4.4.17

How to Make a Simple Window Seat Cushion - from Reclaimed Denim Jeans!

by Robin



A few weeks ago we shared our tutorial of how we made a built-in window seat from two Ikea nightstands.  It turned out so well! Our daughter is often found here curled up with a book in her little nook.



The part of the window seat we didn't cover in the window seat tutorial was how we made the seat cushion.  If you choose to make your cushion cover out of one large piece of fabric - this can be done entirely no sew!  That's how we made the cushion the first time and it held up great for years.


This time around we are decorating for a teen girl.  We have a teenage daughter!!! Cue the heart palpatations and pride.  She is such a great girl.  She is kind, funny, loyal and smart.  It is such a pleasure to redecorate her room to suit her personality.


We started first with a colour scheme: soft violet, grey and dark blue denim.  (You can see our mood board and ideas on our Teen Girl Bedroom Pinterest Board.)  She's a no-fuss blue jeans kind of girl and adding denim elements to her room is fitting.  Also, after making a denim quilt out of old jeans for our front porch, I knew that we could make something really cool for very little cash.


Here's how I made it...









Part 1: Reclaimed Denim Jean "Fabric" 

If you want to simply make a no sew built-in cushion from a piece of fabric - skip to the next section below.


Materials:

  • Sewing machine
  • Navy blue thread
  • A few pairs of thrifted denim jeans.  (We used 6 pairs - one isn't shown in the photo below because we realized later we needed a very light denim for contrast. Contrast is key to get a great patchwork look.  Originally we had too many pairs of medium toned.)

A tip: When your choosing your jeans at the thrift store, start at the largest sizes and work your way down.  Large size jeans cost the same, but give you more fabric to work with!





Steps:

1. Wash the jeans really well - a couple of times if needed.  This is your last chance to get any funky smell out of them.

2.  Cut your jeans into strips.  We chose to do a wide stripe alternated with a narrow stripe.  We cut our strips to be 
  • 8 inches (7 inches finished with 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side); and
  • 3.5 inches (2.5 inches finished with 1/2 inch seam allowance per side)






3.  Decide on the depth of your seat to determine the width of your finished piece.
  • Our window seat is 27 inches deep.  The cushion is 4 inches and we needed a couple inches on each side to fix it to the board underneath the cushion.  This is 6 inches for each side - you must double this number because the fabric will go down both sides of the cushion.  So:
    • 27 inches + 2 X (4 inches + 2 inches) = 39 inches wide
  • Each of our finished stripes needs to be at least 39".


4. Pin and sew your stripes.
  • If you want to add a pocket, like we did, you'll need to be strategic about where your stripes land.  Otherwise, you can be completely random.
  • We staggered our stripe s in a couple of ways, Both wide and short next to each other, and staggered the colour of denim in each stripe.  See below:
  • Keep sewing your stripes together until you have the length you need (i.e. the length of your window seat cushion + 2 times the cushion depth + seam allowance)


We weren't perfect with our stripes by any means.
The perfectionist in me wanted to go back and fix with wonky areas - however, my daughter gave me "the look" that said, "It looks fine. Leave it. Don't be a crazy person, Mom".



5.  Ironing is so important to any sewing project.  It always makes things look more finished.  Don't skip this step, there is no going back a fixing the lumpy areas once you've finished your cushion.

  • On the wrong side, iron the seams flat.







Part 2: The No-Sew Window Seat Cushion


Materials:


  • Your cushion material. 
    • We got a piece of upholstery weight foam and cut it to fit the window seat top.
  • A piece of plywood cut to fit the window seat top area.

  • Thick upholstery batting for extra cushy-ness (our duaghter's specific request for long hours spent reading here.)
  • A cover piece of fabric, the same size as your denim outerlayer.  
    • This piece will ensure the cushion holds it's shape well.



Steps:

1.  Make sure your plywood, cushion and batting are all cut to the proper size - the length and width of your window seat.



2. Work in reverse: lay down your lining fabric, then batting, then cushion and finally your plywood.  Carefully line them up and centre them on your lining fabric.


3. Stretch up your lining fabric and staple it to your plywood base.  You don't need to go too nuts with the staples, just enough to tack it in place.  (See further below for how to do the corners.)


4. Trim any excess of your lining fabric - you don't want it to bunch up when you put it all in place.




5.  Next lay your cushion on top of your finished piece of fabric. (Here, of course, we've used the denim piece we sewed above, or you could use any single piece of fabric cut to size.)


6.  Stretch your finished fabric up over the cushion and, once again staple it to the underside of the plywood.  Start with a staple in the middle of the longest side, then a staple in the middle of the narrow side.  Keep halving each side with staples, gradually filling in each side - this will make a smoother finish.  (I wish I had taken more photos of this part of the process - so sorry - ask questions in the comments if I've confused you!)


7.  Leave the corners to the last.   Here's how to make good corners:



Staple on the sides, to within a few inches of each corner. 

Pull up the slack and staple the fold at the corner.

The rest is basically hospital corners (like making a bed) only more permanent with staples!
You will have a flap.  Tuck the excess fabric into the corner, smoothing the sides down.
Pinch the fabric to make a clean angled fold.

Pull that fabric fold up and staple a few inches down from the corner.
Fill that sucker full of staples so it stays put.



And Voila!


Yeah.  Those wonky stripes make my eye twitch, but they make my daughter's eyes go all heart shaped, so that's what really truly matters.  

Slide your completed cushion into place.  Cover with pillows and drape with a lanky teenage girl.


How cute is this phone pocket?!?

I love her phone cover: Chewbacca!  She's even downloaded a Wookie wailing sound as her text tone.  I may have named the phone her "Wookie Talkie".  Because I am just that kind of nerd.


We planned the pocket to land just next to where she sits.  She can tuck her phone in there, or whatever else she likes.  Of course, I felt the need to find Levi's red tab jeans for this little touch.


I've got a few more projects to complete and share before we call her bedroom done. It is so much fun to decorate a teen bedroom!


In the meantime, check out some more of 
our Craft and DIY posts for inspiration!



8 comments:

  1. Robin, that cushion looks fantastic and try as I might, I can't find the wonky stripes! But, I do know that look...I get it from all my family members. My husband is fond of reminding me, 'don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good'. And that phone pocket! Genius!

    What a great detailed tutorial. Thanks.

    Lynn

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    Replies
    1. I need to feed my husband with your husband's line, Lynn! I need that reminder so very often. Thanks for your so very encouraging comment - so sweet! :)

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  2. Wow! I would have never thought to recycle jeans into a cushion! Love this and that built-in pocket is fab!!

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  3. I love a good ikea hack! Jeans are so durable this is going to hold up great! Pinning.

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    Replies
    1. It's getting a lot of use - our daughter loves it too. Thanks for your comment, Michelle! :)

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  4. WoW! It’s an amazing idea. I have a plan to make DIY simple window seat hat will be amazing.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rebekah! Yay for DIY! Hope your window seat turns out great! :)

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