Tuesday, June 22, 2010

TUTORIAL: Fleece-backed Crochet Cushion Covers

This is especially for those of you who would sooner crochet a tennis-court-sized afghan than make a teensy-weensy cushion cover and sew on a back. Sewing? Bleurgh.

Anyway, I needed a backing fabric strong enough to take the weight of the crochet. Some people use denim or recycle old sweaters, but I had a thin fleece blanket I'd bought for pittance during a clearance sale. Recycling ahoy!

You will need
a fleece blanket (mine cost €2.99 at a local department store. It has already backed three cushions and I should get another one or two out of it as well)
a sharp scissors
a sharp needle (I usually use a blunt tapestry needle for my crochet sewing, but here you'll need one with a sharp point)
some pins
- and a
thimble, if you have one (I don't and I survived)
- and your finished cushion cover (I edged it in a row of purple and left a long yarn tail to use for attaching the cover to the fleece.)

First of all, you need a template for the fleece back. Measure your finished cushion cover and add a quarter to one side. In other words, mine is 40 x 40 cm; if I add a quarter, it becomes 40 x 50 cm. I cut out a rectangle of paper 40 x 50 cm and then cut this rectangle in two parts: one is appoximately 20 cm wide and the other is 30 cm wide, both are 40 cm 'tall'.

I then place these two pieces on my fleece blanket side by side along the edge of the blanket, with about 8 cm between them. In other words, the 40 cm-sides are lined up along the edge of the fleece blanket, which has already been hemmed by the nice people in the fleece blanket factory. I pin them down into place and use my big sharp scissors to cut out around them, leaving a good 2 cm over on each side, except the hemmed side.

You now have two pieces of fleece, pinned to pieces of paper. One side of each piece of fleece (the bit that's 40 cm wide) will be the hemmed-in-the-factory side and this hemmed side will form the flap on your cushion back. So place your cushion cover next to the fleece pieces and overlap them so the hemmed edges are lying on top of one another in the middle, and the (roughly) cut edges are around the side. This overlapping bit is the cushion closure. If the overlap is big enough, there's no need for buttons (yay!)

So far, so good, eh? Now place the two sides of the cover (the two bits of fleece + the cushion cover) on top of one another, with the 'right' (also known as the 'pretty' sides) face to face. The 'wrong' (or 'ugly' sides - yes, there's a right and wrong side to crochet work, but if you can't see it then it really doesn't matter) should be facing out.

Keep everything from wriggling away by pinning the whole contraption together. You don't need a lot of pins, just enough to keep a grip on it. (At this point, by the way, you can remove the paper. It has served its purpose.)

Now pick up your needle and start whipstitching the fleece to the crochet. It might be a bit difficult - you may have to wriggle the needle a bit - but I find inserting the needle into the fleece from the side (as opposed to directly through the material) seems to work best. Try it out - you'll find a way that works best for you.

Warning: sewing through the part with two bits of fleece (the overlapping part that forms the back flap) is going to be tough, but it's only a couple of centimetres, so bite your lip and get on with it.

You then turn your masterpiece right-side-out and admire your luvverly stitching:

Look at that lovely closure (I like the zig-zaggy side best). Did you hem that fleece all by yourself? (Practise saying it now: "Yes, I did. It took hours. I worked my fingers to the bone. But I'm a perfectionist, moi."

The back of the cushion should look like this:

And this is the front:

Now you place your cushion in a strategically nonchalant but very visible position and modestly garner praise for your wonderfulness.


aseknc said...

Love it! Awesome tutorial & I have it saved to make. Thank you so much for sharing it!

Warm hugs & abundant blessings,
¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`♥Anita


Paul & Carla said...

Yet another cool cushion and an equally cool tutorial. Thanks, Gingerbread Lady!

Suzie said...

Awesome! Between that and the crocheted pillow edges tutorial I found thru Ravelry, my house is going to be decked out fancy in no time flat!

glor said...

Oh my goodness, this is absolutely beautiful ... happy, cheerful, all the things that make a day brighter. Thanks for tutorial. Have a wonderful evening.

Aussie Maria said...

The cushion is gorgeous - love the colours. Thanks so much for the tutorial, might actually try it now ☺

MmmYarn said...

I don't know about being nonchalant. I believe I would have run outdoors waving it over my head if I accomplished a sewing job that neatly. :)

Your cushion is wonderful!

GerryART said...

What a great idea ! ! !
Fleece pillowback will make it all the more huggable.
Wonderful match for your happy, happy pillowtop! ! !

Vaughnde said...

Brillant! I love love love your colors! And its definitely Attic24 Lucyesque! I'm saving your tutorial for when I get around to doing some of my own :)

Gumnut said...

That is lovely. And timely for me as I've stumbled across your blog just as I'm making my first cushion cover and wondering how I'm going to do the back since I have the sewing experience of a numbat. Now I know :D Thanks so much for sharing.

I was wondering, though, since I was going to buy material instead of use a blanket - for the edging of the flap, if I bought a wide weave knit material, do you reckon I could get away with single/double crocheting the edge instead of hand sewing the seam? Maybe fold it over and stick a hook through so the stitches hide the raw edge of the fabric? I'm pondering the idea...I'm new to crochet, too.

In any case, Hi, from Adelaide, South Australia. I hope the tendonitis makes a fast exit and lets you get back to doing what you love. ::hugs::

(who gets warned by various wrist muscles from time to time)

Anne said...

I love your idea of using fleece. I am backing an afghan with fleece since I cross stitched designs on the front. And when I saw, today, your granny square cushion, I love the idea for a niece of mine. She will love it too!! Thanks!! :)

DesperateReader said...

Stumbled upon your instructions to make fleece backed crochet cushions and loved the pattern. Youve made it look easy and even a clumsy, neatness challenged person like myself can feel inspired to make the gorgeous soft pillows. If i succeed in making the cushion cover, your final instruction will be the hardest to follow....modestly garner praise? ? It will be hard to be modest about something like this ��