Nothing purient here, other than a disturbingly pink sofa cushion at the end of this post.

As folk who follow here know, I am in the middle of making a large bolster cushion for Younger Spawn’s low-back mid-century style sofa. The thing will have a unique cover of crocheted squares that look like eyeballs, and will span the back of said sofa. That’s a lot of crochet, now all done and assembled into the six requisite sides.

But how to find a cushion of the exact dimensions needed? It’s not an off-the-shelf item. In retrospect I suppose I could have gone looking for one, and then modified my gauge and motif count to make a cover that fit, but that’s not how I think. Yarn first. Then pillow. So having established my size (within stretch tolerance of the crochet), I had to make my own bolster to fit.

My original thought was to buy a piece of foam and wrap it with quilt batting. I’ve done that before for a bench seat cushion that has a sewn fabric cover. But that was thinner and smaller. I went on line looking for foam and found some, but it came in large sheets. I couldn’t feel it to gauge its loftiness or give, and I’d have to buy the tools with which to cut hard straight edges, then rely on my novice foam cutting skills to get it right. I weighed that against buying it in person from a shop that would cut to order. Although the on line cost was lower, when all was toted up (including angst) I decided to splurge on the custom cut foam. For the record, I got it at the re-opened Fabric Place in Natick, MA.

My 62″ x 20″ x 4″ (approximately 157 x 51 x 10 cm) acquisition, with our fridge for scale.

Massive foam slab acquired, it’s obvious that it has to be covered in some way. Since I blew my budget on this part already, I looked around to see what I had on hand.

Aha! The kids’ old summer camp blanket!

It’s acrylic and won’t fray, lofty, and detested both for its color, odd size, and affinity for scratchy bits of hay. It won’t be missed if it were to be cut up. So I carefully de-splintered it, washed it, and laid out the six pieces I would need (plus seam allowance). I had a lot left over, so I cut two additional panels for the front and the back, but slightly smaller. I zig-zagged them to the existing pieces, to sit inside the final assembly and provide extra cushiness.

I began assembling the six sides to make my cushion cover, but discovered that my initial concept of making a big pillow slip and sliding the foam inside would not work. The grabby nature of both the foam and the pink fabric preclude that. Instead I assembled it “coffin style” – with the three edges of one of the long sides to be sewn by hand, instead of with the smaller end piece being stitched last. Here you see assembly and the final product. The pink stuff turned out to be very stretchy and unruly, and I ended up having to use more tension than I thought to get the cover fitted as closely as I could. The curved upholsterer’s needle helped a lot.

Now that the thing is (rather lumpily) assembled, I have final measurements of foam plus pink padding. I will use those to cut a “modesty panel” of black fabric for each of the sides. Then I will hand-sew those to the back of each of the cushion faces. I hope that the fabric will provide a bit of stability for the stretchy crochet and help keep it from rotating around the inner bolster, as well as keeping the egregious pepto-bismol pink from showing through the natural gaps in the crochet.

After that is assembling those six crocheted sides into the final outer cover using knit-on I-Cord to simulate piping, inserting a zipper in one end of the thing so the cover can be taken off for laundering, and finally clothing my massive but naked cushion with its eyeball-festooned sweater. We’ve come a long way since Eyeball Day 1, back in early October.

4 responses

  1. Hi, I did a similar thing for the yard swing. To slip the foam cushion into the wadding, I went to the dry cleaners and got a long plastic bag. I slipped the foam into the plastic, then inserted it into the wadding. I left the two short sides open, so I can just pull the bag out. Your spawn is lucky. I love the projects that reuse items that are malingering in the closet.

    1. Clever trick! Wish I had thought of that. 🙂

  2. I tried stuffing a large foam cushion into a fabric covering. Yeesh! First I tried to slide the right-side-out cover on. Would not budge. Then I tried turning the cover inside out and rolling it on. Was only slightly more successful. I ended up doing same thing Holly suggested. Sometimes it pays not not toss things to the trash too soon.

    This sofa will be crazy cool, looking forward to seeing the final result.

    1. May take a bit to get a photo of it in situ, on the sofa for which it is intended. It will be a few more weeks of finishing the joining of front, back, and sides, and stitching in the zipper. And then I have to get it to the Target Recipient. Putting a stamp on it is not an option. UPS would cost as much as the gas to drive there. Possibly a road trip. 🙂

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