Monthly Archives: February 2016

Oxford Envelope Style Cushion Cover – Extra Credit!

 

oxford-style-cushion-cover-tutorial-sewing

Finished size: Customized to fit your cushion.

This tutorial builds on our simple envelope cushion cover tutorial, used with our new sewers on our 54 week sewing course.  It takes the basic principles of an envelope style cushion cover to the next level, adding a border and turning the closure on the back of the cushion into a feature, with buttons and functioning button holes!


Requirements:

Complete the table below to work out your fabric and interfacing requirements.

STEP 1

The label on your cushion may include its size, if not, pull the fabric along the top taught and measure it – this figure is the width of your cushion.  Repeat along the left side of the cushion, this figure is the length of your cushion.

Width x length: ……… x …………

STEP 2 – FABRIC REQUIREMENTS

Fabric

You can use almost any type of fabric for a cushion cover, fleece, flannels or knits will give your cushion a ‘hug me’ look, whilst home décor weight fabrics hold their shape, regular quilting weight fabrics work well too, and can be enhanced with the addition of iron on interfacing to give a crisp, luxury look to the cushion (if you are a beginner, I would start with home décor weight fabric or quilting weight fabric).

Front Fabric

Width of your cushion + 7.5cm x length of your cushion + 7.5cm
………… x …………

Back Fabric (Top Piece)

Width of your cushion + 7.5cm x length of your cushion x 0.65 + 6.2cm
………… x …………

Back Fabric (Bottom Piece)

Width of your cushion + 7.5cm x length of your cushion x 0.65 + 5cm
………… x …………

Interfacing (optional)

If you are using regular weight quilting cotton, we recommend using iron on medium weight interfacing (woven or standard) to add definition to your cushion, or fusible fleece if you want to plump it up.

Front piece:            size of the front fabric piece.
………… x …………

Back top piece:       size of the back top fabric piece with 3.7cm taken off the length.
………… x …………

Back bottom piece: size of the back bottom fabric piece with 2.5cm taken off the length.         ………… x …………

You will also need…

Buttons. 

Instructions

If you are using interfacing then iron it onto the back of your fabric pieces first (place on top of the back of your fabric, then place another piece of fabric or a tea towel on top, and iron into place). The interfacing pieces for the top and bottom back pieces are smaller than the fabric pieces.  For the top back piece position the interfacing so that it lines up with the top, left and right edges (it will finish before the bottom edge).  For the bottom back piece position the interfacing so that it lines up the bottom, left and right edges (it will finish before the top edge).

simple cushion tutorial oxford interfacing

Place your back top piece of fabric in front of you, so that you are looking at the back of it. Fold the bottom edge up1.2cm and iron the crease.  Fold the bottom up again, by 2.5cm and iron the crease into place (the raw edges should now be hidden).

Pin the folded section into place, making sure that the pins at a right angle to the fold line (see below) pins should be approx. 5cm apart.

simple cushion tutorial oxford hem on top piece

Make sure your bobbin has cotton on it that matches or compliments your main fabric, and then sew the folded over section into place, approx. 19mm (3/4”) down from the outside edge (this type of sewing is called top stitching).

Now it’s time to add the button holes (on the hem you have just sewn). Measure in 3.7cm from each side, along the folded and sewn edge, and mark with a disappearing pen or pins.  Measure the gap between your marks and divide it by the number of buttons you are using plus one (we are using 2 buttons and so divided the gap by 3).

Now measure in from your first mark or pin by the figure you just worked out, and make a mark, measure in from this point by the same amount and mark.  Continuing measuring and marking until you get to the mark/pin on the far side.

simple cushion tutorial oxford locating buttonholes

Measure your button width, add 4mms or 2/8th inch – this will give you your buttonhole size.  Mark the buttonholes on your cushion cover fabric – the centre of each hole should line up with each of the marks you made during the last step (DON’T forget to ignore the first and last pins/marks).

Use the buttonhole setting on your sewing machine to make your first button hole.  Once sewn, use a seam ripper to cut the buttonhole open and check that the button will fit through.  If you are happy with the size of the hole, carry on sewing the rest of your buttonholes, if not, go back and add extra length to your first buttonhole, you can cut through the first set of end stitches so don’t panic!  Check against your button again, and when happy move onto the next buttonhole, adjusting its length before sewing.

simple cushion tutorial oxford buttonholes sewing

Put this piece to one side.

