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hoveton hall estate

I like to recycle.  I have just taken up some very large curtains up at the Hall and decided to use the offcuts to make some cushions, and add the Estate Logo as a decoration.  Now when I started to make cushions I was scared of zippers, so I used to hand sew them closed.  

Later on I did learn to fit zippers, but sometimes it is hard to get the right colour zipper, or I don't want to wait to buy one, so I like to make 'Envelope Style' covers as they don't need one at all!. This is the back of my first "Embroidered Memories" cushion, showing the overlapped back.

How I make mine...

I am using 16" x 16" cushion pads, so I cut my front panel that size.  You may have to play at the layout if you use a directional print, or need to match up or centre a pattern.  The two back panels need to be 4" - 5" narrower than the front, to allow a good but manageable overlap, so I cut mine 16" x 12".  

As I have an overlocker (serger) I generally neaten the edges with that, but some sewing machines have an Overlock Stitch or you can use a zig-zag, either will prevent fraying, or try some of these suggestions from sewabaloo!

Next I like to add my decoration to the front panel; applique, embroidery or both.  If the fabric is a litlle thin or limp I usually add some fusible woven interfacing (Vilene G700 or Pellon SF101) to the back to give it more support.  I'm using some scraps of plaid for a 'country' look for the stag's head.  Once done give it a good press.

The back panels need to have their overlapping edges neatened.  Turn 1/2" to the wrong side and press, then repeat.  I tuck my thread tails inside the hem.  If you are using a directional print you need to make sure your panels are up the right way at this stage!  

To ensure I catch the edge whilst sewing from the right side, I flip it over and line the hem edge up with the edge of my presser foot, then move my needle to the left until it will just catch the hem.  In the picture the black line is the normal central position, I moved my needle left to position 1.0 on my machine.  Once set, remove the panel and turn it to the right side, again lining the edge up with the side of the presser foot. 

On this fabric I lengthened my stitch to 3.0 to topstitch.  Start to sew, then backstitch a couple of stitches to fix it, holding the thread tails to the back of the machine so they don't get pulled into the works.  Then hold the panel at the top and bottom, keeping it taut to prevent any puckering, and stitch to the end, keeping the edge lined up with the side of my presser foot all the while . Backstitch again at the end, then turn it over and admire the neat hem!  Press.

Pin the back panels to the front, right sides together, matching the overlocked edges.  These edges have to meet exactly so if they don't I generally run them through the overlocker so they do!  Then you can sew a 3/8" seam all round, lining up the edge of the fabric with the edge of the presser foot again.  Backstitch at the beginning and stop just before each corner (about 2 stitches before) with the needle down.  I have marked the corner with my frixion pen to show what you need to do next.

Pivot and take 2 diagonal stitches across the corner, then pivot again, check you are back at a 3/8" seam, and carry on.   If not pivot back to the diagonal stitches and add more stitches until you are!  This helps the corners turn out nicely. Backstitch at the end. Check your seam line is below the overlocking stitches or they will show!  Press.  

You may want to reinforce the stitching on the sides where the panels overlap as they take the strain when you push the pad inside.  Turn right side out and use a blunt point to push the corners out.  Press.  I like to press the seams open as far as possible, then press the cover to remove the creases I made doing that.  Insert your cushion pad into the top half, then down into the bottom half.  Push and smooth the pad into the corners. Done.  

No, I don't trim the corners, it would break the overlocking.  If your corners are too bulky, try wrapping them!  This is a technique I read about in "Ready Set Serge" by Georgie Melot;

1. Fold or press the serged seam allowance to one side, along the needle line.  

2. With the previous seam allowance folded under, stitch or serge the perpendicular edge, enclosing the first seam allowance in the second seam.

3. Repeat for the other three corners. 

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