French Mattress Cushion Tutorial

French Mattress Cushion Tutorial

Are you familiar with french mattress cushions?

Originally, the French made their everyday mattresses this way!  Leave it to the French to elevate the everyday items with beautiful detailing.

Marked by an extra big, bunchy edge welt and delicate, button-less tufts, these casual cushions add another layer of farmhouse elegance wherever you see them.

Ballard Designs French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

*This post contains affiliate links*

 

I have seen them online in few places and they always strike me as so timeless and cozy.

Ballard Designs French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

Ballard Designs

But, I wanted to see if I couldn’t make one myself.  There really isn’t much online about how to do it, so it was fun to figure it out.

The welting and tufting stitches, in particular, are ones that I figured out through a lot of trial and error.

 I am happy to pass them on to you!

 

French Mattress Supplies

  • Upholstery Foam
    • I like to buy mine off Ebay. The foam pictured in this post is 3″ thick, which created more or a 2″ inch side on the cushion.  If I were to do it again I would probably use 6″ foam.
    • Cut with a serrated knife, using a sawing motion. An electric knife works great!
  • Batting
    • I like polyester, 10 ounce which is 1″ thick. The fluffier the better for this project.
    • I found mine at Joanns.
    • Do not use piping, it is not malleable enough.
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Fabric
    • Ticking and velvets are very french looking. I used microsuede because I have a dog that thinks I just made her a new bed. Microsuede is easy to clean with just a baby wipe.
  • Matching Thread
  • 2″ Needle
  • Straight Pins with ball heads
  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Upholstery Thread
    • Buy thread that matches your fabric. I was lazy and just used what I had on hand.   My knots are showing more than necessary now.
  • 6″ Upholstery Needle
  • Leather gloves IMPORTANT!!!!
    •  Basically, if you don’t wear leather gloves you aren’t going to get through this project.  On a cushion this size, I had to hand stitch for six hours. There is so much pulling and pinching and pushing needles through that my hands were aching and red with the leather gloves.
    • Make sure they are skin tight on your hands.
    • I use these Mizuno golf gloves in a Youth Small when I do upholstery.
  • Scotch Guard

 

French Mattress Tutorial

Box Cushion

  • First, cut the upholstery foam to the desired size.
  • Make the box cushion cover.
    • When you cut out the fabric pieces be extra generous.  Don’t just cut the extra 1″ seam allowance, cut and extra inch of both sides (3″ total) so you have lots to bunch up. I wish I had done this more on mine.
    • If you have never made a box cushion, follow this Youtube video, skipping the zipper information.
    • Leave one of the long sides open.
  • Then, cut large panels of batting that will cover the top and bottom of the cushion.  Cut two extra wide strips of batting to adhere to the top and bottom edges of the sides. These will be easy to bunch up when it’s time to do the welting.

French Mattress Cushion Tutorial by She Holds Dearly

  • Use Spray Adhesive to adhere all the pieces to the foam.
    • I used a big piece of cardboard and moved it around to protect the floor as I sprayed.

French Mattress Cushion Tutorial by She Holds Dearly

  • Carefully slide the foam and batting into the box cushion cover.
    • Check all over and make sure the batting stayed in place.

French Mattress Cushion Tutorial by She Holds Dearly

French Mattress Cushion Tutorial by She Holds Dearly

Welting

  • Using upholstery thread, gloves and the 2″ needle, start at one corner of the cushion.
    • The stitch I came up with that gives the most bunchiness is a four step process.
  • Start by pinching a good inch of fabric and batting, even a little foam if you can. Keep nice and high on the top edge.
  • Next, make a 1/4″ vertical stitch on the top of the welting and come down below.

French Mattress Sewing Project by She Holds Dearly

  • Then, make a 1/4″ horizontal stitch underneath.

French Matress Sewing Project by She Holds Dearly

  • Come out next to the bottom of the vertical top stitch.

     French Mattress Sewing Project by She Holds Dearly

  • Finally, stitch right under the surface of the top fabric and make one large 1 1/2″ stitch inside the fabric to get to the place to start the next stitch. Pull tight as you go.
  • Do this all along the top edge and then the bottom edge. French Mattress Cushion Tutorial by She Holds Dearly

 

Tufting

  • Once you finish the welting, you can decide on the tufting pattern.
    • People seem to either do two parallel lines of tufting or a diamond pattern.
    • Because I knew I would be covering the back half of the cushion with pillows, I decided to go with the diamond pattern.
  • Measure out a plan and stick straight pins in on both sides to mark the tufts.

Tufted French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

French Mattress Sewing Project by She Holds Dearly

  • Cut a 4′ piece of upholstery thread for each tuft. Use double thread and an upholstery needle.  Knot the thread.
    • You will need to wear your gloves, but keep taking them on and off every time you make a knot.
  • Stitch an * (asterisk star) shape about 1/2″ diameter.
    • Note- the first knot goes straight through the fabric and gets lodged in the foam.
    • Sew three complete stitches before you pull tight to create the tuft.  The fabric has a ton of tension were each of the tufts are located. It is possible to tear a hole right through the fabric if the pressure isn’t spread out before pulling.

Tufted Mattress by She Holds Dearly

  • Turn the mattress on its side while you tuft to make sure you coming out exactly were you want your stitch to be on the other side.
  • Once you are ready to tie a knot, pull tight one more time.
    • Take your gloves off and cut the thread, leaving the two tails as long as possible.
    • Now, tie the two tails like you were going to tie a bow. Folding under and pulling tight, do this six times.
    • Re-thread the upholstery needle and stitch the thread straight down through the foam and out the other side. It doesn’t matter where it comes out.
    • Finally, pull tight and clip the thread, the tails will be left buried in the foam.
  • Continue tufting.
    • Keep re-measuring and adjusting the pins a little on both sides before you start a new tuft.

