Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Cushy Number

Maybe it's because Pillow Talk Swap (of which I'm not a member) has started another round and some of my flickr contacts are posting pictures of inspiration mosaics of yummy pillows and the fabrics and threads they are pulling for their partners. But lately I can't stop thinking about how I 'need' some new pillow covers.

Over the space of about 6 or 7 years I completely refurbished my home. Most of it is quite neutral. The plan being I could add style touches with soft furnishings and other bits and pieces. I had this idea in my head I'd ring the changes seasonally so the colour scheme would change giving the room a whole new look. The reality is years after my sitting room was finished I still need to get pictures hung. I could still do with a nice rug on the floor and most of all I could really...really use some new cushions. I am about to change my sofa covers; I had the foresight to buy two sets of slip covers for my sofa one in cream and one in dark red. When one set is in the wash I can change over the colour and I like it when Autumn/Winter coincides with the red. So with that in mind I thought it would be fun to at last tackle the sofa situation. And if you're in any doubt about how bland my sofa looks you just need to look at this shameful picture:

I did warn you it was shameful

I've really been enjoying the Celebrate Colour feature over on the Stitched in Colour Blog.  Autumn is certainly a fabulous season as far as colour goes.  Sunday between the rain and seriously blustery showers I managed a short walk through the grounds of my old school. In about 100 yards I found so much gorgeous colour inspiration (I'm planning on doing a Wordless Wednesday post about this tomorrow. But if you can't wait until then check out my flickr set here.)

As soon as I got home I knew I wanted to make a pillow/cushion that captured some of the colours of the berries. I wanted it rich with rust, deep reds, mustard yellows and maybe a pop of deep aqua and or green.  I remembered that I had a bought some Echino from the Fall 2010 collection - the Cheetah print which had all the right colours. I thought I was going to have to go online for a suitable backing but couldn't find anything - where do you all go for home decor weight fabrics - particularly solids?  Anyway, I slept on it and yesterday when I got home from work I hit upon an idea which resulted in this:


I had a fat quarter of the Echino print and it felt slightly thinner than I wanted. So I cut some medium weight sew in interfacing and attached it to the Echino by zig zagging the edges together.  I didn't want to leave raw interfacing on the inside of the cover, so I lined the Echino side with some stripey sheeting left over from the time I decided to make myself a duvet cover (yes, I really did that once!)

In order to get a pillow form, when I've made cushions as presents for people, I've often bought a cheap cushion at the supermarket and harvested the pillow form, discarding the boring exterior slip cover.  The last one I harvested had a dark stone coloured cover and I've been using it under an old beach towel for ironing little projects when I can't be bothered to get the ironing board out.  The slip cover was larger than I wanted and it had a plastic zip that I couldn't see lasting. So I decided to unpick the seams - throw away the zipper and harvest the fabric to make a new back. 

The plain fabric backing was still a little dull so once I'd added a zipper (One I had to hand from stocking up to make box shaped pouches) I decided to add a skinny strip left over from trimming down my fat quarter for the front.


Having used the fancy stitch in a mug rug recently I decided to use it again to edge one side of strip to add a little extra detail. It was then I realised this 'fancy' stitch is actually an over locking stitch. Duh! How long have I had this machine - how many times have I used zig zag to stop edges fraying when all the time I had this stitch???!!!

Co-incidentally it was then I noticed how prone to fraying my backing material was so I used this stitch around the edges to keep everything in check.

Once I'd join the back to the front I was done. Only I wanted the cushion to look quite puffy and full and stuffing it with a slightly larger pillow form meant that for now at least the flap concealing the zip was pulling out of shape.  I raided my button tin and found two large orange vintage plastic buttons. Never thought I'd have a use for these to be honest.  I grabbed some orange ribbon that some fabric had come wrapped in and made two decorative ties.



And you know the best thing about this new pillow/cushion? Everything came from my stash. No shopping required.

Please pop along to Celebrate Colour and see what else is being made!

Celebrate Color

More pillow loveliness here: BWS tips button


  1. Woo-hoo! I LOOOOOVE new cushion covers and that's a wee beauty! Those orange buttons should teach you to never throw any notion away - it's amazing what comes in handy! And, really woman, you need to get yourself sorted out with the pretties!! I've just taken all the green (throws, cushions and candles)out of my living room and gone for red. There's been a bit of manic sewing going on today! It's really refreshing to get a wee change, you know you'll love it!! You. Finger. Out. *g*

  2. It's a beauty and so great that it all came from your stash! Have you got plans for more?!

  3. Gorgeous cushion Jan, that will certainly add a lovely splash of colour. Jxo

  4. That's a smashing cushion, and the back looks like a big friendly face!!

  5. pretty pretty pretty! I love it! The fabrics are great and would completely brighten up a neutral room. The colors and prints make me smile. Beautiful!

  6. I love the cushion and envy your ambition to change your rooms seasonally. I'd be happy if I could change my rooms every ten years. So want some new furniture!!

  7. Love this cushion! The Echino is perfect and I like how how did the back too!

  8. Pretty, and like the button closures

  9. I love your cushion! I bought two new cushion pads from dunelm at the weekend: I always think you can never have too many home made cushions!
    And thanks for the amazing observation re the overlocking stich: I also had no idea - I have just been to look at my machine and I have the same stich! So now I know what to use it for!!

  10. Wow, very pretty! I also love the Echino fabric. Just ordered some at www.mondaysmilk.nl (on sale!)

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  12. You have been round to my house and swiped a cushion!!!!!! You are right Ava is a rubbish guard dog!
    Just kidding :) You cushion is beautiful! That Kokka fabric is great for cushions isn't it?

  13. Oh, this one is so lovely: The color choices, the choice of prints (dots and cute animals, which you have positioned so pleasing) - I'm very excited you linked it to my pillow talk, it's a great entry! Thank you

  14. beautiful cushion! Nice detailing too!

  15. Love the cushion, I'm planning a complete square patchwork lap quilt for my mums birthday, love the patchworkness of this & the colours really work :)

  16. Congrats on a great little update to your room. It always feels so great when a project is 100% from stash. Well done!

  17. I LOVE colorful pillows! You are making me want to make more!

  18. Congratulations Jan, you won at Farbstoff's Pillow Talk! Send me your mail address so I can send you your PRIZE, yeah!


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