FDMC Best Pratices in Woodworking Technology and Business

Blind tufting a loose seat cushion

George Koeninger

Q: I am looking for direction on blind tufting a non-attached seat cushion. We have no problem with the technique if the seat is attached. We produce for the hospitality industry, and they typically do not want an actual button-tufted seat cushion, and the request has been made numerous times for a "faux tuft" or blind tuft. Once the foam core is in the seat casing, there seems to be no way of achieving the blind tuft. Help!

A: There are several methods to achieve what you are attempting none easy! Let me see if I can logically provide a method for you.

1. Determine the finished thickness of the cushion. Divide by two.

2. Make one-half of the cushion, using foam core and about 1 to 1.5 inches of fire retardant (FR) fiber on top.

3. Bore 1-inch holes in the foam/fiber where you have determined you want the tuft.

4. Cover and extend about 2 inches over the bottom of the foam, with needle-punched Typar or an equivalent. Glue Typar to the bottom of the foam. The Typar must be heavy enough to hold a force, as you will see, but it must not make noise.

5. Lay your cover or muslin over the surface, push fabric into the holes down to the depth you desire, and then mark the fabric on the back side where you have placed the fabric into the holes.

6. Handy Button Machine Co. makes a loop with a metal stud. The loop is made to the exact length desired. The stud fits into a special needle that allows you to insert the stud through the Typar.

7. You would then sew the other end of the loop to the mark you have placed on the back side of the muslin fabric.

8. Next use the special needle to tuft the muslin fabric into the fiber/foam and lock the stud into the Typar with the brad turned perpendicular to the loop. Some people use a fiber washer to reinforce the puncture through the Typar.

9. Mark the muslin around the edge of the seat where your boxing will be sewn. This will then become the pattern for the cover on the seat cushion. Make sure you leave the normal 1/2-inch seam allowance.

10. Next, make your boxing and make sure the zipper extends around the left and right back edge of the cushion by about 9 inches, as you will need the room to get into the cushion.

11. Fabricate the foam on the seat cushion in two parts (top and bottom), with holes drilled into each side and Typar glued to each bottom to cover the holes.

12. Glue the top and bottom cushion sections along the front edge of the cushion about 1.5 inches from the front edge toward the rear. Now the cushion foam looks like an envelope or folded page with the front edge sealed and both pieces of Typar showing in the middle or underside of the respective cushion.

13. Start rolling the cushion casing onto the foam core. Note: you have the loops sewn to the bottom of the cover, both top and bottom.

14. As you roll the cover onto the foam, you will have the loop exposed over a pre-bored hole in the top or bottom of the foam.

15. Take the special needle with the barb, place the barb into the needle and thrust through the hole, through the Typar, and secure the barb on the external side of the Typar. Turn the cushion over and do the same to the matching loop and barb. Note: This is dangerous, as you will be placing the barb through the Typar almost blind. You might easily puncture a finger if not very careful. I suggest using a heavy leather glove on the hand inside the cushion.

16. Continue to roll the cushion over the foam core and insert loops and barbs through the predetermined holes and through the Typar until all tufts have been made top and bottom.

17. When complete, glue the rear of the two pieces of foam together to hold into place.

18. Close the cushion and test to ensure that the loops and barbs are properly secured for heavy-duty usage. You might have to adjust the thickness of the foam, fiber, Typar, etc., to get the exact fit and duty you desire.

Like I said, it isn't easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. Hope this helps. The loops are made to the exact length by the vendor. Good luck!

December 2009

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