How to: Make An Easy Reading Cushion

I don’t about you, but when I think of reading a book I want to snuggle up somewhere cosy & lose myself among the pages. This book pocket cushion brings all the best things together; a cushion for cosiness, a safe spot for your book & an extra space for a torch, cuddly toy or reading glasses. The handle makes it easy to escape to your favourite spot. And there is no risk of corner folding savagery… there’s a bookmark too!

Skill level: Adventurous beginner

You will learn

  • How to use continuous zipper tape
  • How to insert a centred zip
  • How to apply interfacing

You will need

We used


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Important notes

1 cm seam allowance throughout, unless directed.

For steps using machine sewing, straight stitch, backstitching at the start & end using stitch length 2.5 unless otherwise stated.

Pre-wash your fabrics

Disclaimer – Strangulation hazard, children must be supervised when using the book pocket cushion.

Cut the fabrics

1. Cut pieces in both fabric & interlining using the measurements above

For the cushion:

  • 1 Cushion front
  • 1 Cushion back

For the bookmark:

  • 2 Bookmark pieces: Choose 2 17.5x6cm panels – cut adding a 5mm border to all sides

For the pocket: *Note the interfacing is cut separately as 1 panel

  • 2 Pocket sides: Choose 2 17.5x25cm panels – cut adding a 1cm border top and bottom and a 5mm border on both sides
  • 1 Pocket centre: Choose 1 8x25cm panel – cut adding a 1cm border at the top and bottom and 5mm border on both sides
  • Pocket Interlining: 45x27cm

Prepare the fabric

2. Apply the fusible interfacing to the cushion front and back

New to woven interfacing? Check out our how to product guide here

Assemble the cushion back panel

3. Measure and mark a line 11cm from the shortest edge of the back piece.

4. Cut along the line to form the zip opening.

5. Tidy the 2 raw edges of the zip opening using an overlocker or zig zag stitch.

6. Clip or pin the 2 sides of the zip opening right sides together.

7. Baste along the opening with a 1cm seam allowance.

8. Press the seam open.

Prepare the zip

9. Seal the ends of the tape gently, taking care not to damage the zipper teeth.

10. Pull the bottom 10cm of the zipper teeth apart.

11. With the back of the zip pull and back of the tape facing upwards thread 1 end of the tape into the zipper from the top. To make this easier angle the teeth into the pull from the side.

12. Repeat step 4. on the other side. Both sets of teeth should sit toward the top of the clasp.

13. Keeping the 2 sides of teeth level with each other, hold the zip pull between one finger/ thumb then draw the 2 sides of the tape down through the pull with the other hand. The zip pull should then begin to move up the tape.

14. Slide the pull toward the top of the tape (without coming off the other end) then pull it back down to check the zip works.

Top tip:

A fork can help hold the zip pull: tuck the bar of the zip between the central teeth (not the clasp where the teeth need to go). A blob of blue-tack can help keep the fork still.

Sew the zip

15. On the cushion back panel with the zip fastened, align the zipper teeth along the basted seam line. Position the zip, pull side down, end aligned with one edge, pull and excess tape overhanging at the other.

16. Tape or baste the zip in place.

17. Starting at the end nearest the zip pull, begin sewing using a zipper foot. Backstitch at the start then sew down to the bottom of the zip.

18. Stop sewing 5mm from the bottom. Turn and sew across the bottom carefully, backstitching for added strength.

19. Turn and sew along the other side of the zip teeth to the top and backstitch.

20. Remove the tape/ zip basting stitches.

21. Turn the cushion back over and unpick the basting stitches using a seam ripper. Remove all loose threads (a lint roller can help with this) then test the zip.


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Assemble the pocket

22. One at a time, align the edge of a pocket side panel piece with the corresponding edge on pocket centre piece and pin.

23. Sew the pieces together with a 5mm seam allowance then press the seams open.

24. Apply the interlining to the back of the pocket piece.

25. Hem the top of the pocket by folding over and pressing the top 1cm of the panel.

26. Turn the raw edge under to reach the crease and press again to create a hem.

27. Clip and sew along the edge of the pressed hem to secure.

28. Align the bottom of the pocket piece with the bottom of the cushion front.

29. Pin along the seam line that runs between the right and centre pocket panels

30. Sew along the seam line. Backstitch twice at the top of the pocket for strength.

Position the strap

31. Fold the back cushion piece in half and finger press a crease in the centre of the top edge.

32. Position each end of the webbing 7.5cm from the crease and pin with the strap ends and fabric edge aligned.

Assemble the cushion

33. Lay the pieces out in the following order:

  • Cushion front and pocket – right side up
  • Cushion back – right side down with the strap ends to the top (strap tucked down between the layers)

34. Vertically pin the opening end of the zip then unzip it by 10cm.

35. Clip or pin the 4 sides of the cushion together.

36. Sew the cushion front and back together. Carefully backstitch at each end of the zipper tape, the strap ends and the tops of the pocket for strength.

37. Clip the corners, cut off the excess zip tape (using domestic scissors for the teeth) and turn the cushion out the right way.

38. For a polished finish, press the completed cushion cover.

Make the bookmark

39. Pin the 2 bookmark pieces right sides together.

40. Leaving a 5cm opening, sew around the bookmark with a 5mm seam allowance.

41. Clip the corners and turn out the right way.

42. Press the bookmark

43. Sew 2 lines of top stitching around the bookmark; the first close to the outer edge and the second 5mm in from the 1st

And you’re finished, well done!


Pin For Later!


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We hope you found this tutorial useful

Let us know how you get along in the comments below 🙂

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