Friday, 29 May 2015

How to transform a cushion

Would anyone think that I was exaggerating if I said that this cushion must be one of the ugliest in the world?

To be fair, it isn't new and it isn't a nice colour - really insipid lemon jaundice but not in a nice first-blossom-of-spring way. In a word it is blech!
So why not throw it away I hear you shouting. Well a couple of reasons spring to mind. 
It is not actually ready for that yet and it flies in the face of crafting at its essence to toss something just because it wouldn't win a beauty contest. Another reason is that it is my Mum's favourite chair cushion. 
So let me show you what can happen to something which isn't so nice when we add pretty fabric.....ta dah........

Hardly the same ugly duckling now! Everyone has a little something in the home that could do with a makeover and it makes us feel very virtuous when we do something like this. So, what do we need?

3 co-ordinating  fat quarters of pretty fabric
1 fat quarter of thin wadding
1 fat quarter of fabric for the back
your cushion insert. Mine measures 40cm square which is pretty standard.

your usual sewing needs

This is a machine quilted make but you don't need a walking foot because we will only be using two layers of fabric.

Start with the half square triangles (HSTs). You will need to take the first two fabrics and cut 32 HSTs. To make a half square triangle, cut a square. In this case, the square measures 8.5cm x 8.5cm. 

Now cut it in half diagonally....

That's all there is to it. Seriously. To achieve a pattern, you will need a second triangle (different fabric) and you join it to the first like this....

The pattern on this project is called a chevron pattern and it is made up from the two sorts of HST.  To make the chevron pattern, they will be sewn together like this....

Sew them up to make a block. Mine measures 24.5cm x 24.5cm which will allow a little for the sashes on the side. To construct your block begin by sewing the HSTs together to form a square and ironing them flat

Then sew two of the squares together, keeping an eye on the pattern.

Now sew two of these rectangles together to form the row.

Then sew two rows together...

Finally, sew the four rows up so that you have the block. Iron it and you should have something which looks like this....

Getting pretty but not big enough for the cushion yet so let's add some red sashes. Cut the sashes 6cm wide and don't measure the length. This will be trimmed off. Just make sure that your 6cm wide strips are long enough to do the job.
Sew two sashes top two opposite sides...

And then on the top and bottom. Now cut four more 6cm wide sashes but this time use the floral fabric that you used in the middle. Once again, don't worry about the length. Trim the excess.

Iron the cushion top now and lay it onto the wadding. pin so that it cannot move. The wadding is slightly larger than the panel but it has to be because fabric moves as you work. Again, trim the excess afterwards.
Quilt by top stitching next to each seam (about 1/2 cm away from the seam)

This will really make the layers behave! When you are done, the quilting looks like this...

It stabilises everything beautifully. Trim the excess wadding away now and place the completed top right sides together onto an untrimmed piece of backing fabric. Sew all the way around the outside leaving a gap for turning out and putting the cushion insert in. 
Slip stitch the opening closed once you have done this. And finally - she says with a flourish- here it is again...

A new lease of life and ready for the summer! It is now the sort of cushion that can accompany you into the garden with a good book or on a car journey or anywhere else that you might need a cushion!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Now go and have a rummage. Everyone has a cushion which could do with a makeover!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx