You too could make one of these!
Remember I recently brought you up-to-date on the activities of my local sewing club? My friend’s mum came to show us all how to make a patchwork cushion. We didn’t quite achieve Finished Objects by the end of the evening, but we were waved off with supplies and handy hints. So today I decided to finish what I’d started. At the same time, I thought I’d give you a handy tutorial. You’ll need:
- a 50x50cm cushion
- Scraps of fabric
- An old buttoned blouse (yes, intriguing!)
1. Cut nine 12x12cm squares. (All measurements below include a 1cm seam allowance on each edge.) Choose your fabrics with gay abandon. Ours were culled from charity shops, cheap table cloths and scraps lying around.
2. Sew your nine squares in three strips of three squares. Press your seams. Don’t press them open; press them to the left or right.
3. Sew your three strips together to make a large square of nine smaller squares. Remember that no quilt can or should be perfect. Your mistakes will let you know your make is unique so don’t worry too much about matching everything up perfectly.
4. Cut four strips of fabric that are 7x42cm oblongs. Sew these strips around the border of your patchwork.
5. Cut four more strips that are 7x52cm oblongs. Sew these strips around the border of your patchwork.
Well done, you’ve made the face of your cushion cover!
Now for the intriguing part, a secret of quilting supplied by my friend’s mum. If you don’t have time, inclination or ability to make your own buttoned back cushion cover, pull out that old blouse or shirt that you’ve had hanging around. I remembered an old Liberty blouse bought from a charity shop and languishing in a drawer. Minutes later, I’d hacked it to pieces:
Take the buttoned-up front of the blouse and rescue as much of it as you can to make a square. Mine wasn’t quite deep enough so I then cut two 12x52cm oblongs from the back of the blouse and attached them to each end:
A buttoned cushion cover is starting to emerge.
Basically, you want to end up with a square of the right dimensions to match your front cushion cover. You don’t need to over-think this. A keen eye and a tape measure will get you to where you need to be. You’ll need two squares that, once sewn together, will fit snugly around a 50x50cm cushion.
Before you sew together both pieces, think about your details. I rescued the ‘Liberty’ label from my blouse and attached it to the front cushion for a quirky detail:
If, like me, you have a machine that can embroider letters, you might want to add some ironic labelling, just in case you forget what you’re sitting on later:
I’m forgetful, okay.
Now, simply pin your two squares, right sides together, and start sewing. As you can see, accuracy is not as essential here as it is in dressmaking!
Turn your cushion cover inside out, press, insert the cushion and do up those lovely buttons:
No pain, lots of gain.
That’s it. No agonising over button hole placements, no careful splitting of a button hole with a seam ripper. Just you, some scraps of fabric and an old blouse. Now you just need to find a good location for an afternoon nap.
Many thanks to my neighbour and her mum for sharing this project with me. Isn’t it inspired?