Right tools make cutting large pieces for perfect patio cushions a snap

It’s a pleasure to start working on a project when all the supplies are together. There’s no need to stop and search for something, although I bet I add a few things as I go – it’s hard to remember everything!

I’ve added the extension table to the Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q, so I’m ready to sew, but today, it’s all about prepping the fabric so we can get to sewing.

The pieces I’m cutting for the placemats and the cushion covers are large and are never my favorite thing to cut. However, I’m using the OMNIGRIP 20½” Square Ruler, which makes it much more manageable. The other thing is having a large cutting mat and a CLEAR work surface.

Cutting the large rectangles

I contemplated cutting the placemats with a curved edge to match the curve of the table but decided it would be simpler to cut rectangles. I don’t want the job to become more complicated than it needs to be. Remember the motto – keep it simple!

One side of the placemats will be a single piece of fabric, and the second side will have one flat-felled seam.

I cut the single pieces at 12½” x 18½”, and the pieces for the seamed side were cut at 13½” x 21″, and I’ll trim them once the seam is complete.

To add to the fun of that flat-felled seam, it’ll be on an angle, which doesn’t suit this diagonal print, but let’s just wing it!

Making a diagonal cut

I could have used the angle on the fabric, but the seam wasn’t going to be where I wanted it to be, so I ignored the pattern. It’s fun to throw things off balance and not follow the “rules!” I had layered all four pieces together and made one cut through them all.

The cut for the second side

Then, I could swap the pieces to see what the placemat will look like. I like how that diagonal print looks with the wonky cut. It’s not predictable, and that suits me fine.

The pieces for the second side of the placemat

Then, I cut the squares for the 16″ cushions. I used the striped fabric for one side of the cushions and cut those squares at 16½”. I used the same two green fabrics for the pieced side of the cushion and cut them at an angle that worked for the square. These are cushions for my backyard; I can do what I want!

I cut the squares for the pieced side of the cushions at 17½” and will trim them after I sew them together.

The square for the cushions

Again, I layered all the pieces right side up, cut through all four, and swapped two fabrics.

The pieces for the second side of the cushions

The next step was to cut the interfacing for the placemats. I cut four pieces at 12½” x 18½”, and again, it was super easy to cut with that large square ruler and a CLEAR cutting space.

The interfacing for the placemats

Since I was in the process of cutting, I forged ahead to cut the bias strips needed for the piping. Even though the correct term in the home-dec world is welting, and I’ll use a single-welt presser foot, I’ll refer to it as piping.

How wide of a strip do I need? Your strips should be wide enough to cover the diameter of the cording, and then add the seam allowances. My cord is 3/8″, and with the ¼” seam allowances, I cut the bias strips at 1½”. I can trim any of the excess seam allowances when I get there.

While I like continuous bias binding, I cut strips for this project rather than work with one large square. I cut a strip the width of fabric (54″) x about 18″. Then, I cut on a 45-degree angle using my long ruler.

A 45-degree angle cut for the bias strips

Before I knew it, I had that entire piece of fabric cut into 1½” strips. That was so easy, using my 8½” x 24″ OMNIGRIP ruler. It wasn’t long enough, but I carefully moved the ruler to finish the cut. I cannot stress enough how much easier it is to cut something when the cutting area is clear!

Bias strips

It’s time to fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the striped fabric, which is the solid piece. That was an easy task using my Singer Steam Press. I usually use the cotton setting, but because of my polyester fabric, I lowered the temperature, which is easy to do and worked like a charm.

I’m currently not in my home studio as I work on these projects. I’m at a quilt retreat, and while I only needed that steam press to fuse the four placemats, it was worth carrying it with me to do that. It saves so much time. I see that it’s time to clean that metal pressing plate. Oh!

Using the steam press to fuse the interfacing

I wanted to dress up those placemats by rounding the corners. OK – I’ll confess – applying the piping to a rounded corner is much easier than a square one! I didn’t bring a curved template, but no worries; I found a bowl in the kitchen that worked like a charm. I used my handy Chaco Liner (white) and rotary cutter to round the corners.

Rounding the edges of the placemat

Those rounded corners look way more exciting than the square ones, and attaching the piping will be a breeze.

Rounded corners versus square corners

I also want to deal with the corners of the cushions to eliminate the dog ears that happen when you make cushions with square corners. Shaving off part of the corners reduces the dog ears’ size and makes it easier to apply the piping.

I’ve made enough cushions and was tired of measuring the slivers I cut from each corner, so I made a template. The sliver I cut is ½” and about 4″ long.

A template for shaving the corners of a cushion

I use a ruler next to the edge of the template and cut the slivers away. It’s super easy to cut.

Cutting the slivers off the corners

Before I knew it, all the pieces were prepped and ready for sewing. Once I complete the seam for each piece, I’ll trim those pieces to the correct size and round or trim the corners on those pieces as well.

Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q

So, while I didn’t get a chance to get any sewing done today on the Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q, it’s set up and ready to sew. I have the flat-felled foot set aside, and you’ll see how that works tomorrow, so be sure to come back for it!

Have a great day!


This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Sewing colorful backyard accessories | Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q

Go to part 3: How to sew a Flat Felled Seam

Related posts

Adding piping AND an invisible zipper to cushions

Making piping is a breeze with the Welt Cord Foot

How to sew a Flat Felled Seam