Saturday, 30 August 2014

The owl and the house cushion

I should probably have made a pussycat to go with the owl, but it only just occured to me in writing the post title!

Something I was working on this week was a couple of cushions. I have no craft time at the moment, what with teething baby and excitable toddler, so this was a small project that could easily be done in little bites. Having said that, I can assure you that I did not set out to make these. I just had a spare 20 minutes, so printed an owl. It kind of spiralled from there really

So, what do you normally do when you have time for a cup of tea? Apparently I like to draw animals. I did the rough sketch below marking a kind of owly shape and filled it in with stamp shapes from my collection. They are roughly drawn to the dimensionish of the stamps, so it's a good enough representation of the proportions.

 I then traced the outline onto my white fabric with a water soluble pen and stamped the eyes, nose and head. You can kind of see in the above photo that I cut my owl out. I then used the paper that surrounded that shape as a template or a mask and stamped the body feathers within that template. Having the paper mask meant that I could stamp over the line of the body and half the stamp would be on the fabric and half would be on the paper, so I didn't have to worry about printing within my drawn lines.

Above are the stamps I used and all are bought ones rather than hand made. Below is old owl chops and you can see what I mean about the mask cutting off the stamps at the bottom of the body. I also used the same technique for the wings, so that I could stamp the lines willy nilly and they still form the wing shape. I have no idea if this is accurate for an owls wings, as I didn't check! I do wish I had taken more photos of the printing, but just wanted to get it done!

What do you do with a printed owl? I thought about making a plush toy for one of the children, but to be honest they don't need it, so I decided on cushions. I used to make cushions for a living, so to measure up I just cut my front and backs to the size of the pad. By the time you have sewn your seam allowances the cushion cover ends up slightly smaller than the pad, which makes for a plumper looking cushion. So for a 16" pad I cut 16" squares and it ends up being approximately a 14.5"-15" cover.

I chose to underline my front panel, as the white fabric was slightly see through, so I lay my cut piece on top of the underlining, pinned it down and cut around. I did the same for the back piece.

 With the printed panel and white underlining pinned together I overlocked all round the edges, I used a wool for the backing, so didn't need to overlock it at all.

 I then pinned the zip to the bottom front edge...

 and stitched it down. I prefer to use a standard foot for cushion zips as it's quicker than changing them over. I just start with the zip bit a bit further down, sew some of the zip, pull the zip bit back up and then carry on stitching. The standard foot normally sits well just on top of the teeth and I follow a line in the weave of the zip for my stitch line.

 Next I pinned the seam allowance up on the bottom edge of the back panel (think I used 1.5cm) and pin to the front piece. Sorry, I chop and change between inches and centimetres all the time!

With the front panel layed flat and the zip pulled out flat, I lay the bottom folded edge of the back against the bottom folded/stitched edge of the front and pin to the zip.

I then flip over to the wrong side and sew along the edge of the zip. I always make sure that the zip follows the edge of the seam allowance so that the stitch line looks straight on the front.

Zip done!

Next, on the wrong side fold the back piece up with right sides facing and line up the 3 unstitched sides. The zip should lay flat on the back and make sure that the folded zip flap on the back panel is also sandwiched flat in these layers. Excuse my inappropriately long zip!

Now pin and sew up the side seams. If you find that the back piece is longer than the front when you pin then just square off the top to make it level with the cushion front.

When you get to the zip opening it may look like this...

look at my sophisticated seam allowance markers!
Just push the ends of the zip together as much as possible and stitch closed

Tidy up any ends and turn the right way out and you've got a plain zipped cushion! Now, because I used a wool backing I didn't ovelock it at all, but if I were using a woven back aswell, I would have overlocked both the zip edges at the start, done all the sewing and then overlocked the 3 remaining edges at the end, so a slightly different, but mostly the same process.

Here's the house, which was stamped in a similar fashion as the owl, but with far less planning.

Neat zips!

This is how neat it looks on a less bulky fabric (and with piping). Hardly visible!

So, I managed to write about something I made this week. Hooray, I feel triumphant!