Friday, 9 January 2015

Making cushions



I had a really lovely time doing some fairly basic sewing over Christmas. With flu that went around our family for over five weeks, I either didn't feel I had the mental agility for any complex sewing projects or didn't have the expanses of time to immerse myself in them. But there's a lot to be said for some quick finishes occasionally!


My parents bought me some gorgeous Abigail Borg fabric for Christmas and out of the three half-metres they gave me, I managed to make six cushion cover fronts. Abigail Borg is an English, independent surface pattern designer based in Worcestershire and I'm more than a little in love with her beautiful fabrics (she does amazing wallpapers too!). I love her drawing style and the way she uses colour. It feels totally unique. The fabrics, which are a linen/cotton mix, are all printed in the north of England. They felt a little stiff when I first opened them (in the way that fabric can when you can almost feel a sheen of dye fixative fresh from being printed). The selvedge says that the fabrics are dry clean only, but I blasted them with a steam iron and afterwards they felt lovely and soft and not at all starchy. The quality is beautiful and the colour wasn't affected at all by my doing this.  Do go and have a look in Abigail's shop - she has many more designs and also ready-made cushions (although if you can sew, I suspect you may be like me in finding it almost impossible to buy something when you could make it yourself).


When cushion-making, I like to line the cushion front with some quilt wadding to make it extra comfy; prefer a generous cushion cover so that the cushion pad has room to fold around the contours of the person resting against it; and I love an invisible zipper closure because it's so easy to put in and doesn't interfere with the line of the cushion (conversely, they're my least favourite zipper to install when dressmaking). I made a total of six cushions - some 40cm, 45cm or 50cm square, depending on which chair they were destined to live on.

I do have a tendency to fall in love with whatever area of sewing I'm working in at the time, so it's fairly predictable that I remember thinking that there may be no greater joy in life than sewing simple cushions that are two squares of fabric and an invisible zipper (I tend to think the same thing when fussy-cutting things for some English paper piecing, when hand-quilting, when sewing a Peter Pan collar, creating a sleeve placket, appliquéing a pencil case or installing a magnetic snap on a bag. I think essentially it just means that I love all sewing, but I somehow find myself surprised by this with each new task that I start on. This is what my family and I would refer to as 'being a creature'. I feel like this is a phrase that others will probably just understand instantly, but just in case that's a completely false assumption, being 'a creature' means that there's an element of Creature Comforts about a person and that it's slightly amusing that they actually have fully-formed thoughts going on in their head when they seem so much more like a creature than a proper person). I rarely make quick-to-make things and my children are so used to seeing something come to a finish over the course of months, that when I emerged from my sewing room after an hour with two finished cushions they seemed shocked that this could actually happen and appeared more impressed by these simple cushions than anything else I've ever made!



Here some of them are in the sunshine one day. I love that they have added some colour into our front room in a way that doesn't overwhelm me. 


I think I discovered Abigail Borg through Katy, who I follow on Instagram. I find that I have freakily similar taste to Katy and she rarely mentions something that I don't absolutely love (we even have identical dogs - Otto looks just like Nell, our golden retriever) and Katy has been the source of my buying clocks, blankets and all sorts of other loveliness that I've had on a mental wish list for years, but never found quite the right one of until now - I'm afraid I think that I now secretly view Katy as a my own personal shopper! If you haven't already discovered her blog, Apartment Apothecary, do go and have a look - it's a delicious mix of interior design, small-scale gardening, simple but unique craft projects, inspiring finds and other good things…and photos of Otto, which makes it entirely wonderful all by itself.

So just in case I have any of my own readers who are actually here for the occasional dog photo, here's a recent photo of Nell. My husband and I got up really early one morning to go frost-hunting and left our lovely teenager in charge (supervising from her bed). It was the most perfect mix of frost and crisp sunshine and we had the most magical hour before it began to melt.


Someone on Instagram told me that this kind of thick frost is called a 'hoar frost' and it feels pleasing to know the right name for it now. Nell was completely delighted by it and skitted about seeming to enjoy the loud crunching under her paws and occasionally eating great mouthfuls of it. She also, as with mud patches and puddles, enjoyed lying down in it, embracing her inner piglet.


Finally, as this is my first post of 2015, I wanted to wish you a belated happy new year - I hope it's a really happy one for you.

Florence x

15 comments:

  1. The cushions are a perfect complement to you furniture, aren't they? And I am encouraged by your description of the ease of installing invisible zippers. Filing for future backbone-strengthening and Trying Something New.
    Nell is growing up to be a lovely girl! Excellent portrait of a happy youngster amidst the frost :)
    Happiest of New Years to you and yours!

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    1. I do love them - and yes, the zippers are really easy this way, so I'm unsure why I find them so difficult when dressmaking. Happy new year to you too. x

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  2. Cushions - I love them. I too got some fabric from my mum but have yet to make them up although I keep walking into the lounge and draping them over the sofa. Hadn't thought about adding wadding to one side, think I will give it a go. Thank you for tip xx

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  3. Those cushions are beautiful, I love that pale tealy coloured fabric best. Your zippers look good, I have tried that method once, may have to give it another attempt after seeing yours.

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  4. Happy New Year! Hope it's a happy and healthy one for you and your family!

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  5. Nell is very beautiful but your cats are even more so! Your cushions are very lovely but I find I can resist the fabric just by dint of the fact they are dry-clean only :( which is a shame as I think the fabric is gorgeous - I've always loved grey and pink. I wouldn't dry clean because of the chemicals involved, (I have issues with normal washing powders too).

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    1. I'll be sure to try and post some photos of the kittens in soon then! I do share your dislike of dry-cleaning…but I'm not sure I've ever actually dry-cleaned upholstery fabric as I've never noticed any of the sofa cushions needing it, so I'm putting that thought out of my head!

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  6. Love, love, love the cushions, the fabric, but most especially your beautiful dog! I always live with Golden Retrievers...and always more than one!

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    1. Lucky you! My husband would love more than one, but unfortunately Nell is capable of pulling me over when I walk her, so I'm not overly enthusiastic about the idea of having more!

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  7. Happy New Year Florence!! they are lovely - and I love your children being amazed by your rapid construction!

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  8. Hello Florence. I gasped at the sight of the pattern on these fabrics as soon as your blog appeared on my screen. How beautiful - they echo Victorian botanical drawings

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    1. You're so right - I hadn't seen the designs in that way initially, but I know exactly what you mean.

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  9. They are lovely - stunning fabric and beautifully made!

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  10. What gorgeous cushions. I really love the fabric, so classic looking while managing to be really modern at the same time.

    It's posts like this that make me want to pull the sewing machine out and take the time to make something!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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