Want something to do this weekend? Try this easy craft project, as featured in Patch! by Cath Kidston. Brush up your sewing skills and get a lovely new cushion, too. Hurrah!
“Women of past generations spent hours patiently stitching household textiles – tray cloths, dressing table mats, napkins and runners – which we seldom use today. Rather than storing these away in a drawer, I wanted to show them off and give the fine embroidery a new lease of life. This crazy patchwork cushion, which uses sections salvaged from a collection of old linens, is my tribute to the work of our grandmothers.”
- selection of embroidered cloths
- 50cm square white linen fabric for cushion front
- 40cm square gingham fabric for cushion back
- 170cm pink bias binding
- 170cm fine piping cord
- 40cm square cushion pad
- matching sewing thread
- 2 skeins pink stranded cotton
- embroidery thread
- sewing kit
Toptip wash and press all the cloths and discard any worn or stained areas. you may find that the colour of the fabric may vary from snow white to cream but this only adds to its
1 Sort through your fabrics, picking out the most interesting areas of embroidery. Cut each patch into a multi-sided shape, with straight edges.
2 Draw a 40cm square in the centre of the white linen cushion front, ruling each line from side to side or top to bottom. Starting in the middle, arrange the patches on the white linen, in a crazy paving style. Overlap the edges to cover the square completely, then pin them in place.
3 Tuck under a 5mm turning along each of the uppermost edges and sew the patches to the linen, with small slip stitches worked in white sewing thread, as close to the folds as possible.
4 Redraw the 40cm square, going over the edges of the patches where they overlap the outline.
5 Thread a long-eyed needle with three strands of pink embroidery thread and stitch a row of feather stitch over each folded edge. Make sure that the outer rows of stitching end 5mm from the pencilled outline.
6 Cut the cushion front to size by trimming along the pencil lines. Press back a 1cm turning along each edge. Mitre the corners and then tack down the turning.
7 Prepare the piping by folding the bias binding over the cord and tacking the two sides together. Fit a zip foot to your sewing machine and sew a line of straight stitch close to the cord (this will keep the piping stable when you hand stitch the cover).
8 Starting close to one corner, pin the piping around the edge of the cover so that the cord peeps over the edge. Hand sew in place with white sewing cotton. Leave the first 3cm unstitched, and make small, closely spaces slip stitches all round the four edges. When you have completed the round, fold the two ends to the back so that they butt up closely against each other. Sew down on the wrong side and trim to 2cm.
9 Press back 1cm around cushion back, mitring the corners as for the front.
10 Pin the back and front together and slip stitch the cushion back in place around three sides, sewing through the bias binding. Insert the cushion pad, then sew up the final side.
TOP TIP save your tiniest offcuts of printed and plain fabric from your other projects and use them to create a more brightly patterned interpretation of this thrifty technique.
PATCH! by Cath Kidston, published by Quadrille (£16, paperback). Photos © Pia Tryde.