- Old cushions
- LOTs of pins (see picture, this is just about enough!!)
- A sewing machine
- Good scissors
- A straight edge (a Portland plotter is good for this)
- A tape measure
- A chalk pencil or tailors chalk
Once you have all of the required things you'll need to start cutting fabric for your first cushion. Don't be scared by strange shapes, just sit and think it through before you start. The one in the picture is from LM's forepeak and has a very odd shape but was easy enough to cover. I decided to put a zip in the end of the cushion to reduce cost and keep it out of sight. This means that I now have to squeeze the foam to get it in, and it takes a while to put on or take off the cover but it does look better.
The fabric I bought was striped accross rather than along which meant I had to sew it into a double width. This was easier than I thought it would be and produced very good results, but I spent a very long time pinning the sheets together to ensure that the pattern lined up as shown in this picture:
This helped all the way though the project - as with all of these types of project the mantra "measure twice, cut once" must be always in your mind. Once I had a sheet wide enough for a cushion, I laid it out on the floor and lined up the cushion. At this point it's important to decide how you would like the pattern to appear on the boat. I oriented the cushion in the picture so that the wider parts toward the stern which are more square had the stripes running accross the boat at right angles to the cushion. The sides were later matched so that the most visible part of the cushion is "correct" to the eye and the patterns then diverge further up where they won't be noticed. When the foam is lined up on the pattern and you're sure (check twice!!) that you want to go ahead, draw around the foam with chalk and ensure the line is tight against the foam edge. Baggy cushion covers are not a good thing so keep this line close and later you'll pin and sew along it. If a corner is lined up with a blue stripe, make sure the other side lines up to a blue stripe so that top and bottom are the same. Next, I cut strips of fabric for the sides which were 2 inches wider than the foam. Anyone good at sewing can cut this down but I like a wide margin when using the machine. The foam was 3 inches so I cut 5 inch strips and sewed them end to end matching the pattern. Once these were done I drew a line on each side 1 inch from the edge which would be used for pinning and sewing. This is where the plotter comes into it's own since it has lines in various places and so allowed me to quickly draw lines without measuring every time. Alternatively make a card ruler and cut it to the correct width, in this case 4 inches to measure from the opposite edge - a wide rule is easier to use than a narrow one.
Once you're all pinned and lined up, sew along the lines. This should be fairly straightforward as long as you work in sections and line up the cloth before sewing. I left the edge where the zip goes until last since this used a special side panel which I sewed a zip into beforehand. To do this, buy a zip of an appropriate length (in my case 24 inches since the cushions are 24 inches wide). Cut some thinner lengths for the side fabric since the zip will join two. Hold the zip so that the teeth, or top of the zip, are facing the outside pattern. The zip edge will line up with the side of the fabric. Pin the opposite side of the zip to keep the side you will sew free. Put on the zip foot to the sewing machine (this fits off to the side to allow you to sew in the right place). Line up the zip under this foot and sew the whole length of the zip. The ends may need to be finished manually before the whole panel is added to the cushion.