QAYG Cushion Tutorial


Ms Midge
Welcome to Pretty Bobbins! I’m stop number two on the Cushion for Christmas bloghop and today I’m sharing a QAYG cushion tutorial. The lovely Ms Midge came up with the great idea to feature cushions that can be made in a day – the ideal Christmas gift! Speaking of Ms Midge, I’m pretty sure she is freaking out right about now as my modem died over night and I have been offline for over 24 hours leading up to my stop on the hop… Amazing how long the battery lasts on my iPad when there is no wifi in the house ;)

I am sharing a cushion that I made yesterday morning. I didn’t time myself but I started after breakfast and finished before lunch, so it is definitely do-able in a day :) I am familiar with the techniques though, so it might take a beginner a bit longer :) I find the key to the Quilt As You Go (QAYG) method is to be organised. I set up my machine, ironing station, cutting mat and fabrics (in order) within reaching distance. I used a 16″ cushion insert. I pieced together cotton wadding and cut backing both at 18″ square.

Now my QAYG cushion is technically not QAYG as I didn’t quilt the sections other than to sew them in place. Usually with QAYG you will sew your strip down as I describe below, flip it right side up, then quilt it in place. I have done this and it does look rather lovely but I find it to be an unreasonably time consuming and thread hungry method. So I cheat a little ;) Below you can see a lovely QAYG iPad pouch I made last year. I keep meaning to FMQ over a cushion that I’ve made using my cheats QAYG method but I always love the end result too much to add any extra quilting :) The choice is yours :)

I started with a reasonable sized scrap off center and then added a piece that covered the width and over hang 1/4″ each side. I cut all my pieces 1.5″ wide and worked out the length as I went along. The key being to ensure that each piece overhangs by 1/4″ at both ends.

I used my walking foot which has 1/4″ marked on it and I secured my stitches by going back and forth a few times at each end. I didn’t use any pins, I just lay my wadding on my backing and they stayed in place while I was working. After sewing each strip in place I trimmed back any overhang from the previous piece to the 1/4″ seam allowance. After trimming I ironed the most recent piece flat. Ironing after adding each strip will give you the best outcome.

I was trying to be clever with colour and laid all of my prints out in order and then checked as I went along. I didn’t quite get the affect that I was aiming for but I’m still really happy with the cushion.

After finishing the teals I laid out the purples. So pretty :)

I found it easiest to use my ruler to measure the required size of the next strip. You need to ensure that you strip has 1/4″ seam allowance from any raw edges.

In the above example the strip would need to be 7.25″ x 1.5″

I started to fall in love with this cushion when I was about half way through adding the purples :)

There’s something about pink that I love. In hindsight I should have gone teal, pink then purple but in the end I added the pinks starting from light to dark (both purple and teal were added lightest to darkest).

I realised after adding a few pinks that I didn’t have enough to continue with only 1.5″ strips so I laid out my remaining pieces to finalised the placement. I started with an 18″ square piece with the intention of a finished 15″ cushion cover.

After adding all of my pins I trimmed back my mini to 16″ (width) x 17″ (height) and cut a backing piece the same size.

I decided on a zipper closure in the bottom seam and I always like to add an extra inch for this purpose. I don’t have access to my overlocker/serger at the moment so I used a flatlock stitch on my sewing machine along the bottom edge (17″ edge – important if your prints are directional).

Lay both your backing fabric and mini right sides together and stitch 1/2″ in from the edge. This will be where you insert your zipper. You want approximately 1.5″ at both ends in your normal stitch length and the area in between in the longest stitch length possible. You can sew these three areas separately, but I’m lazy and just secure my stitches and adjust my stitch length without trimming :)

After timming your threads press the seam open. Because we’re making a cushion cover that involves quilting I always fuss with the pressing. You want a nice straight and flat seam :)

Select a zipper longer that the width of your cushion (I think I used a 21″ zipper) and pin in place so that the teeth are ligned up to where the front and backing meet. I use pins to remind me where my basting stitches begin/end. Grab your zipper foot and sew your zipper in place. Don’t forget to make sure that the tab is within the sewn area. I cross over the zipper just outside of the basting stitches and sew back and forth a few times.

Trim your zipper ends and secure with a few stitches. Next you want to grab your seam ripper and carefully rip out those basting stitches. I usually use tweezer to grab the tiny threads left afterwards.

Then you want to sew your cushion cover together. Make sure you leave the zipper open so that you can turn it right side out. I like to use a 1/4″ seam allowance, first with a straight stitch and then with the serger or a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying.
Et voila! You have a brand new cushion ready for Christmas!

I used a lovely Kate Spain fat quarter (from her line Good Fortune) for the back.  LOVE.

I hope you have found my tutorial helpful. For me, as always, this was an exercise in colour play as much as it was in quilting and whilst I didn’t end up with exactly the affect I was after, I do love it :) In case you’re wondering, yes, it will be a Christmas present for a very special friend :)

Ms Midge
Don’t forget to head over to Ms Midge on the 14th of December to link up your cushions. You can find all of the details here and links to the other fabulous bloggers below. I can’t wait to see what everyone has been up to!

