Chair Cushions

This rocking chair was a hand-me down from my grandmother when she downsized, and it started out a lighter color and was one of the first projects I ever tried refinishing (this was WAY before I started blogging… but I did take pictures of some of my projects to show my mom, so I was able to find an in-progress picture of what it looked like.  This thing was a monster to sand down–all those spokes! And this was before I had invested in any power tools, so I did this bad boy all by hand.  Which I will never do, ever again. Its been more than 4 years (in fact the date on the picture info says Nov of 2010) since I did this project and I still remember how hard it was to sand it down.  But I wanted it stained dark brown, so I did.  Sadly there is no picture of the fabric that was stapled over the burlap and springs, but it DEFINITELY had its hey day in the 70s.  Ever since then, this guy has been stained a dark brown, had a maroon pillow placed on its seat to provide some cushion and generally been a laundry holder in my bedroom.  A really PRETTY laundry holder.

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

Well there is something sweet about having a rocking chair in a nursery, so we decided that’s what the next phase of life would be for this guy.  (and for those of you thinking… you are crazy not to have a nice big plush glider in your nursery, never fear, there is an awesome lazy boy recliner in the bonus room just outside baby girl’s nursery, so if I want big and cushy it is only a few short steps away.) But I also knew this chair would need some ACTUAL cushions sewn for it instead of just a pillow thrown over the burlap if I was ever going to expect to sit in it.

So first step: find fabric.  I fell in love with this Coral and White Dandelion fabric from, which they have in many color options! I bought both the Coral with White and White with Coral, thinking I would use the Coral with White to add a lot of color, but ended up liking the white background better.  Are you now confused with all the coral and white words?? Here’s a visual of what I decided to go with:

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

Now time to sew the cushions.  Here’s what I used:

  • the green 2″ Foam from JoAnn’s (purchased with a 60% off coupon because that stuff is EXPENSIVE) I needed about 1 yard, but measure your chair
  • fabric
  • interfacing– I used a fairly heavy interfacing because my fabric was white and kind of see through, but depending on your fabric you could go with something light or just skip this step all together.
  • batting (optional)
  • thread to match
  • buttons to cover in fabric (also optional)

I decided not to make the cushions fancy or weirdly shaped because I didn’t want to make this a very complicated sewing project. So I made a rectangle for the back and a square for the seat cushion.

Cut your foam to the right size for your seat:

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

For the seat cushion dimensions measure how wide your seat is, then add 3″ to determine how wide to cut your fabric.  One inch for either side to accommodate the height of your foam (so if you are using thicker than 2″ foam this will be more that you need to add) and a half inch on both sides for seam allowance.  For mine, my seat was 17″ wide so I cut my fabric in a 20″ square.  You will need to cut two square pieces of fabric, two pieces of interfacing (same size as fabric) and four rectangular pieces for ties (mine were about 3″ wide and 7″ long).

Iron on your interfacing onto the backside of your fabric.   Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

Then make your ties.  Somehow I managed to not get any pictures of this step, but you take your rectangular piece of fabric and fold it lengthwise (hot dog style for those of you who remember elementary school lingo), then unfold it and fold both long edges in towards the center, then fold the original fold again.  So you should have one long strip with no outside edges showing.  (If you are confused, check out this post on my DIY makeup bag because it is the same thing you do for the zipper ends and I did a better job of taking pictures of it!)  I also wanted my ends to be pointy, so I just folded both corners in to the center to create a point:

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

Now sew a topstitch all the way around those ties.  Then pin your fabric right sides together and put your ties two each in between those two pieces (in the picture below I am just showing you placement of left to right and how I sewed them in, when I did the actual sewing they were sandwiched in between the two layers of fabric.

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

I sewed mine from just past one side of the ties, around the other 3 sides and then just past the ties on the other side. Its hard to explain, and since I used white thread, almost impossible to see in a picture, so I drew you a picture:

Make your own rocking chair cushions! | The Xs mark where the ties were and I sewed from start to end with one continuous line, just moving the fabric at each corner 90 degrees and be sure to backstitch well at the start and end since this is the gap you will be putting your foam in through.  Then trim your corners off to get rid of extra fabric and turn your piece inside out.

