Make It: Quilted Cushion

Earlier this year I heard about the Secret Valentine’s Exchange organised by Sanae Ishida and Ute and decided to join in because it sounded fun to make a present for a stranger. Of course once I received my name (Sarah of Northfield Primitives) I was terrified that I would make something that she didn’t like. Everyone who signed up had to fill in a questionnaire of tastes, favourite colours and things, and social media handles and online presence to do a bit of good old-fashioned online stalking! One of the ideas is to use things mostly from your stash too, so I dug through my stash to find fabrics I thought she would like.

Sara listed her favourite colours as blue, mustard yellow, earthy browns and reds, and said she likes old and vintage fabrics, bits of old patchwork and lace. Luckily her colour palette is similar to the colours I like. Since she said she liked patchwork, I thought I’d make a patchwork/quilted cushion cover. I sketched some ideas, working on 6×6 squares, halved into triangles.

I settled on the version on the left and coloured it in to work out which fabrics would go where.

Half the fabrics needed 4 triangles and half needed 8, to make it symmetrical. I then made a key of which fabric matched with which colour on my picture. The corner of the paper is missing because this was my pattern piece for the triangles. I drew a 6cm x 6cm square, then drew a diagonal line down the middle. I then added 1cm to each edge for seam allowance. The total size (36cm x 36cm) was based on a cushion pad I already had in my stash.

I then sewed the triangles into squares. Because it’s symmetrical in all 4 corners, there weren’t that many different combinations in the squares.

I then sewed the squared into strips, making sure each square was facing the right way according to my plan. This hurt my brain a little at various points! Having all the strips made meant I could lay it out to look what it was going to look like. At this point I wasn’t sure it was going to work as I felt some of the fabrics didn’t look great together.

As with so many of my non-clothes makes, I used calico for the back of the cushion and also as the backing for the patchwork/quilting bit. I bought some wadding from my local shop (which was the only thing I bought for this make) and sandwiched 2 layers between the calico (which I had cut down to 38cm x 38cm (with 1cm seam allowance) and the patchwork. I kind of made up the stitching lines and used white thread as I couldn’t decide what other colour would go with so many different colours of fabric. In the end the stitching was pretty much all in the seam lines so it wasn’t too obvious on the front.

Here is the quilting pattern I used (from the back of the front of the cushion):

And here’s the finished cushion!

I didn’t use a zip or anything, I just left a gap to get the pad in and hand stitched it closed. I wonder if I could have added another one or 2 layers of wadding to make the cushion more puffy, but it looks okay. I sent a little package of some fat quarters and other bits and pieces which I thought Sarah would like. I was definitely relieved when she said she liked it!

Did you join in with the Secret Valentine’s Exchange? Or another secret gift exchange? Did you find it nerve-wracking to make something for someone you don’t know?!

2 More Grainline Scout Tees

So, immediately after making my first Grainline Scout Tee, I cut out 2 more. As i blogged about aaaaages ago, for my birthday last year (and to tell you how long I’ve had this sitting around, it’s my birthday again in 3 weeks!) my friend gave me some lovely fabric, in fat quarters (I think). It seemed a shame and unimaginative to make them into cushions, so I sat on the pieces until inspiration hit me. And hit me it did in the shape of more Grainline Scout Tees!

Because the pieces of fabric were obviously too small to make a whole t-shirt from, I decided to get some plain fabric for each one to use for the back, the sleeves, a strip at the bottom of the front to make it longer, and the binding around the neck. I made the same change as the first one (a slightly bigger side seam, sewn with a french seam). The plain fabrics I bought were quite different – one is quite thin and the other really thick and both have a slight stretch. I was mainly thinking about matching the colours so didn’t really think about the kind of fabric I was buying, oops! But with changing the tension on my machine for the thin one, I had no problems making either tee and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out!

This cream is the thin one, it’s actually slightly see-through in some lights but in these photos it looks okay!

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A spotty top with a spotty background!

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Look at the neat binding on the neck! (Can you tell I’m pleased?!). I sewed the binding on the back then folded it over to the front (i.e. backwards to how it is in the instructions). It means the inside isn’t quite as neat as in my first version, but it was the only way I could think of making the binding visible instead of on the inside.

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I have to say I prefer the green one, but the sleeves bunch a bit under cardigans because the fabric is so thick. But I loved this flower fat quarter the most of the three my friend gave me, so I’m glad I’ve made it into something that will mean I (and lots of other people) get to see it often.

I suspect these won’t be my last Grainline Scout Tees! Especially after seeing the variations other people have come up with around the blogosphere!