How To…Make a Dahlia Cushion

Finished Dahlia pillow lifestyle photo

Finished Dahlia pillow lifestyle photo

Dahlias were super popular this year, I noticed. And I can’t say I blame anyone who delighted in them on Instagram (I saw and posted a lot of Dahlia pictures this summer!). They truly are a wonderful flower with their gorgeous pompom heads and bright colours. As we move into autumn though, it’s nice to remember those beautiful blooms in a more muted and seasonal tone.

I’ve picked this mint colour to go with my bedroom makeover (the Mr is sanding as we speak, and I’ll be posting all about it as soon as it’s all done) You can pick any colour you like, of course; maybe you want to keep the summer colours going as we head through the colder months, maybe you want to bring a pop of colour to an otherwise plain room. No matter what your intentions, you’ll be sure to love this cute and easy little cushion.

Sewing supplies for Dahlia pillow

You will need:

          Quite a bit of felt. I bought 2m off a 180cm roll, which was too much. About half a metre will be adequate. 

          About half a metre of lightweight interfacing to stop the felt stretching

          Sewing thread

          A 9”/23cm zipper

          A 30cm diameter round cushion pad (I choose one filled with feathers because I love feather pillows, but you can go synthetic if you prefer)


First of all, you’ll need to cut out your circles to make those lovely petals. You can use a die cutting machine if you’ve got one, or draw around cookie cutters, or use a compass and pencil, but either way you’ll need to cut:

          38 x 3” circles

          10 x 2.5” circles

          10 1.75” circles

and cut each of those circles exactly in half to make all your petals. I made a paper pattern and then cut them out in twos

 Dahlia cushion front and petals

You’ll also need to cut out a 32cm (12.75”) circle of felt for the front. For the back, fold the front piece in half and add 2cm to the new straight edge and cut two.

To give the cushion that lovely depth, you’ll need to cut a gusset that is 96cm x 6cm.

Iron the interfacing onto the front, backs and gusset of your cushion and then, using a compass filled with either a dressmakers marker or tailor’s chalk, draw seven concentric circles at 26cm, 23 cm, 20cm, 17cm, 13cm, 9.5cm and 6cm. This will be where you put your petals.

Pin 16 of your largest semi-circles to the outer line. Overlapping them by about 2cm means you’ll get a good fit. Then use a sewing machine (or you can sew them by hand) stitch them in place using a 5mm seam allowance. Make sure you’ve managed to get all the petals and haven’t veered off.

Felt dahlia cushion how to

Use another 16 of those largest petals on the next line. This time, you’ll need to overlap them by an extra half centimetre to make sure they all fit. Make sure you align them like you would bricks though, with an overlap so you don’t just have rows of petals going into the centre. Pin and sew in place in the same way as before except use a 3mm seam allowance for this and the next ones (you can mark this on your sewing machine foot with a fine whiteboard marker or Sharpie.

Repeat a further three times on the next three lines using 16 for the first line, 14 for the fourth line and 13 for the last line (you’ll have one left over, which you don’t need). Again, overlap by an extra half centimetre each time and make sure you’re staggering the petals so it looks like a gorgeous flower.

Felt Dahlia cushion how to

Move on to the next size petals and pin 13 of these to the sixth marked circle, overlapping by around 4cm this time.

Onto the seventh circle and this time you’ll need seven of these medium semi circles, overlapping them by about 3cm.

The last bit is super fun – overlap the small semi circles by about a third in a line together and stitch them together using the half centimetre seam allowance again. Then coil it up on itself and you’ll have the centre of the flower. Secure it to itself with a few anchoring stitches and then hand stitch it to the middle of your cushion so it fills the gap. Ta-dah, the front of the cushion is finished. The hardest bit is over.

Felt dahlia cushion how toFelt Dahlia pillow close-up

Next, move on to the gusset (gusset is such a horrible word, don’t yout think?!). As this cushion is made of felt, it might distort and stretch as we sew the round circles to the straight edge, so to avoid too much of that, you need to stay stitch about a quarter of an inch from the edge down both long sides. Don’t make it any wider than this, or you’ll be able to see it after you’ve sewn your seams. Beginning and ending 1cm from each end, sew the two short sides together. In starting and finishing 1cm from the ends, you’ve saved yourself two notches – huzzah! You’ll now need to clip into the seam allowance to about the stay stitching, certainly no more than a 1cm or you’ll have holes in your gusset (see?! Such a horrible word!).

Then, pin your gusset to your front, easing the fabric as required to make sure you get a good, even fit. Don’t rush this bit, or the sewing as a good neat edge will really make a difference. When you sew this seam, use a 1cm seam allowance and just sew a few stitches at time before you adjust the material to make sure you’re still going even. Keep going all the way around the circle.

In to the final straight now!

Dahlia cushion felt

Pin the back pieces together along that straight edge. Baste on the machine, then go back and sew 4.5cm at each end of the seam and insert your zipper in between these two short seams.

REMEMBER TO OPEN THE ZIP ONCE IT’S IN! Otherwise, you’ll have a hell of a job getting the cushion back in the right way again.

Using the same method as before, sew the other clipped gusset edge to the back of the cushion and sew, nice and slowly, until it’s all attached and then pull the front of the cushion through the zipper. Push the cushion pad into the cushion and you are done my friend. One Dahlia cushion to see you through the winter. Beautiful.

E xx

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