Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Foam Cushions

Switching out the old foam cushions for new ones always makes a difference.  The job pictured above was for a customer’s 20 year old sofa.  The cushions were flat, the covers loose and they were too soft to sit on comfortably.  Since he has teenage twins who love playing video games on this the primary sofa in the house, he needed to firm the seats up.  We measured the covers and as you can see from the picture, they were designed to contain a much thicker cushion than what they had become.  We fit the cushions with a firm High Resiliency foam that was wrapped with bonded polyester.  As you can see in these photos, the difference is dramatic.  

By the way, these cushions were High Resiliecy (HR ) foam, density 2.5lb, ILD 45, cut 24” x 24” x 5 1/2” thick with a bonded polyester wrap.

Send us an email if you need help with your project.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Boxing Panel

The measurement of the boxing panel of a seat or back cushion is crucial in determining the thickness of foam that we will use.  Our approach is to use a thickness of foam that is the same dimension as the height of the boxing, i.e. 3" boxing on the cover gets a 3" thick foam core.  The foam is the firmest part of the cushion and we want the edge of the foam to line up with the seams of the cover and hold them straight.  The material that is wrapped around the foam, whether it be polyester, down/feather or wool, just adds to the total thickness of the cushion, which we call the "crown".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Poly / Down Seat Cushion

By Poly / Down we mean a seat cushion with a foam core that is inside a down/feather filled envelope (or jacket).  Old timers refer to polyurethane foam as "poly" and "down" refers to a down and feather blend.  Some common blends for cushions are 10% down/90% feather, 25% down/75% feather (pictured below) and 50% down/50% feather.

We used the original cover (at the top left) as a pattern for cutting the foam.
The finished boxing on the cover is 4" so we used a 4" thick High Resiliency
foam core.  The thickness of the foam is the same as the finished boxing
so that the edges of the foam to line up with the seams of
the cover to hold them straight and tight.

Our down & feather filled jacket is cut a little larger than the finished size
of the cover.  It also includes a crown allowance which allows finished
cushion to be very full and round.  We also sew partitions into the ticking.
This keeps the down/feather in separate channels which helps
the customer to maintain the cushion.  It also allows for the high
crown that is indicative of this type of construction.

A zipper at the back of the cushion makes it easy to access the foam core
for maintenance.

The foam core is inserted into the envelope.

Zipped up.

This cushion has a crown of about 8".  The foam is 4" thick.

The finished cushion ready to be covered.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Toss Pillows - Three Different Seams

A toss pillow can be cut and sewn a couple of different ways.

A Knife Edge (left) is just two pieces of fabric that are sewn together.  

A Boxed pillow (center) has a band of fabric sewn between the front and back panels which allows for more fullness.  

A pillow with Cut-Outs (right) is similar in fullness to the boxed pillow, but still has a single seam around the perimeter like a Knife Edge pillow.  The third dimension is achieved by the perpendicular cut-outs at each corner.

Left - Boxed Pillow
Right - Cut-Out Pillow

Friday, October 14, 2011

Knife Edge Pillows - Crown Allowance vs Straight Cut

Before you order your pillow forms, check your cover or with your sewing workroom to see if you covers are cut with a Crown Allowance or are Straight Cut. We make our pillows to order and can accommodate either approach.  Unless we are told otherwise, all of our pillows are cut with a crown allowance (or bow).

Crown Allowance: When a pillow is cut this way is filled, the sides tend to be straighter. 

Straight Cut: When a pillow is cut this way the sides pull in when filled and
the corners become sharper, what we call "dog ears".  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Foam Puzzle Back Cushion

A stack of random foam?
Sort by shape.


Glue pieces together

Wrap with polyester, line with muslin.

This project required a profile with a curve on the top front of the cushion with 90 degree angles on the back and bottom.  We broke down the finished shape into easy to cut pieces that we later assembled.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Making of a Bench Cushion

This bench cushion has a long cut out in the middle.  We first mark the foam and then cut with the foam saw.

 All foam is cut with perfectly flat sides.  It is difficult to get a cover to be tight on a flat surface, so we wrap the foam with either a polyester or a down/feather envelope to help tighten the top and bottom panels of the cover.  For this cushion we are gluing the bonded polyester to the foam.
The polyester is cut to the same shape as the foam.  On this cushion, it sits on the  top and bottom of the foam core only.  We left the edges free of polyester because we want the cover to have a flat front. 

The foam in these photos is 2 1/2" thick and will be covered with a cover that has a finished boxing panel of 2 1/2" too.  The edges of the foam will hold the piping on the cover straight while the polyester will push up against the top and bottom panels, creating a crown and making the cover look tight and fit.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Recipe for Wedge Shaped Foam

Start with 1 block of foam.

Slice at desired angle.


The angled cut always yields 2 wedges.

