with the diamond pattern.
          • Measure out a plan and stick straight pins in on both sides to mark the tufts.
            • Cut a 4′ piece of upholstery thread for each tuft. Use double thread and an upholstery needle. Knot the thread.
            • You will need to wear your gloves, but keep taking them on and off every time you make a knot.
          • Stitch an * (asterisk star) shape about 1/2″ diameter.
            • Note- the first knot goes straight through the fabric and gets lodged in the foam.
            • Sew three complete stitches before you pull tight to create the tuft. The fabric has a ton of tension were each of the tufts are located. It is possible to tear a hole right through the fabric if the pressure isn’t spread out before pulling.
              • Turn the mattress on its side while you tuft to make sure you coming out exactly were you want your stitch to be on the other side.
              • Once you are ready to tie a knot, pull tight one more time.
              • Take your gloves off and cut the thread, leaving the two tails as long as possible.
              • Now, tie the two tails like you were going to tie a bow. Folding under and pulling tight, do this six times.
              • Re-thread the upholstery needle and stitch the thread straight down through the foam and out the other side. It doesn’t matter where it comes out.
              • Finally, pull tight and clip the thread, the tails will be left buried in the foam.
            • Continue tufting.
              • Keep re-measuring and adjusting the pins a little on both sides before you start a new tuft.
                • One you are finished, as always, Scotch Guard the living daylights out of that baby.
                • Spot clean with baby wipes or rubbing alcohol.

                I recently wrote a post on how to Add a Zipper to a Pillow in Ten Minutes where I showed how I quickly made the six pillows on our window seat.

                If sewing is not your thing, I have included the best french mattresses I can find online.

                I am very pleased with the final result.

                Now that I know how to make french mattress style cushions, they will be my cushion of choice in the future.

                How to DIY a French Tufted Mattress

                Six steps to the reading nook of your dreams.

                Published on February 15, 2020

                The moment I realized that we had the space for a window bench in our sunroom, I immediately envisioned a French tufted mattress as a cushion for the spot—the breezy upholstery is revered for its versatility and ability to play to a variety of decorative styles and spaces. The question was more abouthowI was going to find the perfect one.

                After doing some research, I learned that having one made professionally is quite expensive (the manufacturing process is surprisingly labor-intensive) and purchasing a ready-made one can be just as pricey. So I decided to try my hand at DIY. I quickly discovered that there aren’t too many tutorials out there, so a little trial and error was involved. Once I managed to work out the various kinks, I realized that the project would be fairly manageable—and the finished product turned out stunning. Here’s how I made it happen:

                The Supplies

                • High-density foam ( I used 4-inch foam—you may opt for less, but this style of cushion looks best on the hefty and substantial side)
                • 3/4-inch-to-1-inch batting (you’re going to want enough to cover the entire piece of foam on all six sides)
                • Fabric (we used this linen )
                • Spray adhesive
                • Matching thread (preferably upholstery-grade)
                • 3-inch sewing needle
                • 6-inch upholstery needle
                • Sewing machine

                Step 1: Trim the Base

                Cut the foam to size using a serrated knife, slicing halfway through the top, then flipping over to cut through to the other side—this should give you a straighter cut. We cut our foam a bit larger because you lose some size when you do the tufting. (All in all, we lost about a 1/2 inch on either side.)

                Step 2: Tackle the Padding

                Cut the batting to size for each of the six sides, and apply it to the foam using spray adhesive. Use the heaviest batting that you can find, as it helps bulk up the edge you’re creating on the top and bottom.

                Step 3: Put the Cover Together

                Create a box cushion using your sewing machine and this tutorial (j ust ignore the zipper instructions, and when cutting your fabric, add 1 1/2 inches to all sides for a seam allowance and to create some extra fabric for the tufting). We left the long edge on the back to be sewn shut by hand using a ladder stitch, but in retrospect, we would have left a short edge open for less work.

                PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN KESTENBAUM

                Step 4: Stitch Up the Sides

                Once the cushion cover is done, it’s on to welting—otherwise known as the stitch that runs across the top and bottom edges. Take a long piece of thread and run it through the sewing needle to make a very large knot at the end of the thread.

                Starting with a corner of the foam, pinch the edge where the top and side come together. About 1 inch down from the edge, stick your needle in from underneath. Pull the needle through the top, then stick it back down next to where the first thread came up and pull tight. Then stick the needle through the fabric and come out 2 inches over to the side. It should look something like this:

                Repeat the above steps all the way around the mattress and tie the string at the end. ( I followed this tutorial for that step .) Make the stitches as consistently spaced as possible so that you can match them up vertically when you repeat on the top side.

