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A gourmet finish for a quilted designer cushion


This week has been so much fun as we have learned how to express pretty words through quilting using the beautiful Gütermann Dekor rayon thread.

Yesterday we completed the background quilting to really make the letters and trapunto sections stand out. Now it’s time to complete our designer cushion.


Say it with free motion quilting - designer cushion
Say it with free motion quilting – designer cushion


Preparing your pieces

Trim the quilted cushion front to measure 18½” square. Set aside for now.


Trim the quilted cushion front
Trim the quilted cushion front


Prepare your machine with a new SCHMETZ 75/11 Quilting needle and the standard sewing foot.

Thread withGütermann 50 weight cotton thread in a color to match your backing fabric.

Fold under ¼” to the back on one long side of each of your backing pieces and press.


Fold edge of one long side under ¼"
Fold edge of one long side under ¼”


Fold under ¼ a second time to cover the raw edge and press.


Fold under and press again
Fold under and press again


Topstitch close to the inner fold.

Your backing pieces will now have one finished side and three unfinished.

Press and set aside for later.


Top stitch close to the inner fold
Top stitch close to the inner fold


Creating and attaching the cushion ruffle

Using a rotary cutter and ruler, square off the short ends of your previously cut 5½” strips of accent fabric.

Be sure to remove all of the selvedges.


Square up the short sides of your 5½" strips
Square up the short sides of your 5½” strips


Put a ¼” foot on your machine and change to Gütermann 50 weight cotton thread in a color that matches the accent fabric.

Using a ¼ seam sew the three 5½” strips together on the short sides so that you have one long piece.

Bring the two ends together taking care not to twist the strips. Sew the ends to create a large loop.

Press the seams open.

Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press.

Take care that the raw edges are even.

Put the standard sewing foot back on your machine and lengthen your stitch length to as long as it will go.

Leave a long tail and stitch a row of basting stitches all the way around the loop about ¼” away from the raw edge. Stitch a second row of basting stitches just to the inside of the first.

By using a matching thread color I won’t have to worry about taking out the basting stitches later.


Two rows of basting stitches.
Two rows of basting stitches.


Using pins or your UNIQUE Quilters’ fast-fade marker, divide the ruffle piece into four equal sections.

Mark the center of each side of the cushion front.

Pin the ruffle piece in place matching the marks on the ruffle piece to the marks on the cushion front.

Take care not to twist the ruffle.

Pull up the gathering stitches until the ruffle is the same size as your cushion front.

Pin so that the ruffles are evenly distributed and all raw edges are even.

Make sure that the ruffle has a little extra fullness on the corners.

Machine baste the ruffle in place using a slightly shorter basting stitch.


Baste the ruffle to the cushion front.
Baste the ruffle to the cushion front.


The finish line

With the right sides together and the raw edges even pin the first half of your cushion backing to the cushion front. Repeat for the opposite side.

Your backing pieces will overlap in the center.

Take care not to catch the loose edge of the ruffle piece.



Pin the cushion back pieces in place.
Pin the cushion back pieces in place.


Using a slightly generous ¼” seam and a normal stitch length stitch the backing in place.

I used my standard sewing foot but you can use a walking foot if you prefer.

Turn right sides out, press and insert the 18″ Fairfield Decorator’s Choice pillow form.


Completed designer cushion back
Completed designer cushion back


Thanks for joining me for this week’s project.

I hope you enjoy your new designer cushion quilted with Gütermann Dekor rayon thread.

I just know you’ll get many requests to say it with free motion quilting!


This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Making quilted words pop – it’s all about the thread

Julie Plotniko is a quilting teacher, blogger and designer from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Teaching for almost 40 years, recent credits include Quilt Canada 2016 and 2017, many quilt guilds and groups throughout Canada and CreativFestival Sewing and Craft Shows in Victoria, Abbotsford and Toronto. When not on the road Julie works and teaches at Snip & Stitch Sewing Center in Nanaimo, BC. Her favorite things include free motion quilting (standard bed and mid-arm machines), precision piecing, scrap quilting, machine embroidery, blogging, designing and of course teaching. Julie believes that to see a student go from tentative beginnings to having confidence in themselves and their abilities is one of the greatest rewards that life has to offer.


  1. Kathy E.

    This is really a fresh, modern way of using free-motion quilting and it’s one I love! I know I’d need a few practice panels first, but with your instructions (always so helpful), I think I could accomplish this! Thank you!

    • Hi Kathy
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and are willing to give the technique a try.
      I know you will make something wonderful.

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