Little thoughts

Little thoughts: need more sleep! :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Here's one I made earlier

I haven't done a 'how to' post for a little while and I know this is going to be basic stuff but to anyone new here or new to sewing I thought it might be a good idea.  And for those of you who can sew better than me, it's something pretty to look at.

So are we sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin.  There's a back story to this project so I may as well share it with you now rather than explain at the end.  We have two sofas which have removable covers and when we took a trip to the shop we bought said sofas from there were new colours available for the covers.  We fell in love with the blue, it was that lovely blue you see on adverts for holidays in hot countries where the sand is always white and the waiter's always there with a cocktail of your choice by your elbow and if we're being really decadent here (and we may as well be) with a fan too to keep a cool breeze going under the sun umbrella.  Only problem was said cover was £60 each.  So £120 to recover two sofas.  Not an expense of gargantuan proportions I admit but too much for our little pockets so I decided we could by the much cheaper, £30 or so, plain un-dyed versions and a whole load of blue dye.  I also remembered we still had a plain cover stored in the attic from when we wanted a colour they didn't have and only dyed one of the two covers we bought at the time.  So the covers have been dyed and are now drying, don't ask me why one is darker than the other, I can't work that out either as both had the same amount of dye and salt and the darker one was done first.  Only thing I can think of is that they were bought at different times so they could have changed the fabric or it's because I gave the lighter one a final spin to get excess water off before taking it out as was too wet to dry outside yesterday.
Top one is the darker one drying on a clothes horse and the lighter front one is drying on a pair of chairs thanks to the lovely wet weather we've had

Soooo what this long ramble was about was that since we'd got new covers for the sofa we may as well have some new cushions to go with them!  There, got there in the end, was it worth the wait?  No, oh well Pffftt! to you! ;)

And since we're on a mission to spend as little as possible on this little makeover I remembered I still had some cream cord curtains that we'd had since we'd moved in but had taken down and remained unused so I've chopped it up and made cushion covers from it decorated with ribbons I got on my travels the other day.

On to the main business then, what I did to achieve new cushions:

Step one:  measure your fabric to make sure you've got enough length and width to cover your cushion and then decide what closure you're going to have.  This is usually dictated by the fabric available if you're using what you've got to hand.  I prefer envelope back cushions as it means I don't have to put in a zip and I don't run the risk of the pointy bits on the zip pull damaging the sofa or anyone's clothes.  Same sort of principle for buttons really as although I love them and they're pretty on cushions, they are NOT comfortable when you've got one sticking in your back when you're trying to settle down and read a book or watch tv.
Cushion placed on folded fabric with spirit level next to it, no one can say I don't measure properly! hehe!
Fabric cut to width and folded over cushion insert

Step two: find some ribbon you like and make sure it will be long enough plus a bit extra to cover the front of your cushion.  I chose three types of ribbon because I think odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye.  I'm slightly concerned that my choices are rather beach like in theme though...don't know where that came from!
Pretty ribbons and ricrac
Step three: arrange your ribbons by pinning them to the fabric in the direction of your choice making sure you've evenly spaced the ribbons, you can do this either by meticulously measuring the spaces or cheat like me and just count the lines of cords to make sure everything is spaced right!

Step four: stitch the ribbons to the fabric.  I've stitched down both lengths of the ribbons but you can just do one side if you wish and then people can play with the ribbons folding them back and forth...whatever takes your fancy really.  Now you can trim the excess ribbon off.

Step five: I was able to skip hemming the short edges as they'd already been done from when the fabric was a curtain otherwise you will need to do this now.  Fold the fabric right sides facing in (if you're doing an envelope back) so that you have the two short edges overlapping and pin the long sides and then sew them up.  If you're doing a button hole fastening you'll need to decide how many buttons you're using and then mark out where you want them to be.  Use the button hole step on your sewing machine to make desired amount of button holes, make sure you've measured how big you need the button holes and then rip the holes open with a seam ripper and sew on the buttons) Snip the corners and turn out so the right side is out and showing off your lovely ribbons, insert cushion and enjoy!   If you're really determined about putting a zipper in then you'll have to decide which side you're putting in a zipper and factor this in with your fabric requirements as you'll need less fabric as you're not going to need an overlap.  Follow the instructions on your zipper if it's nice enough to show you how on the tiny piece of cardboard they sometimes come with otherwise there's lots of tutorials on how to insert a zipper online, go check them out.  Once you've put the zip in, usually the short side, sew up the long edges with the zip open and right sides facing in, snip corners and turn out and you're done!  Hurray!
Trimming the corners

Ta Da!  Finished cushion!

Pair of finished cushions!

And the back of the cushion to show the envelope closure.

And now it's time for me to get the seam ripper out to correct the mistake I made on the unfinished skirt I told you about yesterday.  After that I may have a nap as have been up since 5.30am.  Don't ask, I'm not sure either.  I think I've got a lot of nervous energy and feel I should be doing something but am starting to flag now a bit.  Oh, and the other bit of news I think I forgot about yesterday is that I'm on Pinterest under Magpiemimi I think.  I'll work out the link and put it on the Who, Me? page if you're interested in taking a peak.

Tatty bye!


  1. You have been busy! I always like the idea of dying, but to be honest I'm a little scared. I love the colour though.

  2. I love the trims you used on the pillows! Really cute! :)

  3. Thanks Charlotte! It's so easy peasy to dye in the washing machine. I use Dylon as they tell you exactly what to do.

    Thanks Gillian! I've got some ribbon with bees on it too but I'm saving that for something else at the moment.

  4. Thanks Sarah! They've been well used already!

  5. I must apologise to Minnado, I deleted her comment instead of publishing it by accident (stupid touch screen phone thinking I pressed the other button!) so here it is:

    'Love the necklace. I enjoyed reading your tips. i feel a bit like crying when I think about how little I have done in preparation for selling stuff. but hey - deep breath...I will get there eventually. I am enjoying seeing your progress xx'

    I've been trying to find a way to get the comment to publish but it won't. Thank you Minnado for your kind words and I'm so sorry I'm not good at technology!


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