                Photography by ERIN KESTENBAUM

                Step 5: Add the Details

                It’s time for the tufting. Map out where you want your tufts to go by using pins on both the top and bottom, spacing them evenly apart. We opted for approximately 7-inch spaces between our tufts, working with a 3×11 grid.

                Using the 6-inch needle, double-thread it with 18 inches of thread. Choose a side to be the bottom and start there, pushing the needle through the back to the front, and then pulling it back through next to the first hole from the front to the back. We used a pen cap to push the needle through, since it can be quite sharp. Pull the needle all the way through to the front again, then push back through to the back. Tie a knot while applying downward pressure to the hole created by the thread—put your whole body into it. Here’s what that looks like:

                The last part is easiest with two people: One person applies pressure to the area of the foam that the thread has gone through while the second makes a triple knot, creating the tuft. Tie it tight enough that the foam is held in place, but not so tight that the pressure is too great on the thread. Repeat for each of the tufts. We found it easiest for one person to get the thread ready to go for each tuft in advance; this saved us a lot of time.

                PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN KESTENBAUM

                Step 6: Complete the Final Touches

                Once the tufting is complete, spray Scotchgard on the cover. Then sip your morning coffee and unwind with a book on your new cushy seating area.

                DIY Tufted French Mattress Cushion

                Step-by-step tutorial to make your own Ballard-style tufted French mattress cushion in just a few hours using basic material and sewing skills.

                Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

                I’m SO excited to finally be able to share this tufted French mattress cushion I made because it’s been 2 years in the making. Yes, really. It was in the plan back when we completed our French-style bench out of a pair of broken chairs (because that was inspired by a Ballard Designs bench that is no longer available with a similar cushion) and it’s been sitting half-completed in my workroom ever since.

                Like many other things I put off, by the time I actually get to it I can’t believe I didn’t get it done sooner – it literally took only a couple of hours.

                Not only that, it’s not hard, requiring only straight-stitch machine sewing and basic running-stitch hand sewing. I made sure to take pictures along the way so I would be able to show you how to make one too, and I’m passing on a few tips and tricks I learned to hopefully make it even easier for you!

                How to make a Tufted French Mattress Cushion

                What you’ll need:

                • 2″ to 3″ thick foam cut to desired size
                • quilt batting – enough to completely cover foam piece
                • sturdy fabric to cover top, bottom & sides of foam (I used a piece of cotton canvas drop cloth, but about 1 yard of upholstery-weight fabric will cover most chair cushions and 1-1/2 yards for bench-sized cushions)
                • ball-head pins, thread (regular for machine sewing and quilting or button weight for hand sewing), upholstery needle, sewing machine
                • optional: disappearing ink fabric marker, small fabric-covered buttons, small craft scissors

                Tufted French Mattress Cushion Steps

                Cut Fabric

                1. Measureyour foam piece and make a pattern out of newspaper – top and sides. Lay it on your fabric, pin it so that it doesn’t move, and then use a ruler to mark an inch beyond the pattern, all the way around. This extra gives the room you’ll need to pinch together and sew for the mattress edge. For the cushion side pieces, only mark 1/2-inch where theside corner piecescome together, but for long sides at the top and bottom edges, leave the 1-inch seam (i.e., all other seams are 1 inch).

                UPDATED TO CLARIFY:ALL the edges where the side pieces meet the top/bottom pieces should be cut 1-inch larger (leaving 1/2″ seam allowance – i.e., where you will sew – AND 1/2 inch for pinching edges), BUT theside corners onlyneed the regular 1/2″ seam allowance, since they don’t need extra. Again, when you cut the side pieces you add same one inch for seam allowance on the LONG edges only. The short edges that will make your corners you use the 1/2″ when cutting because you are not pinching.

                If it helps, just imagine that you are cutting 1/2″ seam allowance everywhere and then ADDING another 1/2″ on all the top and bottom edges that you are going to be pinching and hand-sewing.

                2. Cutout all pieces on marks.

                Sew Cushion

                3. Sewside corner seams with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. (If you’re in the market for a sewing machine, I use a Janome machine similar to this one that I’ve had for 10+ years. It’s still going strong even with a lot of tough sewing projects I throw at it!)

                4. Pinsewn side piece to bottom piece, easing as needed since the pieces are different sizes through straight edges and around corners.

                5. Sewthe side-to-bottom seam with a 1/2-inch seam allowance (the extra we left will be for the hand-sewn edges) all the way around.