Place your back bottom piece of fabric in front of you, so that you are looking its back. Fold the top edge down 1.2cm and iron the crease into place.  Fold the top down again, by 1.2cm, and iron the crease into place (the raw edges should now be hidden).

Pin the folded section into place as before and sew into place, approx. 6mm (1/4”) down from the outside edge.

simple cushion tutorial oxford - bottom hem
Place your front piece of fabric in front of you, right side facing you. Place the top piece on top, wrong side facing you, with the top, left and right edges lined up with the front piece, pin into place.  Place the bottom piece on top, wrong side facing you, with the bottom, left and right edges lined up with the front piece (it will overlap the top back piece), pin into place.

simple cushion tutorial oxford -pinned

Sew around all four sides using a 6mm (1/4”) seam allowance.

simple cushion tutorial oxford -sewing together

Turn your cushion cover out so that you are looking at the outside of the cover. Iron flat, making sure the seam lines are along the edges, and the corners are pushed out.  Pin the two sides of the cover together and sew a border 2.5cm in from each outside edge (see image below).

simple cushion tutorial oxford - adding border

  1. Hand sew your buttons onto the back of your cushion cover, lining them up with the centre of each buttonhole, making sure you are only sewing the buttons to the back of the cover and not the front.

simple cushion tutorial oxford - buttons

Fill with your cushion insert and do your buttons up – ta dah!

simple cushion tutorial oxford -filled

Why not try (tutorials coming soon!)…

  • Adding piping, pom poms or ric rac to the outside edges of your cushion.
  • Quilting the front panel – a great way to use up your favourite scraps.
  • Adding binding to the outside edges for a super crisp finish.

Fabric used: Riley Blake’s Woodland Spring Collection – click here to buy in store!

Click here to download a printer-friendly version of this tutorial.

Squared Off Reversible Mini Tote Bag Tutorial

mini-tote-tutorial-squared-off-sewing-prints-to-polka-dots

Size: Approx 23cm wide x 18cm tall (9″ x 7″) excluding handles

This is the second in our series on mini totes that use half a mtr or less of fabric to make!
Based on a simple tote with box corners, the clever shaping of the main panel pieces ensures that the sides maintain their square shape when completed.

Requirements

2 x external bag pieces 25cm x 31cm wide (9 ¾” x 12 ¼”)
2 x internal bag pieces 25cm x 31cm wide (9 ¾” x 12 ¼”)
2 x strap pieces 5cm x 54cm (2″ x 21″)
2 x pieces of low loft fusible fleece (H630) or heavy weight interfacing 22.5cm x 28.5cm wide (8 ¾” x 11 ¼”)
2 x pieces of fusible flexi-firm (S320 or S520) 3.8cm x 31cm wide (1.5″ x 12 ¼”)

Instructions

Step 1 – The Straps

Iron 12mm (1/2″) seam allowances onto the back of each strap piece, along both long edges.

Place the two strap pieces on top of each other, wrong sides facing each other, and pin together.

Top stitch, 3mm (1/8th”) in from the outside edge, along both long sides.  Fold the strap in half and cut into two.

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared strap

Step 2 – Cutting Your Bag Pieces

Place one main external bag piece in front of you, so you are looking at the back.  Measure in 2.5cm (1″) from the top left corner and make a mark.  Draw a line between this mark and bottom left corner.

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared drawing 1

Return to the bottom left corner, measure straight up from the bottom raw edge (NOT along the diagonal line you just drew), you are looking for the point where a line from the raw edge straight up to the diagonal line will hit the diagonal line at 3.8cm (1.5”).

Draw a line straight down from the diagonal line to the raw edge (it will be to the right of diagonal line). Using this line as the left line, draw a square 3.8cm x 3.8cm (1.5” x 1.5”) in size (see images below).

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots images drawing bag shape2
Repeat steps 5 & 6 on the right side and then cut your shape out (see image below).

Repeat these steps with the remaining pieces of fabric, internal and external, and interfacing EXCEPT for the flexi-firm interfacing.

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared cutting sides

Iron the interfacing pieces onto the back of your main external fabric pieces.  NOTE: They are smaller than the main fabric pieces (this is to reduce the bulk in the seam allowance), just position them centrally, so you have a border around the outside of approx. 12mm (1/2”) without interfacing.

