Sunday, 15 June 2014

Being Soft (a post about cushions)


A soppy aside: We parked the car this morning for our family church meeting which was taking place in a school building. The place we found a car space happened to be on the corner of the road Joel and I rented a house on when we first moved back to Sheffield. It was 6 months after we got married and we were expecting Holly by then. I explained this to the children and on the way home we did a drive by of this house, where Holly was born into and lived until 11 months old, and then of the 2nd house she lived in until she was 23 months old (and Elijah until he was an 8 month old bump). Sitting outside the houses and trying to describe the insides and the things we did there made me so emotional. I am so sentimental. We sat for so long outside the second house, explaining the little path way was where Holly took her first few steps, and me describing exactly what each room was like, that 2 ladies appeared looking a bit worried about the hovering car outside. I almost went to explain and see if we could come in - but landing unexpectedly with 3 children and a hefty car seat was probably a bit much for a sunday lunch time. It is quite fitting then, as I can't keep all the places we have been and the homes we have lived in stored in boxes in the loft, that I have been spending the weekend making cushions from some of the memories we can keep! 
I mentioned in my previous post when making Willow's dress that I wanted to seek out bits of fabric that meant something - or that have belonged to us. I have a stash of bits of fabric for this very purpose. 
This week I've been redecorating the lounge. As there is no real budget to do this I have been doing bits and pieces a a time and slowly working my way round and seeing what I can upcycle and alter. Before decorating this whole room was quite dark. I has been our 'cosy space' and has basically been decorated for Christmas time. As it's summer now I don't want a Christmassy lounge so I'm brightening it up (and will probably want my old one back in a few months time!) So new cushions to replace the old dark ones seemed an obvious and cheap way to add in the bits of colour. 

I did buy a couple of small feather cushion inserts from John Lewis this week. I have too many polyester ones that lose their shape and though I am making new covers for those, I plan to slowly replace them with ones that are actually square and cushiony. Cushion covers are fairly easy to make. My method is to cut a square and a rectangle. (same size as the square but longer.) The rectangle one will be the front. The longer bit will fold around the bottom. Iron the pieces to make them flat and easier to sew and fold the excess from the rectangle back on itself. Hem the bottom of the square. Sew the remaining 3 sides together including the folded back pieces. You have a pillowcase style cushion cover now. You can sew in buttons and a button hole, or tying ribbons to make the bottom neater and prettier, or you can leave it without. Inserting a zip is also fairly easy - but can be a little fiddly and adds on a few extra quid and a trip to a haberdashery (which doesn't work if you are on a spontaneous sewing spree with things out of the cupboard!) 

I've used some left over fabric here from last summer when we made tops at one of Holly's sleepovers. The yellow is the same fabric as Willow's dress and I have some more to make that have been table covers and decorations at some of our birthday parties. The bird cushion however is made from one of Holly's old T shirts. 
She got a big sharpie ink stain on this one so it hit the cupboard a little earlier than it should have done. However this one has memories as we had identical ones. Here is Holly's 7-8 top and I had the same in an age 13. Sometimes we like to dress the same. It's allowed. She won't always want to do things like that so while she does I should oblige and enjoy finding pretty girlie things in the biggest kids sizes. 
So, I simply turned this T shirt inside out and sewed the top 3 sides of a square. I applied the same principle with the rectangle bottom and, once I'd checked it fitted, chopped off the top section (the neck and sleeves) so that it sits neater to the cushion. Voila... a pretty cushion with a little part of our family story.


These are some clothes I already have plans for even though theyre not done with yet. I just know I have to somehow make double use of these patterns and designs.  
Baby T-Shirts from Zara-from last years sale. £2/3 each and gorgeous fabric design on babygrow Little Bird by Jooles Oliver for Mothercare - a gift from my best friend.

Clown design with stripy yellow and white back and 2 very cute buttons  - Mamas and Papas sale

Elijah's monster T-shirt from Boden and stripy knit from John Lewis
 Obviously the baby T shirts will be too small to sew in the same way I did the bird cushion but will be perfect for cutting the designs from and sewing them onto either a plain or patterned fabric. I also have plans for some text cushions on white... but I'm all sewed out for today!

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