 Sunday 1st December – Ms Midge

Monday 2nd December – Me!! at Pretty Bobbins
Tuesday 3rd December – Kristy at Quiet Play
& Ms Midge
Wednesday 4th December – Joshua at Molli Sparkles
Thursday 5th December -Rachel at Little White Dove
Friday 6th December – Fiona at Finding Fifth
Saturday 7th December – Abby at Things For Boys
Sunday 8th December – Lauren at Molly & Mama Makes
Monday 9th December – Jodi at Tickle & Hide
Tuesday 10th December – Adrianne at On The Windy Side 
& Ms Midge
Wednesday 11th December – Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts
Thursday 12th December – Gina at Party of Eight
Friday 13th December – Jane at Quilt Jane
Saturday 14th December – Round up of Blog Hop and link up YOUR projects at Ms Midge!
Wednesday 18th December – Winners Announced at Ms Midge!

Patterns Only - $20 Voucher
The Oz Material Girls - $20 Voucher
Fat Quarter Shop - $50 Voucher!
Polka Dot Tea - Fabric Bundle!
Intrepid Thread - $25 Voucher!
Blossom Heart Quilts - Ornamental Quilt Pattern!
Quiet Play - Winner’s choice of 3 Paper Piecing Patterns!

Let the cushion madness begin!

21 Comments on QAYG Cushion Tutorial

  1. Lauren at Molly and Mama
    December 2, 2013 at 10:07 am (7 months ago)

    This is simply stunning! The selection of colours and prints is lovely. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful project!

  2. Ms Midge
    December 2, 2013 at 10:09 am (7 months ago)

    OMG! I Love this!!! So clever! And I love learning different ways of putting zips in to cushions!?!?! xx

  3. Adrianne
    December 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm (7 months ago)

    A really cute cushion Gemma – love the colours and the technique. Also handy to find out another method for inserting the zipper – you could totally make it double sided with this method!

  4. Kristy
    December 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm (7 months ago)

    Gorgeous cushion cover and iPad cover! And a wonderful tutorial, I think I might have to try something similar! :)

  5. Sarah
    December 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm (7 months ago)

    Love! Will try this one for sure!!!!

  6. LittleWhiteDove
    December 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm (7 months ago)

    It’s beautiful!

  7. DeborahGun
    December 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm (7 months ago)

    stunning – just my colours exactly! And thanks for the great tutorial. I never manage to make my cushion backs out of 1 fat quarter, so want to give this a go :-)

  8. abby @ thingsforboys
    December 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm (7 months ago)

    This is beautiful! I love the colour progression and the pattern. I really need to try some QAYG! Looks so much easier than I thought.

  9. Vera
    December 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm (7 months ago)

    Turned ouf fab! Love the color placement and thanks for sharing the zipper instalement as well.

  10. gina
    December 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm (7 months ago)

    Beautiful cushion Gemma!!

  11. Kristy @ Quiet Play
    December 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm (7 months ago)

    Gorgeous cushion! I just love the colours you used!

  12. Michele T
    December 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm (7 months ago)

    This cushion is absolutely stunning!! You have given me the perfect idea for gifts to make my nieces… they will love a pillow similar to yours! Thank you!!

  13. Linda
    December 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm (7 months ago)

    What a gorgeous cushion! and your Ipad cover is wonderful. Love all your fabrics. Thanks for the tutorial. I have not tried a zipper in a cushion before, so might give that a try. Thanks.

  14. Deb Quilts
    December 3, 2013 at 8:18 am (7 months ago)

    So pretty! Love this technique and your fabrics are just lovely. Thanks for the tutorial.

  15. Kirsten
    December 3, 2013 at 11:10 am (7 months ago)

    Gorgeous pillow – love how it looks with your lovely aqua chair too.

  16. Am L
    December 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm (7 months ago)

    What a great tutorial! I don’t think I’ve visited your blog before, but not certain how I’ve missed it. I look forward to exploring your blog, and future posts.

    I have been a big chicken about zippers, but I’m not sure why. I think my mother would moan every time she had to put one in a garment she was making, which has made me a bit afraid to try, as she was a great seamstress. : ) However, your method seems very straight-forward, and not the least bit scary. Thanks!

  17. Lori Smanski
    December 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm (7 months ago)

    this is really lovely, I tried QAYG and it was a fabulous mess, LOL Your fabrics you chose are great. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Kate
    December 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm (7 months ago)

    Terrific idea for your gorgeous cushion!

  19. Joanie
    December 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm (7 months ago)

    Love your wonky pillow especially how you branched out with different color families. It looks quite perky on your wicker chair.

  20. Sarah
    December 7, 2013 at 9:29 pm (6 months ago)

    Love it Gemma! The colours are gorgeous and so is the range of fabrics. Thanks for showing the construction technique. Have you landed in Australia yet?

  21. Fran
    January 11, 2014 at 4:04 am (5 months ago)

    This is so beautiful! I hope I can find the courage to try it ;-)


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