Tutorial: Patchwork ‘&’ Cushion

Ampersands are on everything these days so I decided to have a go at making my own version of the many (many!) cushions that are out there.

I used:

46cm x 46cm feather cushion (€8 approx)

Printer and paper – for template

Fabric for & (1 fat quarter is loads or whatever scraps you have)

Background fabric (1 meter is loads)

Iron on Interfacing

Sewing machine, needle, thread and all that stuff

Start by cutting out the background fabric. Cut one front piece measuring 54cm x 54cm (includes 2cm seam allowance) and 2 back pieces measuring 54cm x 36cm (again, includes 2cm seam allowance).

This cushion will have no zip or fastenings at the back, the flaps overlap each other allowing for easy removal for cleaning, and less fiddly sewing.

For the template I printed a 1000pt Franklin Gothic ‘&’ onto A3 paper and cut it out. This picture gives an idea of the look I was going for, the size fit perfectly.

Next step is to cut the shape out of interfacing, remember to have the “sticky” side facing up as we need this to hold the patches.

After that, cut your template up into as many pieces as you like, not too many that it’s going to be annoying to do, I had about 20 similarly sized bits.

Then cut each piece of the jigsaw out of your fabric, ensuring you draw the shapes on your fabric facing down with your pieces facing down. This ensures all your bits are the right direction.

As you can see from the picture below I tried to randomly place the pieces so, even though I’m using only 1 pattern, it gives it more of a patchwork effect.

After you have cut all your pieces, it’s time to put them back together on your, already cut, piece of interfacing. Remember, you want the wrong side of your fabric to face the tacky side of the interfacing. This step is probably best done on your ironing board.

Now, lightly iron over your ‘&’ to fuse the fabric to your interfacing (good instructions from Burdastyle here).

One your ‘&’ has cooled, centre it on your cushion front piece and carefully pin it, making sure it’s as flat as possible.

Next is the laborious part, using the zigzag stitch, applique the ‘&’ onto the front fabric, sewing down all joins where the patches meet. On my machine I chose the longest zigzag with the shortest stitch length. Also, sew all around the shape using the same stitch (be sure to trim any stray thread as you go along.

This part takes a while but the more cautious/careful you take it, the neater the result.

Finally it’s time to put your cushion together. Working on the back parts, along one long side, fold down 1cm and iron flat. Fold again, iron and sew, as below. This gives a neater finish. Repeat on the other back piece.

When both back pieces are done, pin, with wrong sides facing, to the font piece, you will now see your overlap at the back.

The pieces are pinned together like this as we are going to do a french seam, this is often seen on commercial cushions and covers as it hides any raw edges on the inside.

With wrong sides pinned, sew all around the edge of the cushion cover with a 1cm seam allowance. Turn inside out, iron the seams and sew along the edge again, this hides the raw edges.

Turn you cushion cover the right way around, iron one last time, stuff with your cushion and have a nap!