Anyone who knows me will know that I have a rather large soft spot for soft furnishings. Or for making them anyway. This applies mostly to cushions. I’ve had all weekend to myself so I decided to get a bit creative and make a couple more for the ever-expanding collection. At least our house is comfy.
I was looking through October’s edition of Style at Home magazine and noticed a bit of a trend for fox-print. So, being me, I went straight to Pinterest and searched for felt foxes to see if I could make one of my own. Turns out it’s fairly easy! I didn’t use a pattern (freehand is best) and just used the foxiest coloured felts I could find in my craft box.
I gave the foxes little sequins for eyes and noses and then stitched them onto some flowery cotton fabric (the same fabric that’s the basis for all my other cushions, so it matches nicely). I even cut the material into slits at the corners and down one side and knotted them to give the cushion a bit more texture… not sure if this was a wise decision however, as there are now bits of cream cotton all over the sofa and the carpet.
Another ‘winter 2012′ cushion craze I’ve spotted is that of cushions that look like woolly cardigans. Well, I have no shortage of woolly cardigans so we can all see where this one is going. I recently bought myself a new blue cardigan to replace one that’s going raggy, so I chopped the sleeves off the old one, machine-sewed the holes together and then sewed the top and bottom openings closed too. I slipped the cushion pad inside (actually an old pillow I’d cut in half, the other half which I used earlier in the fox cushion) and did up the buttons. Easy!
Since the world is fascinated with Tweeting, and since purchasing a rather large sheet of Bondaweb (iron-on backing), I’ve decided that applique and birds are the way forward. They may not have anything to do with Trending Topics, but this flock of applique birds are more than trendy, no?
The cushion I’ve made here is the most basic pattern out of my Cath Kidston Sew! book, which takes about 5 minutes to cut out and sew together. Rather than leave the main panel plain or in patterned fabric, as I have done previously here, I decided to cover the front in little floral birds – a trend that seems to be making an appearance on everything and everywhere in the worlds of fashion and jewellery.
I made an applique bird cushion once before and gave it to my friend for her birthday – you can see it here. That time I hand-stitched the detail, rather than using bondaweb.
For this new cushion, I cut out the same bird template 6 times in different – yet matching – fabrics, and then repeated this for the wings. The idea is that it looks eclectic and random, but all the colours tie in together and don’t look out of place. To jazz it up a bit more I stitched buttons from the same colour palette onto the wing of each bird. The main cushion is made up of floral back panels, pink stripe fabric down the sides and a plain cream for the front panel.
As much as I love the cushion, I can’t help but think that it needs yet more detailing. Perhaps a bit of hand-stitching will do the trick – maybe to gift the birds with the power of sight!
Surely there’s nothing better than seeing a lion-shaped purse with a zip for its mouth?No, I thought not. Presented to you by the June 2011 edition of Sew Hip magazine, this little feline was an absolute treat to sink my own (zip-free) teeth into.
The lion’s face is made up of a circular, interfacing-backed piece of ‘lion-coloured’ material, complete with contrasting snout and felt eyes and nose, which I attached using iron-on bondaweb. Easy. I then folded a long strip of contrasting, lion-coloured material in half and created little gathers in it for the mane. I made the ears, sandwiched all the layers together and sewed all the way around the edges to create the end result.
The zip mouth was slightly trickier to pull off. A rectangular hole was cut in the main fabric, the zip was placed behind and then stitched in place. I used a contrasting colour to make it stand out (and also because I didn’t have a short white zip!). In the pattern, the face is sewn onto a back piece to create a purse with the mouth-zip as the opening. Instead I stitched my design onto a blank pencil case using the same pattern I used previously, which I think looks just as cute!
Overall a roaring success. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.
Today is my day off. I have at least a million other things I should be doing (writing about Disney and job hunting spring to mind) but it’s been so long since I did some good and proper sewing… I decided I’d begin a new project. And here it is: an applique pencil case. At first glance it’s possibly one of the most professional looking things I’ve ever made (except perhaps my Union Jack cushion or even the oven gloves I whipped up for my sister).
The pattern I used came from Sew Hip! magazine (Nov 2010, issue 22) and was super easy to follow – 2 rectangular lining pieces, 2 linen pieces, 1 zip and 3 applique pencils. I used bondaweb (for the first time) to do the applique and was surprised by how easy it was! It saves a lot of time being able to literally glue the pieces of fabric together. Saying that, I then went over each picture with several rows of straight stitch to give the pencils that ‘drawn myself’ look.
