Sunday, 13 December 2009

DIY # 8: Eco Meditation Cushion

Have you seen the prices for a meditation cushion lately?! They're certainly not very zen ;) That's why I was super excited when I found this tutorial on how to make my own. I kept the cost nil by using leftover fabric both for the cushion itself and the stuffing. Traditionally hulled buckwheat is used for the filling, but I couldn't find a supplier for the buckwheat near me. So instead I used up my entire supply of fabric scraps filling the cushion. These scraps were too small, stained or faded to use in sewing, so I was glad to use them up without adding to the landfills. That means this project is made 100% from recycled materials and cost absolutely nothing!!

Start to finish this project took about 2 hours, but it's well worth the effort. Here's what you'll need:
  • 59 inches of heavy fabric
  • measuring tape
  • straight pins
  • Filling (fabric, buckwheat or other filling)
Start off by cutting 3 (or 4 if you want a handle) pieces of fabric. I used a heavy linen because that's what I had on hand, but any heavy fabric will do.
  • 1 long strip - 59 inches long, 6-9 inches wide (this will determine the height of your cushion)
  • 2 circles - 11-13 inches in diameter (this will determine the size of your cushion)
  • 1 rectangular strip - 10 inches long & 3 inches wide (this is the handle) OPTIONAL
Steam iron all the pieces. Then begin making the pleats on the long strip. Starting 6 inches from the edge, make 3 marks on the fabric that are 3/4 inch away from each other (See diagram). Measure 3 inches from the last mark and make another set of 3 marks that are 3/4 inch away from each other. Continue in this pattern until you have 14 sets of pleats. Pin the pleats so they are all facing the same way and steam iron them in place.

Next you'll need to sew the edges of the pleated strip together to form the cushion. Fold it in half with the pleats in the inside and match up the raw edges. I chose to leave a space here in this seam for stuffing, so I didn't completely sew the entire seam. You can choose any seam to leave open though.

Then take 1 round piece and begin pinning it to the pleated strip right sides facing each other. By now your cushion should be taking shape. You can also choose to leave an opening here for the stuffing if you wish. If you are including a handle on your cushion you'll need to attach it here. Simply sew the long edges of the small rectangular piece you cut and turn inside out. Steam iron flat with the seam in the middle.

If you're really particular you can embroider the handle now, so the wrong side of the stitches will be hidden inside the handle. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to embroider, so I left this part until the end.

I chose to use a handle to "mask" my hand-stitched seam, so I inserted over the open seam in the pleated strip. Pin in the inside of the cushion with right sides together (so if you pulled the handle out the side with the seam should be facing you). Pin the handle in place.

Stitch on both circles and turn inside out using the seam you've left open. Stuff with filling. Hand stitch the opening closed.

If you can find hulled buckwheat it's the ideal filling for a meditation cushion. Aside from being natural (as opposed to the acrylic stuffing you buy in a plastic bag at the craft store) it also naturally repels dust mites and other critters that may be lurking in your cushions. It's allergy friendly and keeps its shape well, even after years of use.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Girl. I am on the hunt for creating an in-home practice space for myself and at some point, others may be in it too. Something that is cozy and yoga like rather than just a stark room. Anyway. In my search for zafu's and cushions and the like, it's just nuts how $ they are!!! I am not a sewer. That is one thing I don't do :) But if you ever find a website that you think has gorgeous practice space items or just general yoga nick-nacks if you will, LMK b/c I'd love to check it out. Lots of sites out there, most of them have kinda ugly stuff if you want my .02 :)

GReat work!

Earth Mother said...

Cool zafu! Will it travel with you to India?

I bet yours is comfy. I think the buckwheat hulls are too hard for long sits.

Angel said...

Thanks for the zafu compliments ladies!

Earth Mother - the ashram where I'm staying did ask me to bring a meditation cushion, but I think it's too heavy and will take up too much space in my suitcase. So this one is staying.

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