DIY: Rag Cushion

Written by on February 27, 2011 in DIY, Feature, Old Warriors, Products - 8 Comments

(Photographs by Ornella D’Souza)

At 88, Sabina Furtado is a pro with a needle and thread. Be it knitting, crocheting or stitching, her hands, though frail, do not falter even once. She still reads up on do-it-yourself books to get better at creating baby clothes, table cloths and rugs. She also works with scrap. Like making tiny Christmas bells from the gold sheet that is used in cigarette packs. Quilts and pillow covers from waste cloth. All this and more minus reading glasses!

Sabina lives with her 76-year-old sister, Ivy (in the picture above with Sabina). Ivy still travels to teach music at a school in Churchgate .

Ouch. The 20 something me (in spectacles) just hit a new low.

On a quiet afternoon at her home in Vasai, Mumbai, Sabina shows Art Umbrella how to create a cushion cover out of waste. “Once you get the hang of it, it’s just a 20 minute job,” she assures. And hey, it’s actually fun! The cover turns out to be a chubby bundle of vivid hues. Eye-catching even at a distance. Picture this on a white/black couch. Ahh.

You need:
A sheet of jute cloth
A cushion cover/s you wish to discard
Short strips of cloth/rags in the colours of your choice

Sabina gets discarded material from her local tailor who is more than happy to do away with it. The material makes for the strips of cloth. The jute sheet is a torn gunny bag from her grocer.

Ok so this is how it’s done.

1. Cut the front part of the old cushion cover. Stitch the jute material in its place such that its now the cover. And also a perfect tapestry.

2. & 3.Take a strip of cloth and insert it around a few inches through the bop-pin, just like you insert a thread into a needle.

4. Insert the bop-pin with one of the strips of cloth through a hole in the jute tapestry and pull it out till you reach the middle of the strip.

5. Remove the bop-pin while you leave the cloth as it is.

6. &7. Lastly knot the cloth twice over such that it stays firm on the jute fabric.

8. Cut the strip if lengthy and continue in the same way with the rest of the material strips. Trim the edges to avoid the thread running off.

Try to cover more holes so you don’t have any patches of the jute tapestry visible.

If you’d like to order a cushion cover and her crochet/knitting pieces, do write to us on


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