Now iron the flexi firm interfacing onto the bottom of each internal bag piece, the interfacing pieces should reach the left, right and bottom edges, and line up with the top of the corner cut outs (see image below).

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared interfacing on bag bottoms

Step 3 – Attaching Your Handles

Pin one of your handle pieces to one of your external fabric pieces.  Line the raw edges of the handle up with the top raw edge of the bag piece, right sides facing.  Pin the left side approx 7cm (2.75″) in from left outside edge, and the right side approx 7cm (2.75″) in from the right edge.

Baste into place using your longest stitch and a 6mm (1/4″) seam allowance.

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared attaching strap 1
Repeat with your second handle and main bag piece.

 

Step 4 – Building Your Bag – Part 1

Pin your main external fabric pieces together, right sides facing each other, handles poking out at the top of the bag.  Sew down the left and rights sides and across the bottom, using a 1.2cm (1/2”) seam allowance, DO NOT sew the cut out corner sections.

Repeat with your internal fabric pieces.

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared sewing bags together

Step 5 – Box Corners

Holding your main (external) fabric bag, pinch the bottom right corner so that the side and bottom seams are lined up together and the raw, unsewn edges, are lined up with each other.

Pin together and sew across the raw edges using a 1.2cm (1/2”) seam allowance.

Repeat these steps on the left side.

Repeat with your internal fabric bag.

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared corners

Step 6 – Building Your Bag – Part 2

Place your internal fabric bag inside the external bag, so that the right sides of each bag are facing each other, and you are looking at the reverse of each fabric.  The handles should be pointing down into the bag, sandwiched between the layers.

Make sure the raw edges of the bag pieces are lined up at the top and pin together – it’s a good idea to start by pinning the side seams first, then pin half way along each long side, finally fill in the gaps.

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared inside each other

Sew together around the top, LEAVING a 5cm (2″) gap on one side (between the handles) for turning out.

Pull your bag out through the gap. 

Step 7 – Finishing Touches

Iron the 2 bag pieces, then put the internal fabric bag inside the external bag.  Fold the raw edges at the turning point into the gap, iron to set the crease and then pin the fabrics together.

To finish, top stitch all the way round the top of the bag, 3mm (1/8th”) in from the top edge (take care not the sew the whole to closed, you should be sewing through two layers of fabric at a time – one internal piece and one external one).

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared top stitch

We made this bag with fabrics from the Riley Blake Lucky Star fabric collection & Little Flyer Collection.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this tutorial.

Totally reversible!

mini shaped tote tutorial prints to polka dots squared finished

The Best Quilting Project For Beginners…

quilted cushion cover tutorial sewing workshop witney
We think this is the best quilting project for beginners.  At first glance you may say – but that is not a quilt!  Well, no, it’s a cushion cover, but it is quilted.  We believe this is the best starting point for quilting because:

  • It’s not too large – one of the biggest challenges for machine quilters is keeping the quilt together and under the sewing machine, starting with a small project gets rid of that headache and allows you to focus on getting the sewing techniques right.
  • The pattern confuses the eye – you would be forgiven for thinking that the best quilt pattern to start with is a one made up of simple squares.  The reality is that the more pared down the design, the more obvious any mistakes.  To quilt square blankets you need to be confident that everything will be lined up perfectly, before and after you sew your pieces together.  This project uses half square triangles, they are easy to make, look impressive and are forgiving to the first time quilter.
  • It’s not too large part 2 – imagine making a larger quilt, getting numerous squares sewn perfectly, spending hours pouring your heart into making your quilt, only to find that a couple of lines aren’t quite right – the more pieces in your quilt, the more likely you are to have mistakes – another reason to start small.
  • It covers all the parts of building a quilt in small digestible bites, selecting a pattern, cutting, piecing together, sashing, quilting, adding wadding and binding.

Selecting Your Pattern, Cutting and Piecing Together

quilted cushion cover tutorial sewing workshop witney piecing

Adding Sashing (with Mitred Corners), Wadding and Quilting Together.
quilted cushion cover tutorial sewing workshop witney sashing and quilting

Creating and Adding Your Binding
quilted cushion cover tutorial sewing workshop witney binding

We have used Riley Blake’s Lucky Star Collection for this cover.   This is a project we make at our Introduction to Quilting sewing workshop, held in the centre of Witney in Oxfordshire, over 2 weeks – choose your own fabrics and pattern and learn to quilt in a relaxed environment.