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A Cushion to Illuminate Your Room

by Bernadette Wainwright

Create this nautical appliqued cushion to illuminate any room of your home or simply to remind you of days at the seaside.

  • Sewing
  • 5+ hours
  • Advanced

What You Need

You Will Need:

  • ½ Metre x Natural Width of Main Fabric for Your Cushion
  • Scraps of Fabric (from your stash)
  • 20” Zip
  • 18” Cushion Infill
  • Fusible Web/Bonding Agent for the Applique
  • Stitch & Tear Temporary Stabiliser (optional)
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine (with zipper foot and embroidery/darning foot)
  • Either the ScanNCut or Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Before you start your project, gather all your supplies and have a quick read through the instructions just to familiarise yourself with the terminology. Press your fabric with a suitable iron temperature to ensure it is smooth and easy to work with. You would be amazed with the difference in size a few creases can make.

  2. Cut two 18” squares for the base of your cushion. I like my cushions to be full, but if you like a more floppy appearance, make your square 1-2” larger.

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  4. Select your fabrics for your appliqued design from your fabric stash. Roughly cut to size. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the bonding agent or web onto the wrong side of these pieces. Normally this is done with an iron. This is double-faced adhesive and later will be ironed into position.

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  6. If cutting with scissors, draw the design onto the wrong side of the fabric/fusible web, remembering to mirror the design if you wish to use any words. Cut out the applique along the design lines and then remove the paper backing. Position right side up on the front of the cushion.

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  8. If using the ScanNCut, make sure the high-tack adhesive fabric support sheet is attached to the standard mat. Remove the paper backing from the bonding agent and place the fabric on the mat fabric face down, using the spatula to remove any wrinkles. Several pieces of fabric can be placed around the mat at the same time.

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  10. Scan the mat and select the desired designs (from those already loaded on the machine or one which has been downloaded).

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  12. These can be positioned accurately over the fabric to utilise every scrap. Carry out a test cut to ensure that the correct pressure and blade setting are selected. Generally on a craft cotton with fusible web applied, a cut pressure of 3 and a blade setting of 4 is used, but each machine will have slight variances, so always carry out a test piece. Cut out all the elements of the design. Once cut, position right side up on the front of the cushion. When you are happy with the positioning, iron in place, bonding your fabrics with the front of the cushion.

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  14. The shapes and sizes are completely up to you – have a play around until you have found something you are happy with. For scale, my lighthouse is 12½” tall by 5” at the base. Position Stitch and Tear stabiliser behind the background fabric; this will help to keep the work stable while you are stitching. As the name suggests, tear this away when you have finished or you can leave in place for additional body. For free machine embroidery, loosen the thumbscrew and remove the presser foot holder with foot attached. Attach the embroidery or darning foot to your machine and tighten the thumbscrew firmly with the screwdriver. Lower the feed dogs before you start sewing. Practice on some scrap fabric as this technique can be quite tricky at first, but once you’ve mastered it, your only limit is your imagination. When stitching, you can use thread which blends with the fabric or make a feature by using vivid colours, shiny rayons or metallic threads which can look very effective and give a further dimension.

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  16. Now, if you have chosen to do so, tear away the Stitch and Tear from the back of the cushion.

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  18. When you have finished your applique, remove the embroidery foot, attach the presser foot holder and then the zipper foot. Raise the feed dogs, these will not physically raise until you start sewing so don’t panic if you don’t see them come up straight away. Place the zip right sides together at the bottom of the cushion front so that their edges align. Pin and tack if required close to the zip teeth. Carefully sew down the side of the zip; if you have left the pins in, remove them as the needle approaches. Remember to back tack at the beginning and end of the stitching.

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  20. Now flip the whole thing over and pin the back of the cushion to the remaining free side of the zip. Tack if required, repeat as the first side.

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  22. Open out flat and iron the fabric away from the zip. Top stitch down either side of the teeth, using a longer stitch length to secure the fabric and avoid it getting stuck in the teeth at a later date.

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  24. Open the zip about half way down - this is really important as if you leave it closed you won’t be able to turn your cushion the right way out when you are finished.

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  26. Remove the zipper foot and replace with the standard utility foot. Place the front and back of the cushion right sides together, pin and tack if required. Sew all the way round.

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  28. Trim at the corners to reduce bulk and give a smooth corner. Neaten all raw edges with either a zig zag or overlock stitch or the use of an overlocker.

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  30. Turn your cushion right side out and insert the infill. Now, sit back and marvel at your handy work.