6 May 2011

Letter Shaped Cushions

I have been busy sewing letter shaped cushions for gifts. No special reason, just thought they would make a lovely present. I first saw one last year and ever since I wondered how to sew a letter, inside out, which had a whole in the middle – like A or D or P. For some reason I can’t really imagine things and it took me ages to try and picture in my head how I could possibly attempt to make the letter A. Well two A’s, one S, one J and a half-done D, I think I sussed it. Each one looks better than the previous one so there is a lot of truth in the saying “learning through experience”. 

I did my first letter without piping and stitched the light fabrics using brown thread as I wanted to see what will go wrong – it wouldn’t have been so visible with white thread. It wasn’t too bad, although sewing the little whole in the middle was harder than I thought.

My second letter was S, and I personally think it was harder than the A. At least the A has some straight sides, compared to the S which wiggles and curves in different directions. In fact the first time I stitched everything together, the front and the back did not really align properly, so I had to do it again ( boy, how I hate unpicking). For the piping I used bias tape which was not cut on the bias and that was not perfect.
Rule: all bias tape should be cut on the bias, that is why it is called bias tape, isn't it?

The J was also a bit tricky, and what I’ve noticed is that the letter curves slightly to the front. I believe this is due to the piping, which pulls the fabric a bit. I decided to make some blue bias tape, actually cut on the bias, for the piping and I am pleased to say that it worked lovely. The piping just followed around the curves  during sewing and the letter looks much better.

I heard that such cushions could be made using a guset, but I don't even have an idea what guset is let alone how to use it! Any idea anybody?

I also found a great tutorial of how to make meters and meters of continuous bias tape – it is actually very clever and really handy if you need to make lots of fabric strips.
So I know there are lots of online tutorials but here is how I do it. I used 50cm x 50cm square which made just over 5m of bias tape.

Fold one corner of the fabric to create a square. Off course I forgot to take a photo of this. Iron along the fold to create a line. Use this line to cut the square in half, creating two identical triangles. Place the pieces one on top of the other and stitch together.

Press the seams open. It should look something like this.

Using a ruler, make long lines along the fabric. Be as precise as possible, as these lines will guide you when cutting the bias tape.

When you are finished drawing the lines, fold you fabric so that the lines meet each other. This is the tricky part – make sure you first line from one side meets the second line from the other side. I know it sounds confusing, just try it.

Pin together and machine stitch. It is very important to press the seams open, before cutting. Once you are ready start cutting from that first line which is on its own.

When finished trim your bias tape and roll together. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Happy sewing!

Irina xx


  1. All this is getting better and better :-)
    I love those letters. Can't wait to see what will be the next creation. Brilliant !
    Well done!
    Diana xxx

  2. How fantastic are those letters! Amazing!
    I would be stoked to have them in my little girls rooms! Come to think of it, how sweet would a set of P, an & symbol, and an R be for my bed! (That would make a gorgeous, personalised wedding gift too, if it were done in really elegant fabric!)
    You really have some serious talent with a sewing machine there!

  3. Looks like a lot of fun... but I could imagine that the "S" would be a little tricky. Great tip with the bias tape, I had never seen that before.

    So, for the sweet little jumper that you made, it seems as though you do pretty well with things that you've never made before. Sewing clothes has never been a favorite of mine, I like projects that go a little quicker... just a little instant gratification!

  4. the letters look really great!! well done!

  5. These are gorgeous - but you didn't say how you made them! I'm trying to make letter shaped cushions and can't work out how to sew the hole either....! Any tips would be happily received!

  6. Oh these cushions are unbelievably gorgeous! You are so clever. I am totally inspired to make letter cushions for my littlies beds (M & T). Can't wait to see more :)

  7. This is the same way I make my piping. It does take a little to get the hang of doing it this way, but you can get sooooo much from a small piece of fabric and your not stitching little pieces together.

  8. These are so nice! These are now on my list of things I want to do too!

  9. Hi
    I love these cushions and would love how to do these, if anyone could give me further information/ advice/ instructions/ tutorials in this area I would much appreciate it?

  10. Hi
    I love these cushions and would love how to do these, if anyone could give me further information/ advice/ instructions/ tutorials in this area I would much appreciate it?

  11. Hi
    If anyone gas any additional information/ tutorials/ instructions or know were I can get a sewing pattern for the 3D letters I would appreciate that? Please contact me on stacey_todd@yahoo.co.uk
    Thank you

  12. First of all, have you made the letter O at all??? If so, could you put a picture of that one up, please?? All those letters with a hole in the middle (A, B, D, O, P, Q (especially!!) and R are a real pain......

    As for a gusset, ALL your letters have a gusset. It's the piece of fabric that's between the front and back pieces of material. Without a gusset, the front and back pieces of fabric would just be sewn together and the letter wouldn't have dimension like yours does. A gusset is a piece of fabric that joins the front and back pieces of a fabric. Like a box pillow, if you know what that is.

  13. Hi there

    Those are amazing!

    I am trying to get the name Shannon spelled out in the letters of her name for cushions and cannot find ANYWHERE that makes or sells these!

    She is 6 and it needs to be pink and glitzy and girly!

    Do you make these for sale or can you reccommend me anywhere that would make these?

    I am desperate and i am not artistic at all!

    Many thanks

  14. I'm making an A pillow. I couldn't find any tutorials anywhere about how to do it. Being that I'm new at this and teaching myself as I go I've run into a problem. I successfully made an "H" pillow for my little girl. Now I'm making "A" pillow for my nieces. I've made my pillow (top layer with piping, gusset, and bottom layer. I sewed them together leaving a 2.5 inch hole in the bottom to turn right side out. But I can't get it right side out. The hole in the middle is preventing me from fully turning it! what Am i doing wrong? There has got to be a way to do this right? Please help! Thanks!

  15. I have the same problem as the person above me - I've made a letter B but can't turn it the right way out. Somebody please help I really don't want to have to unpick my work.


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