How to Make Elastic Covers for Couch Cushions

Removable cushion covers may save the couch.
Removable cushion covers may save the couch. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A removable cushion cover with elastic corners may save an outdated, stained, ripped or otherwise unattractive couch. Choose a washable, sturdy fabric to increase the covers' functionality. Perhaps choose a contrasting fabric for a bit of fun, or choose a seasonal print, or one that coordinates with another piece of furniture in the room. Spills and accidents will be more easily cleaned up, and your stress level about your home's cleanliness will go down.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric marking pencil
  • Right angle tool, such as carpenter's square
  • 1/2-inch elastic
  • Scissors
  • 2 safety pins, 1 inch long
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread

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Measure the existing cushion. Record the width, the length and the depth. Add: the width measurement plus 2 inches for ease; and twice the depth measurement plus 8 inches for the under-tuck. This results in the width of the piece of fabric required to cover one cushion. For example, if the cushion is 18 inches wide and 6 inches deep: 18 + 2 + 6 + 6 + 8, to equal 40 inches.

Add: the length measurement plus 2 inches; and twice the depth measurement plus 8 inches for the result of the length of the piece of fabric required. For example, if the cushion is 24 inches long and 6 inches deep: 24 + 2 + 6 + 6 + 8 to equal 46 inches.

Cut the fabric to the measurements calculated. In this example, the piece is 40 inches wide and 46 inches long. Mark a "W" on the width edges and an "L" on the length edges, on the wrong side of the fabric.

Measure from each corner toward the center of the outside edge, and mark a measurement equal to the depth of the cushion plus 1 inch plus 8 inches. Mark this measurement with an "M." In this example, mark a point on each outside edge that is 6, plus 1, plus 8, or 15 inches from the corner. Label this mark "A." Repeat this marking on all four corners.

Measure from the "A" points away from the outside edges the length of measurement "M." In this example it is 15 inches. Measure at a right angle to the outside edge and draw a line on the fabric. At each corner, these two lines will intersect at a point toward the middle of the fabric. Mark a "B" at each intersection point. Cut the fabric on these lines. These cutouts will create the corners of the cushions.

Place the two cut lines together at each corner, right sides of the fabric together. The "B" indicates the top of the seam to be sewn; the "A" indicates the bottom of the seam. Sew this seam 1/2 inch from the edge, from the "B" mark at the top to the "A" mark on the bottom, which is on the outside edge of the cushion cover.

Turn the fabric up 1/2 inch along the outside edge of the cushion cover, with the wrong sides together toward the middle of the fabric. This will create a hem all along the edge. The right side of the fabric will be visible all along this 1/2-inch fold, all around the cushion's outer edge. Press this fold with a warm iron, to form fold No. 1. Turn this hem again 1 inch and press. Sew on fold 1 as close to the folded edge as possible. Leave an opening between the start and stop sewing point of at least 2 inches. This creates the elastic casing.

Measure the length of the elastic casing. Cut a piece of 1/2-inch elastic 25 percent shorter than the finished length. For example, if the length of the casing is 50 inches, cut the elastic 38 inches long.

Fasten a safety pin to one end of the elastic, and pin it to the fabric beside one end of the opening of the casing. This is the securing pin, and is used to prevent the elastic from slipping into the casing while the other end is being threaded through the casing. Fasten a safety pin to the other end of the elastic and thread it through the casing, starting at the opposite end of the casing opening from the securing safety pin, and feed it through the whole length of the casing. When it exits the other end of the casing, remove the securing safety pin and sew the two ends of elastic together. Tug on the encased elastic, at about 6 inches from each side of the casing opening, stretching it and forcing the sewn ends of the elastic into the casing. Stitch the opening of the casing closed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pre-wash and dry the cushion covers in the same way as you intend to clean them after completion.
  • Spray stain repellent products are available that will help prevent stains; if used you may have to re-apply after cleaning the covers.

References

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