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Tutorial: Our Josephine Sews… A Button Up Cushion

Button Back Cushion

I am always astounded by the power of the automatic buttonhole feature on my sewing machine. If you get the settings right, you can make use of the delightful treasures from your button tin with a minimum of fuss.

When I first laid eyes on the Townhouses print from Cath Kidston I knew I needed to feature it somewhere in my home; and my daughter’s nursery offered the perfect solution. Unfortunately you can’t pick it up online anymore, but I bet there’s some lurking in their outlet stores. The buttons I used are vintage ones from my stash – they are rather glorious. The cushion pad shown is approximately 58 x 40, but this tutorial works for any size: you just need to adjust the measurements. For a nice plump cushion cut your front fabric to the same size as the pad, and work with a 1cm seam allowance to help keep your calculations simple. I’ve put my measurements in brackets in case you happen to have a cushion pad the exact same size; I work in centimetres.

You will need:

  • Cushion Pad
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Buttons and button hole foot
  • General sewing paraphernalia

To make it:

1. Cut your front piece of fabric, this should measure the same size as your cushion pad. (58 x 40)

2. Cut your back piece to the same height but add 12cm to the width, this will give you space to create your button placket. ( 70 x 40)

3. Decide where you want your cushion to overlap and cut your back pieces accordingly ( 50 x 40 and 20 x 40)

4. To make your button plackets: turn over your widest back piece by 1 cm, press and then again by 4cm and press again. Stitch close to the seam. Turn over your narrowest back piece by 1cm, press and then again by 2.5cm and press again. Stitch close to the seam. HC Sew close to the seam edge

5. Work out where you want your buttons to go, mark on the narrowest piece where the holes should be made. If you’re not sure how to use the buttonhole feature on your machine, now is the time to consult the manual. If you have no idea where this is, the magic of the internet should help you.

6. Test the buttonhole is working before sewing into the real thing. If it is playing up, check all the settings – trust me here, you do not want to have to unpick a badly sewn buttonhole! When you’re confident it is all going swimmingly, sew your buttonholes. HC Sew Buttonholes

7. Now you can assemble your cushion. Place the front piece on the table right side facing you. Then put the widest back piece on top, right side facing down and then finally the narrow piece with your buttonholes in. Make sure all your corners line up, pin and then stitch all the way around. Clip your corners and turn it out, ideally use a bamboo point turner to ease out your corners.

8. Mark where your buttons need to go and stitch them in place. Insert your cushion pad, do up the buttons and admire.

Vintage Button Detail

 


Tutorial: Our Josephine Sews… A Piped Envelope Back Cushion

Piped Cushion Corner

This Cath Kidston train print never fails to bring me joy, and with the added allure of red dotty piping this cushion cover is a winner. If you’ve never attempted to make a piped cushion then this is a good start as there is no zip to contend with.

The cushion pad shown is approximately 35 x 35 but this tutorial works for any size, you just need to adjust the measurements. For a nice plump cushion cut your front fabric to just 1cm wider in width and height, this is to allow for the piping. Work with a 1cm seam allowance to help keep your calculations simple. I’ve put my measurements in brackets in case you happen to have a cushion pad the exact same size; I work in centimetres.

You will need:

  • Cushion Pad
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Unfolded Bias Tape – 4 x the circumference of the cushion plus 5cm
  • 5mm Piping Cord- 4 x the circumference of the cushion
  • Zip foot (or piping foot if you have one)
  • General Sewing Paraphernalia

To make it:

1. Cut your front piece of fabric, this should measure 1cm more in width and height than your cushion pad (36 x 36).

2. Cut your back piece to the same width but add another third to the height, this will give you space to create your button placket (36 x 48).

3. Cut the back piece in two equal pieces, turn and press the short edges by 1cm twice and then stitch.

4. Prepare your bias tape by wrapping it around the piping cord and pinning as you go. Using your zip or piping foot, stitch as close to the cord as you can leaving 2.5cm open and without cord at either end.

Unfolded Bias Tape and Piping Cord
Sew Bias Tape

5. Take your top fabric and draw a curve on one of the corners using a glass, cup, roll of tape – whatever you have that is round. Cut the curve out and use that as a template for the other three corners. Do the same for the back pieces (just the top of one and the bottom of the other) to mirror the front piece.

Use a glass to round corners

6. Place the top fabric on a flat surface with right side up, pin your wrapped cord around it with the flat edge flush with the outer raw edge. In order to finish the piping neatly you should have an excess of bias tape and should start  and finish stitching (still with the zip foot) 5cm from each end keeping as close to the cord as possible.

Pin and Sew Bias Binding

7. To close finish the piping neatly, make the end points of the cord meet. Overlap your bias tape around them by at least 1cm. Pin and sew in place once again keeping close to the cord. I never worry about the raw edges.

Sew overlap bias

8. Now to assemble the cover. Place your piped piece onto a flat surface, right side up. Take your first back piece and place right side down on top, then do the same with the second piece. Pin all the way around and stitch, still with the zip foot and keeping as close to the piping as possible. Notch your curves and turn right sides out, press for a nice finish.

Notch corners

9. Pop in your cushion pad and admire your new piping skills.

Cushion Trio


My Makes: The Door Hanger Do-Over

Have you ever finished making something, looked at it and straightaway decided that you could have done better? This happened to me recently when I set to work on some hanging pockets intended to create some handy additional storage.

I’d spent a whole morning sewing, so pleased to be getting on with a project from my to-do list. I gave it a final press, proudly hung it in place, then realised that even though it looked splendid, I’d neglected to line the pockets making it a bit floppy and only half as useful as I anticipated it would be. I might have said aloud “oh, it will be alright”, but what I really felt was a huge sense of disappointment – those few precious hours of stitching not bearing the results I wanted.  It hung there for a while, until the other morning when my thoughts turned to the possibility of a do-over – I couldn’t resist.

When I was finding my way around dressmaking last year, there was a whole parade of do-overs, but these changes were wrapped up the sewist’s best tool – the toile and it felt ok to remodel until I was completely happy. The number of times I shifted darts, moved waistlines and pondered sleeve options were innumerable, so why when it comes to interiors projects should it be any different?

With that in mind, I gave myself the opportunity to try again and slowly unpicked my less than handy work. I lined the pockets and even slightly changed the construction to make it more sturdy; and now I have a functional, hanging tidy, ready to filled with baby essentials when the time comes. Although I’d rather get it right first time, there is no harm in a do-over, now what else can I rework?