Tutorial – knit a simple cushion cover {free pattern}

free pattern: knit a simple cushion cover
Do you ever see something and say “oh I’m not buying one of those, I can make that!”?
It happens to me often. Whether I can actually make it or not. It happens mostly at markets, when I see lovely handmade things and I walk on by, telling myself I could do one at home. Never mind that I don’t have a sewing machine, I have 40 other projects on the go, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I actually loathe knitting.
And it’s all this cushion’s fault.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s the easiest thing in the world, or I’d never have made it. It just helped me realise that:
a) I can only knit in straight lines
b) I find it very stressful because I still don’t know what to do if I drop a stitch, so pay very close attention to NOT dropping any and NOT making any mistakes so I’m all wired and crazy
c) It takes too long
d) crochet I am so sorry I cheated on you, PLEASE TAKE ME BACK, I LOVE YOU! DESPERATELY!
But I battled on and I’m actually quite pleased with the result. I saw a simple knit cushion cover at a friend’s house and totally thought I could make it at home, and there you go – I did. And you can too!

Simple Knit Cushion Cover

What you’ll need is:

2 balls soft 8ply yarn (I used Carnival yarn from Big W)
6mm knitting needles
a length of yarn for sewing the sides
five or six pieces of ribbon about 3-4 inches long
sewing needle and thread
five or six buttons
First step: Cast on 80 stitches.
Next step: Knit 2, purl 2 for 200 rows.
That’s it.
I knit 150 rows because I was over it and it was taking too long and I had other things I wanted to make!

free pattern: knit a simple cushion cover

Third step: Fold your work in half, with a flap of about 10 inches left over at the top (mine is shorter, so ignore the measurement in the photo).
free pattern: knit a simple cushion cover
Fourth step: Tie your binding yarn into a knot at the folded edge. Use slip stitch to “sew” shut the sides of your work. Your hook goes under both loops of both stitches (the things that look like little hearts).
free pattern: knit a simple cushion cover
This is how it should look from the bottom after you’ve slip stitched along the open edge. Hopefully your nails will be nicer than mine.

This has nothing to do with anything, just what my kids were doing while I was working. Remind me to pot that lime tree, will you?
free pattern: knit a simple cushion cover
Fifth step: Ok when you’ve fastened off and repeated the same slip stitching on the other open side, it’s time to shove your pillow in. Here’s where it gets fun, because the work stretches and you get to see the lovely knit/purl pattern.
free pattern: knit a simple cushion cover
Sixth step: Cut your ribbon into lengths, if you haven’t already done so, fold in half to create a loop and sew the unfolded end in even spaces across the leftover flap at the top. Do it about 2.5-3 inches above the end of the work, so when you fold it over to secure with the buttons, there’s no gap showing your naked cushion underneath.
With the cushion in the cover, as in the picture above, you would sew the flaps onto the underside of the flap. They will then be in the right place when it’s folded over.
free pattern: knit a simple cushion cover
Seventh step: sew your buttons on in the corresponding areas under your ribbon. Or do this vice versa, whatever works for you! I used five buttons, but I’m thinking a sixth would have been helpful.  Loop the ribbon around the buttons. Weave in your loose threads.
You could also sew the flap sides shut, if you’re not concerned about taking it off to wash. I’m lazy so they’re staying unsewn.
Depending on how awesome you are, this could either be the front or the back of your cushion.
I am not awesome. This is definitely the back.
So, go ahead, knit yourself a snuggly cushion. Feel free to ask any questions, I don’t seem to be terribly good at describing knitting terms, so I hope I haven’t been too vague.
*Edited to add: I used a 40cm x 40cm cushion*


  1. thegorgiegirl says

    Adorable.  I did learn to knit in high school but after spending the whole of Easter knitting a vest that was promptly knicked whilst I was doing sport the following week I have never taken it back up, I just stick to sewing and making hats now :-)

  2. says

    Yep, this is the perfect project for my knitting skills! (I'd much rather crochet) But this I could do. And I'm think that snuggly cushions would be perfect on our couch for Winter… that would be, NEXT Winter!

  3. Jessica says

    I love this! It’s a beautiful project, thank you :). Just came across it on the web after Google search knitting patterns for cushion covers. I have a question though – what size cushion insert do you use?

  4. Janet says

    Thanks for this easy to follow pattern and the inspiration to pick up knitting needles to create something warm & cosy. Im loving the therapy!

  5. moggie79 says

    this is lovely but could you say what tension gauge you used and/or what size cushion pad so tension can be worked out? thanks

      • moggie79 says

        Thanks so much – that all I need :) The tension gauge is just meant to help you work out which size needles to use or how many stitches to cast on to get the right result, if you knit more tightly or looser than average. Just to say that my attention was caught by the ribbon tabs on the back of the cushion which really are a fab idea. Thanks again for posting the pattern. :)

        • says

          You’re very welcome! and thanks for the definition, I’ve always seen it but ignored it because I didn’t know what it was! I think I’m a very average knitter, so mustn’t have worried too much. 2014 is the year I learn more about this wonderful craft!

  6. Ruth says

    I must be really slow or something but i do not get the ribbon part. From your picture it looks like you have button holes in the pillow. I do not read in the pattern about button holes so I assume i am missing something. Could you help me please?

    • says

      Hi there! Sorry it’s confusing :-(
      There are no button holes. I have sewn the buttons along one edge, then sewn the ribbons on in a loop along the other. I put the cushion in the little pocket that has been created from sewing the sides together, then fold the flap with the ribbons on it over the top. I then put that loop around the buttons to secure. I hope I haven’t just made that sound, more complicated than it really is! Let me know if it helps. But by all means, don’t even use the ribbons! You can secure the cushion any way you like.

    • says

      Hello! I’ve been known to stuff slightly larger cushions in! I’m not sure what else you’d like to do with the cover. It’s very stretchy though, owing to the stitch. What have you thought about putting in?

  7. Julie Simmons says

    Thanx for posting this pattern….idea. Am making my own now. Love your blogs as well, you write like l talk which is cool. x

  8. Grace says

    Sorry to sound silly but do you literally do two knit and then 2 pearl on the same row? Or two rows of knit and two rows of pearl?

      • Carole E. says

        I’m new to this whole knitting thing (trying to teach myself and pillows will be my first project), so if you knit 2 whole rows and then purl 2 whole rows, would the end result look the same?

    • says

      It depends on your tension, but I think mine ended up being about 70cm or so. I didn’t measure it when I made it, but I knew I had to stretch it to get around a 40cm pillow.

  9. Eleanor says

    I love it no messing can’t stand the technicalities just get it done forget about sizes and all that crap. your a gem, my type of Mama

  10. says

    Hi there
    Just popped in looking for a knitting pattern for a round cushion. I live in a very quiet village on the sea with mountain views about one hour from Cape Town.
    Wish I could help you to experience the tranquility of the life we have


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