I used a mixture of pink and floral material for both the lining and the applique to give it that country-cottage feel. The overall result is quite impressive, even if I do say so myself. Oh and if your birthday’s coming up soon then consider yourself very lucky…
Check out my other applique attempts – including birds and flowers – here!
Here is the latest addition to the mountain of cushions currently breaking it’s way through the surface crust of my bedroom and out into the open.
This time I decided to have a go at applique. I used a flower pattern from trusty Cath Kidston’s book, and cut out three in two contrasting, retro-orange florals fabrics. Bright orange colours are a spring/summer 2011 must have, and I think I’ve almost hit the fashion-nails into the soles of the fashion-wedges with this one.
I used my sewing machine to stitch around the edges of the flowers onto the plain cream backing. I chose a contrasting pink colour so that the row of stitches would stand out, and make the cushion look even more home made. I didn’t put any hems around the edges as I quite like the ’vintage’ frayed look. I then hand-stitched a load of contrasting coloured buttons onto the centre flower just to add a bit more to that eclectic look I was striving for.
The back of the cushion uses the same fabrics as that of the applique flowers. I think the contrasting panels works quite well. This cushion wouldn’t look out of place in a retro fashion store (or indeed my grandma’s living room).
This, my friends, is my new sewing machine. My parents bought me it for Christmas, but because I’ve been so busy I’ve only just managed to plug it in this weekend! I know, I don’t call myself much of a hardcore seamstress either. It’s a Toyota 15JSPB Sewing Machine and runs like an absolute DREAM. It has one of those satisfying hums that makes it sound like the job is getting done properly (and not one of those clunky rattles that my mum’s old sewing machine has).
Obviously I couldn’t just unpack it and do nothing… so I whipped out another gift I received for my birthday (a lovely book of small sewing projects, to be reviewed later). I picked a simple pattern for a little pencil case/ make up bag. It took me about 10minutes to put together. This new sewing machine is BRILLIANT. It even has a zip. Still not satsified with the result however, I then decided to attach an applique motif – comprising of some cross stitch I’d done previously and some pink cotton that I used for the back of the pencil case. The finished product is now on it’s way to my friend in Scotland for her birthday. Let’s hope she doesn’t get to this blog before the post arrives!
Sometime I surprise myself by how amazingly creative I actually am. This is one of those moments. I was in Debenhams with my mum earlier on today, and spotted loads of colourful Union Jack cushions, ranging in price from about £25 to £65. Surely I could make something similar without such a hefty price tag?
Once home I rummaged through Grandma’s Box of Donated Material Scraps and picked out a few florals, pinks and blues that went together nicely. I mostly (make that entirely) improvised on the Union Jack pattern – I simply cut lots of long pieces of fabric, pressed the edges, and then did a long running stitch down the middle to attach them to the background floral material. On the blue pieces running vertically/horizontally I used a zig-zag stitch to make the cushion look even more exotic, and then added a strip of purple ribbon in each direction.
The back of the cushion is a plain, baby pink cotton, and the pattern comes from my Cath Kidston Sew! book which I adapted slightly for my own design. I think it took me about 3.5 hours altogether. Let the bidding commence!
Last week it was one of my closest friend’s 22nd birthday. I’ve known her since I was about 4 years old, and so decided that she deserved something created with my new found sewing skills. I picked a different cushion pattern out of the Cath Kidston book this time – a rectangular cushion with a contrasting front panel and little applique birds. I wish I realised how time consuming this would be, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have started the project only a handful of days before her actual birthday.
I had to hand sew each of the applique birds, which took about 6 hours in total. The pieces of material are so tiny, and each of the wings needs stuffing with the most miniscule amount of polyester toy filling. Once that’s done, the edges need to be pressed under and the birds need to be hand stitched onto the cushion’s front panel. This took about 1 hour per bird. My fingers were protesting with exhaustion at this point, but I convinced myself that my friend’s gratitude was worth the pain.
Et voila – le produit final! Once the pesky little birds were stitched to the front panel, assembling the rest of the cushion on the machine proved to be no problem. The finished product looks quite chirpy and very cute. I’d love to make one for myself but I’m not sure I have enough patience.
Perhaps this is a project for more experienced fingers.