Tufted Mattress by She Holds Dearly

  • One you are finished, as always, Scotch Guard the living daylights out of that baby.
    • Spot clean with baby wipes or rubbing alcohol.

 

 

 

Custom French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

 

French Mattress Upholstery by She Holds Dearly

 

I recently wrote a post on how to Add a Zipper to a Pillow in Ten Minutes where I showed how I quickly made the six pillows on our window seat.

French Mattress Upholstery by She Holds Dearly

 

 

DIY French Mattress Cushion by She Holds Dearly

 

Custom French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

If sewing is not your thing, I have included the best french mattresses I can find online.

Pier One French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

Pier One

Etsy French Mattress Floor Cushion by She Holds Dearly

 

Etsy

Etsy French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

 

Etsy

Pottery Barn French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

Pottery Barn

 

Custom French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

 

Ballard Designs French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

 

DIY French Mattress Cushion by She Holds Dearly

 

 

French Mattress Upholstery by She Holds Dearly

 

 

DIY French Mattress Cushion by She Holds Dearly

 

I am very pleased with the final result.

Now that I know how to make french mattress style cushions, they will be my cushion of choice in the future.

French Mattress Upholstery by She Holds Dearly

 

Custom French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

 

DIY French Mattress Cushion by She Holds Dearly

 

Custom French Mattress by She Holds Dearly

 

DIY French Mattress Cushion by She Holds Dearly

 

Related Posts

How to Slipcover a Recliner

Reupholstering an Antique Chair

DIY Covered Buttons

 

Sharing at these parties!

 

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28 Comments

  1. Tonya
    June 29, 2017 / 2:37 PM

    Simply beautiful. You amaze me, truly.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      June 29, 2017 / 9:14 PM

      Oh my, what wonderful compliments. Thank you for your encouragement!

  2. Brenda
    June 29, 2017 / 2:40 PM

    Oh my, how absolutely lovely. And you explained it so well. I have an old iron crib that I would love to make into a settee and this would be the perfect seat for it. Now all I need is your gifted hands and perseverance.

    From the projects you are sharing, I can see your revamping of your living room is happening.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      June 29, 2017 / 9:15 PM

      I am so pleased that it makes sense. Your iron crib sounds PERFECT for a french mattress. And yes, the reveal is coming SOON, I’m so excited.

  3. June 29, 2017 / 4:48 PM

    I LOVE a beautiful French mattress, and yours is certainly that. Explained and detailed so perfectly. Thanks for this great post!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      June 29, 2017 / 9:16 PM

      You are a girl after my own heart and I am so glad you liked the tutorial. xoxo

  4. June 29, 2017 / 8:09 PM

    This is absolutely incredible~ bravo! I have just the spot for one although I think my dog would also claim it. 🙂

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      June 29, 2017 / 8:47 PM

      Oh yay! I’m so glad you loved it. Haha, those dogs, gotta love em! I’m hoping to do a post for National Dog Day in August about how to decorate with a dog in the house, I should address this issue.;)

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 1, 2017 / 8:56 PM

      You bet! Thanks for stopping by.

  5. July 3, 2017 / 3:54 PM

    These are beautiful. I love how they look and your tutorial is so thorough I am sure I can follow along. Pinning

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 8, 2017 / 11:12 AM

      Thank you, Kristine, I agree with everything you have said!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 8, 2017 / 11:12 AM

      Oh, I am so pleased!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 8, 2017 / 11:13 AM

      Thank you, Melissa, that window seat was the first thing I saw when we were touring the house to buy it. Love at first sight.;)

  6. Betsy Adams
    July 4, 2017 / 8:44 AM

    Great idea. Have wondered about trying one of these. You give me courage.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 8, 2017 / 11:15 AM

      That is the best compliment ever! xoxo

  7. July 4, 2017 / 5:51 PM

    This is a great tutorial. I will have to give it a try.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 8, 2017 / 11:16 AM

      Yay! I am so excited for you!

  8. July 5, 2017 / 5:47 AM

    Sarah, you are so talented! I wish I had the even a bit of your talent when it comes to stuff like this! I have a bench I’ve been hoping to find a cushion like this for, but didn’t want to shell out the $ to get one. If I work up enough nerve I think I’ll try your tutorial. In the mean-time I’m going to feature it this week on The Creative Circle Link Party. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 8, 2017 / 11:16 AM

      Oh, I hope you find the perfect cushion solution very soon! Thank you for the feature, I’m so excited!

  9. July 6, 2017 / 6:37 AM

    I made one before, but I just love how you quilted it. It adds so much charm and feels soft and warm. You amaze me!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 8, 2017 / 11:17 AM

      Thank you so much, Julie, you just made my day!!

  10. July 6, 2017 / 8:29 PM

    This is beautiful sarah! I wish I could sew…I need a new cushion on my window seat…but I just staple the frabric to a piece of wood. I wish I could have one this beautiful!!

  11. July 6, 2017 / 9:43 PM

    This is just amazing, Sarah!! I’ve always wanted one and you outdid yourself. It’s just perfect!
    Hugs, Jamie

  12. July 9, 2017 / 2:18 PM

    Love this Sara. You did a beautiful job, your tutorial was excellently done, and your photos are stunning as usual. I’ll be pinning for inspiration later.
    Cheryl

  13. July 10, 2017 / 3:07 PM

    Excellent job, you should be proud. I know how to sew, but I also know my tolerance level. That would drive me nuts. Kudos to you!

  14. Tanya Hulbert
    July 18, 2017 / 11:14 AM

    Your tutorials always give so much thorough detail! You are an amazingly talented woman! I so wish I had a window seat in my home. Maybe one day…

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