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Here’s an old pattern for sewing a zafu (round meditation cushion.) I did not create this pattern, but saved it from another website years ago, sometime about 2008. It was a website that no longer exists, and this pattern went offline with it (along with my memory of what that website even was.) But I had it in my files and added it to the original Dukkhagirl.com. It lived there sometime between the years of 2010 to 2012 before dukkhagirl.com, itself, went offline.

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When life happened, and my blog went down, the file stayed alive. It skulked around in a backup directory stuffed in a drawer. In sorting through my archives, it surfaced again. While it has the look of a bad photocopy, these are good instructions for sewing a Zafu.

I’m not going to create a video or tack on additional instructions; my days of sewing these things are over. Back when I was actively sewing these, I sold some of them on eBay and at the local farmer’s market. My eBay moniker at the time was domesticgoddess (before I ever heard Nigella Lawson using the term) and my favorite feedback comment ever was on one of my cushions: “Domestic Goddess is the actual Goddess of eBay.” There you have it. Dukkhagirl is, in fact, the ACTUAL goddess of eBay! It is known!

However, I will contribute a few thoughts and tips from what I remember from my days of sewing these.

A few thoughts on sewing a zafu:

  1. Put a Handle on It! Some of my zafus had a somewhat unseemly-looking side seam, so I started covering it up by making a handle. I would take a strip of cloth slightly longer than the cushion would be tall, and perhaps 4″ wide or so, and sew a tube out of it. Then, using the decorative stitching on my sewing machine, I would fashion a carrying strap. This cosmetic device turned out to be extremely handy and thought I had invented something new: The “Zafu to Go,” I called it. But, years later, I bought a Hugger Mugger zafu and found, to my surprise, that it had a strap on the side just like the one I had “invented.”
  2. Why did I stop sewing them? For a few reasons. First, buying the filling and the fabric, plus the time involved in making them sometimes ended up being more expensive than just purchasing a Zafu. Now, it’s easy to find one Amazon, or if you want to support a smaller business, you can buy them from places like Carolina Morning.
  3. What to use for fabric? I think the best thing to use is canvas duck cloth. It’s thick and durable and is most often what you’ll find in commercially manufactured zafus. But make sure you have a heavy-duty sewing machine needle!
  4. The filling? When you’re sitting your butt on a cushion, you want it supporting you. It should be hard and firm. If you sink into it, you’ll end up with your spine slumping (which I usually do, anyway.) Kapok is the filling of choice for many zafus. I had a nearby grocery whose bulk food section sold buckwheat hulls, and I’d just go there and buy a bunch of them. Buckwheat hulls give you a nice, firm cushion, but be careful: if your zafu springs a hole, you have a mess on your hands! I started trying to make an inner pillow for my zafus, finally, to solve this issue. I would not, as the pattern here suggests, stuff your zafu with polyester fiberfill. It tends to get squished down over time.

Here’s the Meditation Cushion Pattern:

Download the Meditation Cushion Pattern as a PDF

I added the meditation cushion pattern here as a PDF if you’d like to download it.

This is a stock photo of meditation cushions; not mine! These are lovely if you want a purely decorative cushion, but if you want to actually sit on it, don’t sew knobbies onto yours. Ouch! My butt hurts just thinking of sitting on these over time. But I do approve of the handle!

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