Four Square Quilted Cushions

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have heard that I am working on a new 9 month long project...

It's a pretty tiring but very exciting project that is due for completion on the 24th January... give or take! As such I am super excited to start planning a nursery and all the sewing projects that will go along with that. Don't worry, I'm not going to spam you with loads of baby projects but I thought I would share with you the first thing that I have made for baby's room.

Having decided to go for a grey and yellow colour scheme I used some of the fabrics from September's Back To School box. I had a couple of small off-cuts from the yellow gingham and one grey fat quarter left after sending the boxes so I washed them and put them to use making two cushions.

I have sewn squares of fabric together before to make a patchwork effect cushion but was yet to try quilting so decided to keep it simple and use a four square pattern. I bought a couple of 17 x 17 inch cushion inners and went ahead cutting all the pieces out so that they would equal 17 inches square as I wanted a fairly snug fit. As it happened I miss-calculated the small squares which resulted in a 16 x 16 inch grid. But I carried on regardless and tentatively tried it out with the cushion pads I bought and actually I think they look fab, yes they're quite snug but I think that gives them a plumper look, so I will tell you exactly how I did this with a few adjustments.

You Will Need (For 1 cushion)

  • Two 8.5 x 8.5 inch squares
  • Two 8.5 x 8.5 inch squares in a co-ordinating fabric
  • One 17 x 17 inch piece of cotton for the quilted backing
  • One 17 x 17 inch piece of batting. I used this one from Hobbycraft
  • Two 16 x 12 inch rectangles in either the same fabric as your small squares or another co-ordinating fabric.
  • Cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Thread snips or small scissors

For this project I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance

First up you want to sew two of your squares together in each of the co-ordination fabric, right sides together, along one side. Do the same with the other pair and then press your seams open or to one side. If you do them to one side make sure each seam is going a different way so that they nest together and don't create too bulky a seam in the next step. With mine I pressed both seams towards the grey fabric.

Place your two rectangles right sides together so that so that the matching squares are diagonal to each other as in the photo above. Sew along one of the long edges and then press the seam open. You will now have a 16.5 x 16.5 inch square.

Place your square of cotton fabric, right side down, on a flat surface - I used another piece of yellow gingham for this. On top of that place your square of patting and then finally place your four square patchwork on top of that, right side facing up. Your four-square piece will be slightly smaller than the batting and cotton square so place in centrally and pin the three layers together around the outside.

If you have a walking foot, now is a good time to attach it to your sewing machine, this helps your layers of fabric to move through the machine evenly. (Why this isn't a standard thing on sewing machines I'll never know!) I don't have a walking foot so my advice is to take it slow and when it comes to the quilting part start in the middle and work out to the edges. Don't worry if you get some little tucks at the edges of your fabric, they will be hidden in a later stage.

Start by sewing all three layers together around the edges using a very small seam allowance. Sew along one edge, back tacking at either end, then sew the opposite edge, keeping the fabric as flat as possible. Sew the remaining two edges, this is where you may get a little tuck in the corner.

Next comes the quilting part. Starting in the middle and working your way out to the edges stitch-in-the-ditch along each of the four seam lines. Take it slowly here so that your thread stays in the "ditch".

It's up to you how you want to do the next bit, you could free hand some swirly patterns, quilt diagonally across the squares or, as I have done, sew down either side of each of the seam lines. Again starting in the middle I lined the edge of the presser foot up to the seam line as a guide and stitched to the edge. I used yellow thread on the gingham and then switched the top thread to a grey to match they grey squares.

You can now neaten up the edges of your quilted piece by cutting along the lengths of the top squares, just cutting away the backing and the batting.

Set your quilted piece aside and take your two rectangles that will become the back of the cushion. Press over a 1cm hem along one of the long edges on each rectangle, press over 1cm again to create a double fold hem.

Place your quilted piece on a surface, right side up. Place one of your hemmed rectangles on top, right side down, so that the three raw edges are lined up with three edges of the quilted piece and the hemmed edge falls about two thirds of the way in. Place your second rectangle so that the hemmed edge overlaps the first. Pin in place and sew all the way around the edge, pivoting at the corners.

As a final step you could overlock the raw edges or zig zag stitch. This is especially a good idea if you think you might have to wash your cushion covers often... something I expect I will be doing a lot of.

Turn the cushion out the right way, easing the corners out gently. Place your cushion insert inside and plump it up nicely.

I am so happy with how these turned out and am thinking I might try my hand at a quilt next, and of course, there will be bunting to match!

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