                6. Repeatsteps 4 & 5 for cushion top piece, exceptleave a wide openingto insert your foam. A trick I use to help me remember to stop sewing is to use two pins next to each other as a visual reminder (yes, I learned this the hard way – too many times, actually!). You’ll also want to bar-tack (sew back-and-forth a couple times) to lock both sides of the opening, since a lot of pressure will on those areas when you’re inserting the foam.

                7. Make sure to check each cornerbefore inserting your foam for creases or pleats. Just remove a few stitches and re-sew to make smooth corners.

                Apply Batting & Insert

                8. Coverthe foam piece with batting.

                9. Foldthe batting at the ends like wrapping a present and slip stitch it closed. There’s no need to sew where the batting overlaps length-wise, just sewing the ends will keep it in place.

                10. Insertthe batting-covered foam into your cushion cover (folding foam as needed to get that baby in there!), fold the raw edges of the opening under to match the 1/2-inch seam and pin closed.

                11. Sewopening closed with a simple slip stitch or running stitch.

                Create French Mattress Edge

                12. Now it’s time to create the ‘mattress’ look for the cushion: Thread a long upholstery needle with a sturdy quilting or button thread, knot the end and insert needle into the seam at your starting point on one of the bottom edges – then pull to make your knot pop into the seam so it disappears. Now start sewing by grabbing about an inch of fabric and batting at the edge and sew at the base (mine is about 1/2″ from the sewn edge) using a 1/4″ running stitch.

                13. Continue hand sewingthe running stitch all around the top edge, rethreading and hiding your knots as you need, and the bottom edge.

                14.The bottom pictures above show tips forhiding your starting and end knotswhen hand sewing: bring your needle up to the top of the seam from the running stitch and create the knot where the fabric comes together in the seam.

                15. After making your ending knot, send your needle back through the seam and a bit of a way down into your side fabric. Pull your thread so it’s a bit tight and then snip – the end will ease back into your foam and you won’t see it or the finishing knot.

                As you can see, you don’t need to worry about imperfections in your hand sewing – crooked stitches, different lengths, and such – it’s just part of the charm of this type of cushion – ha, at least that’s what I’m telling myself!

                Create Tufting

                16. Creating the tufted top– I’m not gonna lie, this is the toughest part of this project! And really, you don’thaveto do it – I thought it looked fine with a plain top, but the tufting does add the mattress look we’re after, so it is a nice finishing touch. Start by marking where your tufts should be using a disappearing ink fabric marker (or light pencil mark – you really won’t see it after the tufting) on the topandbottom of the cushion. For reference, my cushion is 38″ x 16″ and I marked 8 tufts by dividing the length by 5 (to get 4 equally spaced tufts along the length) and marking 5″ in from the sides.

                17.Use a heavy-duty button and upholstery thread if you have it, because there’s a lot of pressure on the tufts and you want them to last as long as possible. Even with the thick thread, I still double-threaded the needle for even more strength.

                18. Starting from the bottom of the cushion, insert your needle at your mark and, squeezing the cushion as much as possible, bring the needle through the foam, batting and fabric to your mark on the top, leaving a long tail of thread on the bottom. Re-insert the needle close to where it came up through the top (optional: you can use a small fabric-coverd button here to create a button-style tufting) and go back through the foam, batting and fabric, squeezing again as you go, and pull the needle out close to where the starting thread is. Tie the thread ends together semi-tightly (not too tight as to tear the fabric over time, but not too lose or the tufting won’t be distinct) and clip the thread, leaving about 1/4-inch ends that will be visible on the bottom of the cushion. (Using small scissors like shown is the easiest when working on projects like this.)

                19. Like I mentioned, this ishard– pulling the needle through 3″ thick foam and hitting my marks was way more difficult than I expected and I found two things that made it a bit easier:

                • Using a leather thimble on my thumb allowed me to be able to push the end of the needle hard while pulling from the other side.
                • Using my knee to hold down the foam when I was at the tying stage (this eased the pressure on the thread making it a breeze to tie without having to hold down the foam, too).

                20. Repeat with all your marked areas until the tufting is complete.

                Then sit back and enjoy your sweet tufted French mattress cushion!

                Since I’ve seen similar cushions in catalogs for upwards of $129 (really!) I think this 2-3 hour diy project is totally worth it, don’t you?

                Disclosure: affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn’t change your price. Click here to read my full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.

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                About Jami

                Since 2009 Jami Boys has helped readers live a simple homemade life through whole food recipes, doable gardening, and easy DIY projects on An Oregon Cottage. Whether it’s baking bread, creating a floor from paper and glue, or growing vegetables and canning them, Jami’s done it and written about it. She’s been featured in Cottages and Bungalows, Old House Journal, and First for Women magazines as well as numerous sites like Good Housekeeping, Huffington Post, and Apartment Therapy.

