Friday, 7 January 2011

Christmas gifts - cushions

Most of November & December were spent making Christmas gifts, and now that they’ve all gone to new homes I can write about them on here.

Firstly, my mum gave me the remnant of the fabric used to cover some of her chairs and asked me to make her some cushions with it. The fabric’s a large weave in blue and beige (way prettier than that sounds). I decided that the best style to suit my mum’s tastes in decorating was understated and stylish. I decided to create two 40cm square cushions with blue piping round the edge and fairly discrete zippers.

I’ve not made a cushion cover since school – one of the first things we made in textiles – so my first port of call was the Reader’s Digest sewing guide. It confirmed the approach I was considering and showed me the best way to make and insert piping (which amazingly I’ve never tried before).

I took a little sample of fabric to my local fabric shop but couldn’t find the right colour bias binding to make the piping. I could have bought some fabric and made my own, but when you see how much I made for Christmas you’ll understand that I had to cut some corners. I was looking around the shop when I found pre-made piping!!! I didn’t even know that existed! The colour was almost perfect and it was only 55p a metre!!! I bought zips in the beige rather than the blue as that helped them blend into the background.

My cushions were from Dunelm Mill – 38cm square. The Readers Digest book suggested cutting that size plus seam allowance, but that made me nervous – I didn’t have spare fabric so couldn’t cut too small. I decided to add 4cm for seam allowances and do a 1cm seam. I’ll say straight out that this worked perfectly for me.

So, I cut 4 42cm squares. Due to the weave (and wanting things to be perfect for my mum) I cleaned up two edges, cutting along the weave of the fabric first. Then I measured along and cut the squares using the weave again. I then manipulated the fabric (iron and steam) into a square. I did this as the fabric had been sitting around for a while and had got a bit wibbly.

I used the large weave to line up the piping around the edge of two of the squares and stitched it on. Then I set the zip onto one edge of each square, making two long pieces each with a zip in the middle and one end with piping on. I wanted the zip to form part of the back of the cover rather than sticking out so I folded them along the piping line and pinned them together (inside out). I stitched the three remaining sides including stitching over the zips and trimmed the excess. Obviously I left the zips open, ironed the seams, turned them the right way around and popped the cushions in.

Here they are. I’m rather proud of them...

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