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Tumbling block cushion cover
By Debbi Shore

English paper piecing is such a relaxing way to spend time, and the tumbling blocks, made from 60-degree diamond shapes, is my favourite design. I love the way the shades of fabric create illusion and dimension, a technique that looks a lot more difficult than it actually is! Make the cushion cover in any size you like, then why not use the technique to make a matching table runner!

  • Sewing
  • < 1 hour
  • Beginner

You Will Need:

  • Diamond Template Download Here
  • Cushion pad
  • 3 shades of fabric to create the patchwork, it works better if one is significantly darker than the other two [depending on the size of your cushion pad, three fat eights should easily cover most sizes]
  • 4 strips of 3” wide plain fabric, cut to the length of the sides of your cushion pad, to make a border
  • Two pieces of fabric each approx. 1/3 larger than your cushion pad for the envelope back
  • Copy paper for the diamond shapes
  • Fabric glue stick
  • Hand sewing needle and strong thread


  1. Cut out your copy paper diamond pieces, I used approx. 35 diamonds. Cut your fabric pieces at least ¼” larger than the paper diamonds, these do not have to be exact. Place the paper diamonds in the centre of the back of each fabric shape, glue around the edge of the paper, then fold over the fabric. You will have two little ears at the top and bottom of the diamonds, don’t be tempted to cut these off!

  2. Group the diamonds together in threes, one of each of the fabrics. Place two pieces right sides together, and using a tiny over edge stitch, sew together. Try to just catch the edge of the fabric, and the smaller the stitches the less likely it is so see them on the right side. Sew the third piece in place to create your first block. The little ‘ears’ join together at the back of the centre of the block.

  3. tumbling-block-cushion-cover
  4. Make up a few blocks before starting to join them together in the same way.

  5. tumbling-block-cushion-cover
  6. When you’ve joined three blocks together, you’ll see the illusion developing! Press as you go.

  7. tumbling-block-cushion-cover
  8. Carry on joining the blocks together until you have the size you require. This could be the whole of the cushion cover, or just a panel in the centre. When you have the size you need, press, then carefully peel away the paper pieces. Trim the edges to make the panel square. [Or rectangular!]. Take the first two strips of border fabric and sew to the top and bottom of the panel, right sides together.

  9. tumbling-block-cushion-cover
  10. Open out and press, then add the two side border pieces in the same way.

  11. tumbling-block-cushion-cover
  12. To make the envelope back, fold the two remaining pieces of fabric in half, place over the front of the cushion cover. The folds should overlap in the centre. Trim to the size of the front of the cushion cover. Sew all the way round. Snip off the corners and turn the right side out. Insert your cushion pad and you’re finished!

What You Need