Sunday, 1 July 2012

Hearts and Stripes for Those Who ♥ The 4th of July - A Pillow Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I had an idea of making a stylised flag cushion for my American readers to celebrate  the 4th of July inspired by my  Jubilee cushion/pillow but dear reader, it is a minefield fraught with giving offence but I was undeterred and came up with a compromise based on the Stars and Stripes but with a twist and I hope you like it.  It is loosely based on one of the early US flags, designed by Francis Hopkinson.
I started to think about what I love about the USA and here is my list... in no way exhaustive but a small sampler and here goes... I love Ella Fitzgerald and the Gershwins, the Beach Boys, New York and New Orleans, Gone with the Wind and Walt Disney's animation, the Golden Gate Bridge, Zabar's Deli in New York, The Grand Canyon, Amish quilts, Billie Jean King and John McEnroe, MASH, Wall Street Journal, Cole Porter, the Statue of Liberty, salt beef sandwiches at Katz's, pumpkin pie, Thomas Edison, the Oscars and the list goes on.
Let's get started with the following:

3 red and white fat quarters
Half a yard of Blue cotton fabric
Selection of fabric scraps
Rotary cutter and mat
Pins, scissors, cotton and thread
Iron and Ironing board
Cushion pad
Fish knife
Cushion pad - I used one measuring 12" x 20"
Small heart shaped pastry cutter

Start by ironing all your fabric, the red and white fabric are going to form your stripes of which there are 13, cut six in white and five in red measuring 1.5" wide by 21.25" long then cut two 1.75"wide by 21.25" long... this is important as these strips will be at the top and bottom of your cushion.
Sew seven strips together using a1/4" seam allowance, starting with one of the wide strips alternating them, red then white.  Iron both seams into the red fabric, when you are quilting with darker fabrics always iron towards the darker fabric so it will not show through on the light fabric.
Cut a square of 9" wide x 7.75" long, place it 12.75" from the left hand side and trim away the excess strips and set them aside... I will think of something to make from them soon I promise!  Now sew them together using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Using the pastry cutter as a stencil cut out 13 hearts from the Bondaweb and from your fabric scraps... I used multi-coloured floral fabric to reflect the way in which so many people from different countries started a new life in the US.  Iron the Bondaweb onto the reverse of the fabric hearts.  Now place them onto the blue square, as follows, three then two, then three and two and in the last row the final three.  
Iron the hearts into place and top stitch them into place with a contrasting thread.
Continue sewing the strips onto the oblong you have created ending with the wider red stripe... You have created the front of your cushion... we are on the home straight!

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,  make sure that they are equally spaced.  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... and as my machine decided to hiccough when I was sewing mine, I promise it a right Royal or even Presidential pain in the proverbial!
Pin the button holed piece of fabric onto the front with right sides facing and then place the smaller piece of fabric on top, as this is the piece you will sew your buttons onto.  I find it easier when sewing together quilted seams to put in my pins horizontally so that the seams do not roll or pucker.

Sew around the cushion using a 5/8" seam (this is wider than the seams that we have used before), as the cotton was fraying a tad too  much for my liking, I used pinking shears to neaten them.  Cut across the corners to reduce bulk and turn the cushion inside out, use your fish knife to poke out the corners and iron your cushion.  
Finish off by sewing your buttons into place and insert your cushion pad.
And there you have it, your very own  I ♥ 4th of July cushion, especially for all of you who read my blog from the US... a very Happy 4th of July to you all!

Now I do have some exciting news to share with you but I will tell you about it when the postman deliver the package... and I am afraid it will mean more tutorials...

So without more ado, let's head over to Handmade Monday and see if we can find any other makes for the holiday.


Planet Penny said...

What a fantastic interpretation, very pretty!

Caroline Nash said...

Brilliant, the hearts instead of stars is so effective

Wendy said...

Absolutely brilliant. Love your list of American things you love!

butterflyblossom said...

Love this! I have a friend from America who would love this as a present. Thanks for sharing! X

fatmonica said...

It's gorgeous!Love the hearts.

Stephen @ Soy of the North said...

I think all your American readers will love this tutorial :-)

Tickled Pink said...

Love it! Such a different interpretation and I'm sure my American friends would love it. I love your list too - my top American thing I love was eating wild Alaskan river salmon whilst overlooking Monterey Bay!

Blue Forest Jewellery said...

The hearts are lovely - what a great idea and so original!


Anonymous said...

I love the hearts detail. Another great idea!

Anonymous said...

Love it, especially the heart detail :-)

Highland Monkey's said...

Great idea, looks pretty.

dreamstar said...

The hearts definately a great twist, looks fab as always Ros

Lyn said...

I'm going to risk making this list of comments repetitious because I just have to say "I love the hearts where the stars normally are!"


A great interpretation, it looks fabulous. all I can say about your list is a BIG ditto. Fantastic place. Many thanks for the great tutorial. Hope you have a good week.

Ali said...

What a lovely idea. The hearts are gorgeous. I bet you'll have lots of American blogs stopping by to have a look (and make their own). Thanks for sharing. Ali x

Raphaele said...

Very clever, the cushion turns out really nice. And thanks for the tutorial, I have to add it to my Pinterest board if you don't mind.

Free Spirit Designs said...

gorgeous cushion!

i love your idea of creating a list of things you love about the US i may borrow it for my midweek blog post :) i'd better get thinking about what to put on it! x

Nicki Tustin said...

lovely pillow and great tutorial, love how it looks vintage with the flower fabric

Fiddly Fingers said...

Like the little hearts and a pretty choice of fabrics

Handbags by Helen said...

Oo, that's lovely, the modification with the hearts is a lovely touch. Maybe it's time for a US version of my jubilee bag...!!!?

Picto said...

A lovely cushion, it looks really effective. I love the choice of fabrics.

Jan x

ZukieStyle said...

lovely pillow, I hope one of your US readers snaps it up soon!
Thank you for the lovely tutorial too, I really must have a go at a cushion/pillow one day!x