                Reader Interactions

                Comments

                Leave a ReplyCancel reply

                Where did you get the pillows? Or fabric for the pillows? Also did you use buttons for the tuffs or just thread?

                The pillows came from H&M Home years ago and I just used the heavy duty thread for the tufting. You can use buttons if you want, I was after a subtler look.

                Steven Landers says

                Do you have a source for the canvas print you show in the article? I am look for the same vintage, but does not have to be French.

                Do you have a weight of canvas that you are recommending/using ?

                Are you talking about the pillow cushion cover? That is from H&M Home years ago now. I think you may be able to find similar prints on Etsy.

                I just used the standard painters drop cloth canvas which I think is about 10 ounces.

                kim geurts says

                I have a question on the measurements of the fabric. I am doing a square 36x36x6″ cushion. I think I understand your measuring to allow for the cute edge that I am trying to achieve. So my measurements of the cut pieces should be 38×38 for the top and bottom piece, and 38×8 for the side strips? Because my side strip needs to be as long as my top side piece so it would still be (1/2″ for seam and 1/2″ for extra on each end, Right?)

                No, that’s the main issue with this – the sides do not have the edge, so don’t need the extra inches. They need to be the size you’d do normally with 1/2″ seam allowance. So that’s where easing comes into play on the corners. You’ll have to ease and pin the corners before sewing, stretching the side fabric over your fingers to get them to match up. There will be wrinkles in the pinning when you finish, and you’ll have to stretch these as you sew the corners.

                It is doable, I promise! Just ease and stretch as you sew.

                Okay thanks, but can you clarify my measurements for a 36x36x6″ cushion. So add 2″ to the top and bottom square pieces (38×38) and my side strips would be cut at 37×8 then? Does that sound right?

                Yes, that sounds right to me.

                Im curious ….Im new to sewing lol but do you mean to sew it an inch bigger than I need on the top and bottom … I think I get it…I hate seam ripping lol. so lets get this right the first time hahaha A video would be amazing if you ever feel like doing something like that…. ty Rochelle

                Yes, you have to have extra fabric to pinch together for the French seam – does that make sense?
                And yes, I do need to make a video!

                I’m a little confused on how you get the corners to look so nice! The extra inch for pinching is really throwing me off. Do you have any tips for that? Thanks 🙂

                I just do a lot of easing the fabric. I think if you look through some of the comments you’ll find where I tried to explain this further. There are tiny gathers that just happen when you have more fabric on one side than the other (they aren’t really visible, though), but easing is the trick to make it work!

                Hi, I came across this while trying to reupholster a box seat that I’ve had for years, the issue I keep having is that the thread just rips through the foam. How would you recommend troubleshooting this? Also, my fabric isn’t as thick as yours and I think that may be my main issue. I’ve tried putting thin plastic along where the thread is before sewing to act as almost a washer (which seems to be working) but it isn’t pulling tight enough. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

                I’ve seen people use buttons to tuft – would that work?

                So maybe I missed it, no buttons on the bottom? I need to reread. Love this and will try it, thank you

                I didn’t, Denise, because I don’t think you can make a tufted seat like this be removable. It’s more like a little mattress. I do spot cleaning like upholstery.

                Emily Wycherley says

                Finally hit unpon a way to explain your tricky “side piece” dilhemma! Call them gussets!!

                For the cushion GUSSETS, only mark 1/2-inch where the GUSSET corner pieces come together, but for long sides at the top and bottom edges, leave the 1-inch seam (i.e., all other seams are 1 inch).
                UPDATED TO CLARIFY: ALL the edges where the GUSSET pieces meet the top/bottom pieces should be cut 1-inch larger (leaving 1/2″ seam allowance – i.e., where you will sew – AND 1/2 inch for pinching edges), BUT the GUSSET corners only need the regular 1/2″ seam allowance, since they don’t need extra. Again, when you cut the GUSSETS you add same one inch for seam allowance on the LONG edges only. The short edges that will make your corners you use the 1/2″ when cutting because you are not pinching.

                Thank you Emily!

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                French Mattress Cushion Tutorial

                I promised this post some time ago, after I did these cushions for a client.

                . French mattress cushions! I finally got around to making my own, and now I have the tutorial for you as well 🙂

                For this project, I made a new cushion for a bench/trunk that lives by our front door (you can see the space here, with the original cushion). As soon as I had a chance to work with the feedsack fabric from Decor Steals, I knew that was the fabric I wanted to use for this new cushion.