Now it is time to put your cushion in.  This is where it gets tricky, and I needed all hands on deck to do it so I don’t have very many pictures! Stuff your foam inside (this is where I have the batting listed as optional for you–I think the green is kind of see through with the white fabric, which I didn’t notice until after I had sewed my bottom cushion and the one I took pictures of, but with my back cushion I wrapped the green foam in a layer of thin batting and you can’t see the green at all… so if your fabric isn’t white, you can definitely skip this step, but if you are using white fabric I recommend the batting to help you not see the green through the fabric).  There is no real trick to getting your foam inside there, except to be patient.

If you are good at handstitching you can handstitch your hole closed and be done.  But I am L-A-Z-Y and handstitching is not my forte, so I decided to fold over my foam to give me space to use my sewing machine to top stitch this edge closed and then once it had been sewn closed I worked my foam back flat.  It ended up not being that hard to get it back into place, so I would definitely go this route.

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

Then just tie it onto your chair and you can see here what the topstitched seam looks like.  Since I put it on the side with the ties it will always be at the back of the chair and is not noticeable at all.

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

Then just rinse and repeat for the back cushion.  For the back cushion I decided to add some fabric covered buttons that I tried to (unsuccessfully) tuft.  But they look pretty good the way they are, so I decided to leave them.  If you want your own fabric covered buttons I used these from JoAnn’s.  They come in multiple sizes, and you just trace the template onto your fabric then use their little mold to secure it around the button.  I used the fabric from the Coral with White dandelions so that I would have solid contrasting fabric for mine.

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

These cushions are actually really comfortable, so I hope to be spending lots of time rocking baby girl in this chair!

Make your own rocking chair cushions! |

Have any questions on my process? Shout them out in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer!

Living with a DIY-er

I’m one of those people (and according to the blog-o-sphere, I’m not the only one…) that always has a project going… or two or ten.  I’m sure it drives my husband CRAZY, since that is not his normal M.O.  But one of the most rewarding things for me is to get to the end of a weekend and have accomplished a TON of projects.  This was one of those weekends!! (And major shoutout to my husband for helping me ALL WEEKEND LONG). I’ll be sharing a lot of those projects over the next week, but I just couldn’t resist giving you a glimpse inside my brain with this project.

My husband is a youth pastor and since they have a Sunday night youth program, he is usually gone for 3 or 4 hours on a Sunday night.  So this weekend, after working on projects all weekend the logical thing to do would have been to sit on the couch, rest my incredibly sore back and fold laundry.  But that doesn’t sound like me.

Instead the dresser I bought for Baby Girl’s Nursery was taunting me from her room.  You see one of our projects this weekend was to assemble the bookshelf/changing table I bought off of Amazon.  Another was to install the light fixture (also Amazon… I might have an addiction).  And the last major project we did this weekend was that the husband spray painted the crib.  Which means that the bulk of the pieces for baby girl’s nursery were falling into place.

When I bought this dresser I knew I wanted to go with a white and gray theme for the nursery and this dresser was definitely a distressed off-white.  But I loved the shape of the dresser and thought… I’ll just make it work.  So we bought paint for the crib that sort of coordinated with it, but (long story for another day) that didn’t really work out, so we settled on just white spray paint.  After all, everything else in the nursery is white white.  But painting this guy seemed like a lot of work, so I convinced myself to live with it.

But like I said… the taunting. And here I was at home by myself, about to relax and be productive when I gave in to the taunting.  After all… I had ALL of the supplies without leaving the house. and maybe I could get it done before the husband got home, so it wouldn’t even bother him that I had added ANOTHER project to our list.

So I did. I laid down paper, because no way my preggo self was moving this beast anywhere. Grabbed my paint brush, a roller, Floetrol, and the leftover paint from the kitchen island (Behr’s Marquee in  Quiet on the Set), opened the window and got to work.

