making | baking | creating

Gingham and Sequin Tea Towel Cushion

I'm making a few handmade bits and bobs at the moment, all in a state of 'need to get on with and finish that soon', but apparently, you will now find me in IKEA mid-week making up extra projects that will take priority.  But I really wanted to try this and it really didn't take me very long.....
It's chilly and we NEED gingham and sequins.

What I Used:
1 x tea towel [IKEA 50cm x 70cm £3 for 2]
50cm sequin trim [£1 Hobbycraft]
1 feather filled cushion [Dunelm 36cm x 36cm £2.99]

Tea towels are perfect as you know they are hard wearing, durable and tough, but soft and available in a blimmin' load of pretty patterns at a fairly cheap price.  What more could you want?  The cushion is feather filled, which means it has a lot more 'squish' so the tea towel measurements not being the same matters not even a little bit.

To start, fold one tea towel in half, with the seams facing inside, widthways and map out your wording or design with the sequin trim to gauge the length required and style that you want:
I've been panic crocheting with the imminent arrival of my nephew, so have as a result lost all feeling in my fingers, therefore, sewing the trim to my material was not an option [hoorah] - thank goodness for...
...Hi-tac.
 Once happy with your text, begin gluing in place from the underside and press down to secure:
Do not worry at all about being too neat and today - the glue dries clear and is easy to wipe 
away if it gets too messy - use a damp cloth to remove any excess:

 Leave to dry overnight....

 ...magic.  You'd never know I had been so messy in my method.
Check all sequins are firmly in place and use this opportunity to make any corrections or add any extra glue.  Next we are on to constructing the cushion.  For this, I used my sewing machine, but you can use the fabric glue as a no-sew option, as this method is the quickest and easiest in creating a cushion cover:
I started by folding the tea towel inside out and removing the tea towel hook and label. Mark the start and finish of the sequin design with tailors chalk or a marker that wont damage the fabric.  Measure the length of the marked design [mine was 30cm] and from the length of your cushion [36cm], remove the measurement.  With the measurement left [6cm], divide in two and add to each side of the marked design.  This was an additional width of 3cm each side of my markers:
 To one side [the right], fix the tea towel pieces together along the mark with pins and then run a simple running stitch all the way down the side, with around a 1cm seam allowance [I've used white cotton to try and help make the tutorial easier to follow - but if you can, match your cotton to the main fabric colour for a neat and invisible seam]:
 Next, fix the bottom length.
The two pieces of tea towel have already been hemmed, so join these as close to edges as possible with a simple running stitch,  Start from the right side to left, until you reach around 5cm from the cushion length measurement marked on the left side:
 To create simple removable cover, I am drawing inspiration from envelope fastenings, but making it that little bit easier.  Fold the left side in to the centre of the tea towel, so that the edge meets the end of the running stitch made across the bottom of the tea towel:
 Continue the fold around the length of the left side of the tea towel and pin the bottom edges in place, before finishing the bottom seam stitch to the end of the left side of the tea towel:

Remove the pins and turn your cover right sides out:
The envelope fastening will work by adding your cushion:
 ...and then pulling the bottom fold over the cushion:
...straighten out and you have made a pretty, simple cushion cover
It's not the most 'finished' or technically put together slip cover - but it is simple, easy and [I hope] - pretty and festive - perfect for temporarily living on my sofa for the season: 
I love it.

Finishing Touches:
  • The already hemmed edges of the tea towel will be visible on the bottom seam of your cushion - you can use a seam remover to neaten up if you would like, or cut the stitches with scissors and remove - don't worry - your stitches will remain in place!
  • You can add fastenings such as poppers, buttons, ribbon ties or a zip if you would like to create a different finish to the cushion cover.
  • The IKEA tea towel came in two slightly different colourway patterns, create a range of scatter cushions with different words or in different sequin colours - this is on my to-do list.
see you next time x

Personalised Present Mail Bag


It's turned to Christmas here.  I hope that's OK.
  It's my favourite time of the year and it is just as much about the lead up for me and my family as the day itself.  It's also the best excuse for lots of making, creating and baking - so lets start [although I did technically start earlier this month] with my favourite - children's present post/mail bags.  Last year, I made some small versions for my Godchildren [stockings and bags], but this year I have a nephew thrown into the mix and I have bigger presents to give.  You will probably have seen versions of these all over the Internet, but I have made some personalised bags and they were much simpler and easier than I worried - and required no more than the bags, stencils and some Sharpies.

I picked up 5 bags from eBay [from this seller if you are interested] around 50cm by 80cm, but there are plenty of other sellers now offering similar bags and shapes.
So that I wasn't let loose completely to my own design, I made a few templates for myself.

Remebering that these are for children, not me, I kept the design basic, big, bold and clear.  I made a  feature of the name and postage stamp, with simple stars to add variation and decoration and a simple 'Special Delivery' stamp at the base.  
I used Mac font style 'Modern: Futura: Medium' with the first names at around 190pt in size and these [that post mark terribly drawn, just use it as a guide - sorry!] shapes:
[right click and save to your desktop to print]
I started my first bag tracing the text with a chalk-based pencil, which could be erased if it went wrong:
...then tracing over these outlines with the Sharpie, but once I got the hang of it, I just went straight ahead with the Sharpie:
[if your text doesn't show through easily for your to trace, hold everything up to a window and make outlines that you can define once back at a table where it wont be so awkward and uncomfortable!].

I then outlined the names in the centre of the bag, before filling in and adding the extra details:

 To finish the bag and create a 'mail bag' effect, I folded the top of the sack outwards to create a large top hem and then threaded red wool, with a long and wide running stitch, starting and finishing at the front to create a pretty tie fastening:
....adding a little detail with some bells at the ends.....
....and then the bag was ready to stuff with presents.  These sacks can more than hold the weight and you can pretty much fill them to bursting - I'm quite tempted to make one for myself and they would look great with a more general festive design and as large decorations to hold [or hide] anything around the house during the festive season:

P.S:
  • If you have a hessin bag that likes to moult a little more than you'd like - an old [or cheap] pillow case makes the perfect lining.
  • If you have time, some embroidery around the name letters or as extra embellishment, decoration and details would look gorge-ous.
  • I went for simple red wool ties, but thicker ribbon with a big bow would be be-aut-iful.
  • You could add pockets to the front in a bright colour, such as red felt, for any smaller presents, or even a letter from Father Christmas himself.
see you next time - please let me know and see if you try this! x
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