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How to make a tufted French mattress

Making your own tufted French mattress is a great way to add an upholstered seat, a mattress for a day bed, or cushions for floor seating and outdoor furniture - all made to fit your projects.



High-density foam (cut to the size required for your project)

Heavy-weight batting to cover the foam

Fabric to upholster - heavy-weight cotton and linen are ideal

Sewing thread (indestructible if possible)

Long upholstery needle

Sewing machine

Gloves, golf gloves are great as they don't limit movement



1. Have the foam cut to size. Allow an extra 5cm all round, as you lose some of the size once tufted.

2. Cut the batting to wrap around all sides of the foam.

3. Make a box mattress or cushion following the instructions in the video below. Leave out the instructions for fitting the zipper and leave one long side open for fitting. You also need to allow an extra 4cm of fabric all round for tufting. So, you will actually have a baggy cover.


4. Insert the batting wrapped foam inside the cover and hand-stitch the open side closed.

5. Starting at a corner, you will use a basic running stitch along the top, side edge, top and side edge of the mattress. The stitches should be spaced about 4cm apart and the length of the stitches about 4mm long - evenly spaced along the entire length. Push the needle through the top of the fabric so that you grab some of the batting as well.

GOOD TO KNOW: Pull the thread firmly as you work along the edges. You want to create a thick, wavy edge along the fabric.

6. After finishing the top all round, flip over and repeat the process and then do the corner/sides of the mattress in the same way.

GOOD TO KNOW: For an authentic French mattress look, line up the stitches at the top and bottom.

7. Use pins to mark where the tufting is to be done. Place pins on both sides of the mattress, accurately marked so that the finished look will be perfect.

8. Using a long, threaded upholstery needle, push through the front of the mattress, making sure it comes out at the back in the right position (where marked). Now push back to the front and tie off. Do another stitch in exactly the same way to reinforce the tufting. This means there will be two stitches at each tufting mark.

GOOD TO KNOW: Try to maintain the same amount of pressure for each location so that the indentations are the same.

Thanks to August Blues for this information and easy method of French mattress tufting.


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