Note: If you need only 1 wedge shape, we cut the wedge from a block that is half as wide as your finished product. Then we glue the cut pieces side to side to create a shape that is the full width. For example, if we need one wedge that is 36" wide, we cut the shapes from a block that is 18" wide and then glue the two 18" pieces together to make 36".

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kilim Pillow Power

We love having a stack of beautiful covers to fill and Nomad Rugs' most recent selection of Turkish Kilim covers are really dazzling. We especially like the flyaway "hair" patches that some of the covers sport (see that purple patch in the front row). Five or six of these beauties sprinkled about will really punch up a room.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Apparently our side doors were the prefect black background for this reversed silhouette paper tag.

Not to encourage this kind of thing, but this is pretty neat.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Marimekko at Crate and Barrel

We love the Marimekko store located in the Crate and Barrel store in Union Square (that's San Francisco). It is full of housewares, dishes, books, linens, bags, things for the kids and yards of fabric. It's like a trip to Finland in the 70's.

Just please don't ask us to make a form to fit a pillow like these!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dried Crumbled Latex Foam

Over time, Latex foam dries, crumbles and turns to dust. We have replaced these disasters many many times over the years. The dust is very fine, so work with a mask and vacuum the covers thoroughly before replacing the foam.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Water Draining through Drifast Foam

For seat cushions that are going to be left outside we use Drifast Foam. The foam has large open cels and rigid cel walls which make for a cushion that is both firm and won't retain water. Indoor foam has much smaller cells and absorbs water like a sponge. Once the water inside the foam, it can't be wrung out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Goat

Our side doors are frequently hit with graffiti, always an unimaginative tag and we never waste any time before covering it up with black paint. Recently a paper portrait of a goat was glued to a door and we liked it so much that we left it until the heat caused the glue to turn brittle, the paper started to peel and finally someone carried it away.

(the goat is on the left, Vevay on the right)

Pedal Power

Usually our customers use a car to drop off and pick up orders. However, with the right size bag, this one a prototype made by Timbuk2, pedaling your back cushion over Nob Hill is a cinch!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Persian Ottomans and Foam Interiors

We often see customer's who have returned from a trip to North Africa or the Middle East with beautiful, but empty, ottoman covers. Usually the opening runs across the diameter which means that the best filling material is by hand with either cotton or wool. Recently a customer brought in these ottoman covers that she purchased in Iran.

They were made with a zipper at the bottom that went around the circumference (see below). This allowed us to insert firm pieces of foam cut to make the covers tight and the structure stable. By using foam instead of cotton or wool, the result was stronger and a more even in shape. The dozens of stripes around the side looked vibrant and neat.

This ottoman was the show stopper. The racetrack shape framed the colorful design and made for a unique shape that was the most comfortable of all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Slouchy Back Cushions Get New Foam

Most back cushions are filled with polyester. With use this type of cushion starts to slouch, dent and look baggy in the cover. Usually we replace these misshapen forms with fresh polyester or down/feather. Sometimes we are after a firmer, more resilient cushion and that is where foam comes in.

The set of slouchy back cushions (pictured above on the left) for this job had an extra challenge. The seams of the cover were knife-edged. This means that we have to taper the edge of the foam so that it meets the single seam of the cover nicely.

We then wrapped the foam with Dacron 91 batting (very resilient to resist denting) and fit the form into a muslin tick. This will allow the customer to easily remove the outer cover. In these pictures, the new cushion sits beside its mate already fitted into the finished cover.

These cushions are going to look fresh and full for many years to come.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cushion Works featured in MissionLocal

Our local neighborhood newspaper, MissionLocal, has posted a short photo essay about Cushion Works on their web-site. Have a look!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Don't Skimp on the Zip!

On occasion we are given the unhappy task of informing our customers that the zipper on the short end of the 12 foot long cover isn't anywhere near large enough to let us insert a cushion. When you have your cover made for that long window seat, make sure that you have the zipper installed along the entire width of the cushion. Zipper is the least expensive component in your project so be generous!
(actual cover with too short zipper)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seamstress extraordinaire Teresa sews the boxing panel onto a cushion that will soon be filled with down and feather to make a super comfortable back cushion. Tang, the lazy shop cat, won't even lend a paw.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Polka Dotted Comfort

For this window seat cushion we used a firm High Resiliency foam for support and a sturdy Dacron 91 wrap to provide fullness against years of use. The brilliantly polka-dotted cover was expertly fabricated by Riitta Herwitz Design Support (

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring Core Cushion with Down and Feather Wrap *

Start with carefully cut foam borders, topper and bottom.
Spring core fits inside, foam masks the edges of the springs.

Apply 3M Super 77 to make foam box with springs inside.

Wrap foam/spring unit with Dacron 91 sewn one side
like a birthday present. Finish edges with staples.

Fluffy, soft down and feather filled envelope fits
around spring/foam/Dacron unit. Zip it up.

High crown, super comfortable, fluffable,
the Spring Core/Down and Feather Cushion!

* please note that this type of cushion is very soft