Project by Marie Pickles
My brief was to create an outdoor cushion to relax with in the garden, the fat quarters were fabulous nature colours with a birdcage theme.
Lots of gardens have paving to shape and divert the eye and the visitor to enjoy the beautiful plants and landscapes created, there many types of paving stone including hexagonal ones so taking a sewing and quilting theme from this I choose to use a half hexi template for my main design. You can find many on the internet for download, stick it onto some cardboard or buy as a plastic template. Cut using a rotary cutter, scissors or if you have access to an electronic cutting machine you may use one of those.
I used a plastic template 2.5” by 5” and a rotary cutter. I had 5 fat quarters but any fabric cut could be used even a jelly roll if you have one.
I chopped my fabric into 2.5” strips then sub cut into the 5” hexi shapes. I did have a play for a while deciding what pattern to use, these shapes are so versatile i was playing for quite a while before I finally made up my mind.
I used 2 squares of fairly dense wadding as I wanted a stable backing for my cushion and a 2o” feather cushion inner as its lovely and plump but holds its shape well, the wadding was cut at 24” x 24” to allow for the sewing and quilting and still allow me some fabric to grip as I moved the work around.
I decided to use a different pattern on each side to increase interest.
The first side was made lining hexi’s across the wadding in a horizontal line one up one down and the next line followed by either matching a ‘down’ hexi with a matching hexi and an ‘up’ hexi with a different hexi pattern. The primary stitching sews the short diagonal then each horizontal strip of hexi’s is sewn to the following completed row. By stacking them row on row, you create an overall quilt of full hexagons. It is important to keep an iron ready and press each line you sew and ensure all the seams lie in the same direction.
**This is a critical step when quilting and especially when there are many points all finishing at the same location. Some sewing machines may have difficulty if there are too many layers**
I followed a pattern using a central windmill of matching hexes using triangles to put them together, a row of triangles with a coloured windmill at the centre (Photo 8) was then sewn to the row below keeping the pattern correct by referring to my coloured drawing (photo 7) As before the need to press each team is critically important and the triangles are sewn together with Y seams - this is where 3 shapes all meet at one central point. (Photo 9) the flat seams allow for the triangles to be set together without a large lump of seams distorting the quilt top.
The completed sides are then trimmed and pressed ready for stabilising onto the wadding. I used a zigzag stitch to hold the seams onto the wading and outline the hexi shapes. (Photo 10)
To put the cushion together, I used a ruler, rotary cutter and mat and resized both sides the same. As I was Using a 20” feather inner, I cut the fabrics to 21”. With both right sides facing and using a large stitch size I sewed one side with a 1/2” seam, this was flattened out and lightly pressed in preparation to accommodate a plastic zip. Once the zip was pinned place, I put a small square of fabric over both ends of the zip (Photos 11 & 12) ensuring it would be right side facing. This is to ensure the zipper head did not push right to the edges of the cushion. Having sewn around the zip using a zipper foot, I then unpicked the stitches to open the zip.
With the zip inserted, I reset the stitch size to a neat medium sized stitch, turned the cushion cover inside out and sewed round the remaining 3 open sides. The fabrics were trimmed to slightly more than a 1/4” and then turned through to right side out.
To complete the cushion I top stitched around the 3 closed edges keeping the distance comparable to the distance on the zip placement stitches.
Finally I made big tassels from oddments of wool I had lying around and some cardboard as a 5” template. Tassels were hand sewn using another large darning needle and doubled wool for extra security. They add some colour and pizazz to your outside cushion. You could spray some waterproof coating on the fabric if you wanted to leave it outside (but perhaps not in heavy rain)
Hope you enjoy making your own cushion. Marie x
Made by Marie Pickles for The Craft Cotton Company 2020