                Please note: this is not a slipcover! You will not be able to take the cover off the cushion once you have constructed it.

                So, here is the step-by-step.

                Start with getting your cushion materials ready. For the "stuffing" I used the 3" foam cushion I already had (I think my client’s cushions used 2" foam, so use your judgement) and 1" batting to wrap around it. I trimmed the foam down to be slightly smaller than the space it needed to go and cut the batting like this:

                . the piece of batting with the notched corners will wrap around the sides of the foam, to meet the top piece. You can use spray adhesive to tack the layers together to make it easier to insert it into the cover later, but I managed fine without it.

                Next, make a basic boxed cushion cover.

                . top and bottom, and four sides. It may be tempting to wrap the fabric around your cushion to reduce the number of seams you have to sew, but you do want the seams at all the edges – it helps get the right look in the end. Match your stripes if you need to. Sew your pieces together like usual, but leave one long side open.

                Now, insert the foam and batting "sandwich" into the cover. This takes a bit of work, depending on how big your cushion is. The important thing is to make sure that you have the batting covering all the way up the sides of the foam and that everything is lying smoothly. You will not be able to go back in to fix it after this point.

                Then, hand-stitch the open side closed.

                Now comes the fun (but labor-intensive) part that makes these cushions unique – the hand-stitching and tufting!

                You will need sturdy thread and a longish needle. I used the thread I usually use for sewing slipcovers, doubled. I also used a straight needle – it might be possible to use a curved needle, but it seemed like that might be more awkward. It might be worth experimenting with. Anyway, these stitches are what makes the cushion so here is what I did.

                Start at a corner and firmly knot the thread so it won’t pull through. The basic technique is a running stitch through the top and sides of the cushion. My stitch length was about 1/8" – 1/4" and I spaced the stitches on the top about 1 1/2" apart (with the stitches on the side staggered in between). My stitches were about 3/4" – 1" on either side of the edge seam. You can measure your stitches to start, but soon you will just be able to eye-ball it; and you will be thankful for relatively even stitches later on 😉 Time for a picture 🙂

                I put the needle straight down from the top in order to grab some of the batting (and maybe the edge of the foam) inside and then angled the needle toward the side panel and pulled it through.

                Your top and side stitches will be staggered. Pull the thread firmly and continue down the edge. I started my stitches on what would be the bottom of the cushion to establish the rhythm/pattern of the stitches. The edge should end up looking wavy and kind of "fat". Depending on the depth of your cushion, you may want a stitch or two along the vertical corner seams, too. Lots of hard work for your fingers!

                Once you have finished going all the way around the bottom edge of the cushion, flip it over and start the top edge. The stitching pattern will be the same, but the key to getting an authentic French mattress look is to line up the top and bottom stitches along the sides (and this is why you want your first row of stitches to be as even as possible).

                . This is what gives that "channeled" look around the edge. Go all the way around the top, knotting the thread securely as you go. Edge stitching done!

                Now, give your fingers a rest – tufting is next!

                First, mark where you want your tufts to go – I divided the cushion into three, to give me two rows of tufting. Yes, math is involved, since you want you tufts to be evenly spaced across the width and length of your cushion. I marked with pins on the top and bottom (because your tufts need to go straight through the cushion), but you can use chalk or pencil or whatever will be invisible once the cushion is finished.

                I used a long upholstery needle (about 5" long) and strong thread, doubled (you could use upholstery thread, but I found it too slippery to knot securely to make the tufts). My thread was about 20" long, after doubling – this was enough length to go through the cushion twice and be able to be knotted. So, put your needle straight through the cushion, making sure it comes out close to your marking on the other side.

                Make a 3/8" – 1/2" stitch and pull the thread back through to the side you started on. Pull thread/stitch firmly and knot it securely. Note: consider how much tension you put on the thread, since you will want all your tufting indentations to be pulled in the same amount. Get another length of thread and make another stitch through the cushion, making an X with the first stitch; pull and knot securely.

                Continue with the rest of your tufts, being careful to pull each tuft so it looks like the others.

                Tie the last thread and rejoice that you are done!

                Here is what my cushion looks like in its new home.

                Are you ready to add a little French style to your home?

                P.S. If you have any questions, or if there is anything I can clarify, let me know in the comments 🙂

                Welcome to August Blues – I’m so glad
                you’re here! August Blues Slipcover Studio strives to enable your home to better serve its purpose, by providing you with quality custom slipcovers that enhance the appearance and functionality of your furniture pieces. Established in 2011 and located in Denton, TX. Read More

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