Here she is in all her off-white distressed glory.  (don’t get me wrong, I loved the distressed look, it just wasn’t what I wanted for this room)


And after a quick coat of paint:  (and you get to see the light fixture we bought, this guy)


This really was a quick project.  It took me about an hour and a half to paint all the visible parts (yes if I ever move it I may have to paint the back or something, but for the next few years, she is staying RIGHT HERE).  I put the top drawers back in and then gave them a quick coat of paint as well, but I’m going to hold off showing you the finished product until I can get the handles back on… but I promise more juicy nursery updates in the next few days!


The big pieces in the nursery are SO CLOSE to being completed, now we just have to fill it up with all the fun things she needs!!

And the good news is, this project went so smoothly I had time to finish it, clean up, AND make zucchini bread so the husband would forget I just keep adding projects 🙂


Nursery Progress?

I feel like after my post last week about project ADD I have been able to get a few things done and some progress on others, one of which is really making some progress on the Nursery.  Although it isn’t super apparent if you look at the nursery, it has come a long way and my vision for it has definitely been cemented a bit!  (If you missed my original inspiration board, catch it here).  Last time I really showed you the nursery it looked like this, which looks absolutely NOTHING like my inspiration board:


Well, after having the painter’s come, buying new curtains (these from Pottery Barn in White with the blackout liner–scored with a gift card), a new rug (this guy from Dash and Albert) and moving the dresser I found in Waco last fall into the room, here’s where we are at now:


Two things kick started my motivation, first, my mom was at Nebraska Furniture Mart and they had a bunch of super cute coral accent pieces/lamps/decor, so she and I were texting back and forth and I was telling her which ones to buy for the nursery! They are still in Kansas (NFM hasn’t opened here in Texas yet), but I can’t wait to get them in the room to see!

The other thing that kickstarted my progress was reading a blog post from one of the bloggers I follow about where she buys fun fabric and she mentioned  Well… I’d never actually ventured into online fabric shopping, and my bank account would probably prefer I had never started!!  See here’s the thing… I learned from the best (ahem… my grandmother) that when you find great fabric or buy fabric for a project, you always buy an extra yard… or two.  You would always prefer to have extra rather than not enough! (and this is how I ended up with a whole closet of fabric!) And why my mother tagged me in this photo on facebook with a line about how the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree: (original image from FaveQuilts)

fabric picture

Well, 7 fabrics later, I had gotten free shipping and a plethora of coral fabrics to build the nursery around (and a few extras just for good measure)!! You can see one of them in the photo above.  I think that I’m going to try to make a valance box for the curtains out of it, here is a close up along with a couple of prints have found to hang on the wall.


The other super cute fabric that I found is this dandelion fabric:


I actually bought it in both white with coral and coral with white.  Mostly I thought I would frame the fabric or make pillows or something out of it, but when I got it I realized (under facetime consultation with my mom and grandmother) that the white with coral would be PERFECT for the chair cushions I need to make for the rocking chair.  The other coral with white fabrics competed too much with the coral of the valance fabric.

I also spent some time last weekend getting everything out of the nursery that doesn’t belong.  We used this as a staging room for a while after the room, so it had a lot of random items that needed to find homes.  So now that has happened, baby girl has a closet to fill:


Although thanks to some generous friends and family she already has a few hand-me-down baby items, a few super cute outfits, and an impressive board book library! The books will eventually move to a changing table/bookshelf that I’m going to build (from these plans at Ana-White).



So here’s what is left on the nursery to do list:

  • finish painting the crib (we’ve started one side, but need to flip over and finish the other)
  • make the box valance for the window
  • build and paint the changing table
  • sew cushions for the rocking chair
  • Frame and hang photos
  • figure out some organization for the closet
  • find a fun light fixture

It has come a long way, but has a long way to go… and only 3 months until this baby is due, we better get on it!