Monogram – noun – a motif of two or more interwoven letters : this week Louise made a cushion with a monogram design.
This is a project that I’ve had on the back-burner for a while. I cut the pieces out and pinned the letters in place a long time ago, yet I’ve just never quite got round to finishing it. I know from reading lots of other stitchers’ blogs that this sort of ‘sewer’s block’ isn’t a rare occurrence – but I’m determined not to let it get the better of me. So this week, it was time for the monogrammed cushion to come into its own.
The cushion pattern is just the standard one I always use: three panels on the front and two at the back, sewn together inside out and then turned the right way round.
To make the monogram, I cut out the letters L and C (for myself and my other half) in matching, floral fabric and then carefully pinned and stitched a contrasting ribbon down the centre of each. I also added a ‘shadow’ of white lace to each letter and stitched on some little bunches of heart-shaped buttons. This was all a little bit fiddly – especially trying to keep everything straight and in-line – but I think the finished design is quite effective. What do you think?
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!
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).
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.
Now that I have somewhere safe to store my pins, thanks to the adventurous pin cushion I made previously, I decided to embark upon my first real project. Cushions. These are supposedly the easiest pattern in the book, and once again the book proved to be correct.
The cushions are made up of 2 back pieces and 2 side panels in a crinkled floral cotton, and 1 front panel in a contrasting striped floral cotton. I think the contrast between stripes and flowers makes the cushions look more intricate than they actually are! A good result all round. They look lovely against pine furniture, as in the photo I took in the dining room, and have a lovely country house sentiment to them. Move over Laura Ashley.