I spend so much time managing my on line fabric business Morrissey Fabric that I don't get the opportunity to work with my hands as much as I would like. I've been wanting to sew some Kuba cloth pillows for months, so today I finally set to the task.
African Kuba cloth comes in many variations so I chose this small flat weave piece to keep it simple. The vintage Kuba cloth came from Africa and was an uneven size. I took my time measuring and trimming the Kuba cloth to get a nice 23 inch square.
If it had been winter, I might have chosen a black linen fabric or black suede for the back of this pillow. But with the weather reaching eighty degrees in Southern California today, I opted for natural flax color linen.
The photo above shows the fusible tricot interlining I applied to the back of the linen fabric to give it more heft. This is one of those techniques that will give a pillow a high-end look. I also prefer to take the extra step of overlocking (surging) all the cut edges to help prevent fraying. If you don't have your own surger, you could run an extra single needle stay-stitch along the cut edges.
photo: Morrissey Fabric
When sewing a Kuba cloth pillow cover, I also like to sew a finished piece of cloth at each end of the zipper prior to attaching it to the pillow cover. This will prevent the zipper from coming apart over time as the zipper is opened and closed. If you are using a pre-sized zipper it will already have zipper stops in place. I use zipper yardage so I can cut any length needed. It takes a bit of practice to efficiently put a zipper pull onto zipper yardage. I used a number 5 zipper for this project.
The Kuba cloth pillow is nearly completed. I sew one of the side seams closed prior to attaching the zipper. This isn't the most professional way to sew in a zipper, but it does work well if you want to sew the zipper along one of the seams rather than along an opening in the linen back side. You could also use an invisible zipper, but given the hearty nature of the vintage African Kuba Cloth I preferred to use an upholstery weight zipper.
I will post the final steps of this African kuba cloth project within the next few days. Stay tuned.
if you want to try creating your own African Kuba cloth pillow, please visit my Etsy shop for a nice selection.