Sunday, 20 May 2012

Jubilee Souvenirs... A Union Jack cushion tutorial

Despite what many may think I am not old enough to remember the Coronation, although my sister is still deadly miffed that the street party in the avenue that she lived in at the time, stopped short of her house and she was not allowed to join in with the jam sarnies and orange squash... how mean was that?  I, of course, have taken steps to prevent this happening to me by sitting on the Committee organising our street party... smart eh?

So as my sister got a mug for the coronation which she still has, I thought I would make a proper handmade souvenir... a stylised 2012 Union Jack cushion which you can customise with lace, ric rac brading or any other embellishment you can find.  I have gone with less being more with the fabric that I have used... you might want to use florals, polka dots or stripes, let you imagination rip!
You will need:
Three complementary or contrasting fabrics, I used two fat quarters and a half a metre 
2 Buttons
Cotton, pins, pinking shears and scissors
Cutting wheel and mat
Iron and ironing board
Sewing machine
Cushion pad (mine is 20" x 12")
Embroidery thread and needle
Heart shaped cookie cutter
Fish knife

Now, you know the mantra, if you are using fabric, the first thing to do is iron it, so get cracking and cut out four pieces 10 1/4" wide by 6 1/2" wide (blue fabric).  Now be careful if you have a directional pattern in your fabric to make sure it all heads in the right direction when you cut it out... if you are not sure, then walk away and look again before you cut.
Next cut out your diagonal stripe which will be 2 3/4" by  12" (from your white stripe) and iron under an allowance of 5/8" on each side, remember you are running all the stripes into the centre from the outside corner.. yes, I know you already know this... but I will be the one tsking when you have to undo it because you didn't check.  You might want to cut this on the bias, but really you don't need to and you will end up using more fabric than is really necessary.
Lay the strip across the square and pin it in place, sew it down 1/4" from the edge (use the edge of your foot as a guideline), you will find that there is an excess of fabric over the edges of the square, trim these away.
Lay out your pieces ready for the next stage.
Next, cut two pieces 3 1/4" x 10 1/4" (red fabric) and using a 5/8" pin a top and a bottom to the red and sew them together.  
Press the seams open.
Now cut out a strip 3 1/4" wide by 13 1/4 long and join your two sides together using a 5/8" seam allowance.
Now you can embellish your front, I went with a felt heart, using a cookie cutter as a template which I cut out on grease proof paper, pinned it to the felt and then used pinking shears to give it more attitude.  
Then to ensure that I would not forget what it was for, I embroidered in chain stitch with 2012 (which will also cover the London Olympics... another smart move, methinks).
Pin your heart in place and sew it, as close to the edges as you can, yet again I used the edge of my foot as a guide. The front of the cushion is now completed, yay!
Next you need to cut out two pieces of fabric, one piece should be 8 5/8" wide x 13 1/4" long, the other piece is 18 5/8" x 13 1/4".  Fold over two inches of fabric from top to bottom on each piece and press it, now fold over 1/4" and sew it under to create a neat edge.
Using the larger piece of fabric we are going to place the buttonholes on the piece of fabric which is folded over, to make sure that they are equally spaced, take away 1 1/4" (our seam allowance) and we are left with 12",   we are going to divide it into three as we need to place two buttonholes, so ours will sit at 4" and 8".  Mark the spot with a pin and use your buttonhole foot and button stitch to sew it into place.  I usually have a practice before I start on a scrap of fabric I am using to make sure that my tension and stitch size are OK... it is a lot easier to get it wrong on a scrap than on the real thing.

Now lay down the larger buttonholed piece of fabric, with right side facing the front right side, pin it in place and next put smaller piece down, it will overlap the buttonholed piece and pin it into place.  And as if to show you what a muppet I am, yours truly put them the wrong way round and had to undo it to re-sew it... so it really does pay to check.

Sew it all into place with a 5/8" seam allowance.  Clip the corners (you remember, cut off the triangle across the the corner) and trim down the seams to about 1/4" to reduce the bulk.

Turn the cushion inside out and use the fish knife to get good sharp corners (remember it will not go through your stitching because it has no cutting edge, per se).  Sew your buttons in place.
You are finally ready to put your cushion pad in place.
And there it is, your Jubilympics cushion... and you didn't even break sweat, did you?

Whilst I think of it, the butt ugly yarn has found a new home, my sister has taken it and is determined to make something from it that will make me love it... I can only wonder at her foolishness, but I am waiting to see what she will come up with...

Well now's the time to go over to Wendy's Handmade Harbour blog to see what everyone has come up with for Handmade Monday... I sometimes wonder how everyone fits in a day job when you see what fabulous things they create.


Ali said...

I love your cushion especially the 2012 heart. I can't believe that your sister couldn't join in the coronation fun, how mean.
Hope your celebration is wonderful.
Ali x

Carolee Crafts said...

So good to see so much wonderful patriotic fabric about hope it continues after this year as think we should be proud of our heritage.

Unknown said...

Me encanta el cojín Ros, me parece precioso y muy British como a mi me gusta.

Anonymous said...

I love your choice of fabrics. It works so well and makes a great cushion. Brilliant:)

Tickled Pink said...

Great cushion, lovely fabric and such an easy to follow tutorial.
I have joined our village committee for our Jubilee celebrations and it's like wading through mud! I do hope yours is more dynamic!

Nicki Tustin said...

This is a great tutorial and a lovely item for the jubilee. Great share

Wendy said...

Love the cushion and your choice of fabrics is spot on. How fabulous is that bus fabric?! x

Free Spirit Designs said...

'Jubilympics' - love that!

I'm all for a bit of Brit themed crafting and your cushion looks fab - a heirloom of the future perhaps..!

great tutorial too! x

Kazies Magical Designs said...

great tutorial Ros and its so much nicer than all the cushions I have seen recently so different hope youve made a few I think they will be best sellers xxxx

Lyn said...

Wonderful choice of fabrics. If only you'd made it last year and got production going - I reckon Harrods would have begged to stock them!

Highland Monkey's said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I love the red bus/taxi material you have used. Unfortunately I was old enough to get a glass mug from the coronation and still got it.

Planet Penny said...

A great tutorial, and I love the fabrics you've used!

Christmas Pie Crafts said...

A great tutorial, Ros, thank you. I love the material you have used for the Union Jack, such a great idea to use patterned material. Hope you have a good week.

KC'sCourt! said...

Lovely cushion
Julie xxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

I've got some simikar London fabric, love your idea for the cushion! :-) xx

Unknown said...

Really love the fabrics you used for your cushion. It looks great!

Handcrafted by Picto said...

A lovely cushion Ros, a great fabric choice, your instructions are so east to follow.

Jan x

Whitney-Anne Baker said...

you always make it sound & look so easy - a real confidence booster when faced with something new.

Stephen @ Soy of the North said...

Brilliant cushion. So patriotic. Hope lots of people give this tutorial a try.

Mrs A. said...

Sis got to go to the street party but as I wasn't 3yrs old had to stay behind. Did get a mug though. Love your cushion and the flag just lends itself to being an oblong shape. hugs Mrs A.

Nora said...

Thank you so much for the lovely and easy tutorial; I managed to whip up 3 cushions for daughter, sister and friend's granddaughter in the Makower patriotic fabric line.
Best regards