Spring Cushion Tutorial

Happy Friday everyone!!

Do you remember a few days ago I introduced to another member of our blogging team? Well Julie of Mack and Mabel is here today with a fabulous tutorial so you can have a go at making a gorgeous Spring like appliqued cushion!

Hi, I’m Julie and I’m really excited to be part of the Simply Solids blogging team.

I blog at www.mackandmabel.blogspot.co.uk and I love anything to do with sewing. I’m always up for a challenge and I love working with Kona solids, so when Justine asked me to make something, I jumped at the chance. Even small scraps can be made into something useful and that’s just what I’ve done with the lovely bunch of goodies Justine sent me.

I’ve made a cushion cover which, as luck would have it, is just right for sitting outside and enjoying the lovely Spring-like weather we’re having.

It’s very quick and simple to make and has an envelope back (no pesky zips to sew in!) It fits an 18” cushion pad.

All you need is 39” (1 metre) of Wickerweave for the background, and an assortment of Kona solid scraps for the stem and leaves.

The stem is pieced into the cushion front.

and the leaves are backed with Bondaweb, a fusible adhesive, and ironed in place.

I used a machine zigzag stitch to edge the leaves, but you could blanket stitch by hand if you prefer.

Using a thread that matched the Wickerweave meant that I didn’t have to keep changing colour for each set of leaves – that would have sent me totally scatty!!

I then made a quilt sandwich in the normal way. I pin basted it.

then outline quilted round the leaves first and finally quilted horizontal straight lines 1” apart across the rest.

The back of the cushion cover is 2 folded pieces of fabric that overlap by about 6”. This photo shows the first one in place.

The second one just lies on top to cover the base and then you sew round all 4 sides. Trim the corners, to give nice sharp points to your cushion cover and turn right side out.

The double layer of backing fabric and good amount of overlap means you have a nice back your cushion cover, which doesn’t gape or go floppy with use. Once the cushion cover was made all that was left to do was to grab a cup of tea and a good book and curl up with it in the sunshine!

I wasn’t totally lazy though!

I created a PDF with the full instructions for making the cushion cover and a template for the orange peel shape leaf.

If you want to have a go at making one yourself, just download it here

Well I’m sure you’ll agree this is a great tutorial and I for one think this would make an awesome Mother’s Day gift!!

Kona #scraptasticchallenge

The winner of last months #scraptasticchallenge was the very lovely Sonia who blogs over at www.fabricandflowersuk.blogspot.com

Sonia has done a great tutorial for these totally gorgeous coasters and tray, read on to find out how to make some for yourself!

Wave Coasters and Tray: A tutorial

Inspired by the bright colours I made stripey wave coasters along with a little tray to keep them all together when they’re not in use ‘cos I’m all about the trying to be neat and tidy at the moment (I’m blaming it on being Spring, it’s sure not to last long!). Would you like to see how I made them?!

You will need;

4 x 5.5″ squares (front of coasters)
4 x 4.5″ squares (back of coasters)
scraps for the wave (1-2″ wide by 2.5″ tall)
4 x 4.5″ squares of wadding

2 x 6.25″ squares (for the coaster holder)
2 x 6.25″ squares of interfacing

For the coasters

Sew scraps together into 5.5″ widths to make four waves. Press your seams (I pressed them open)

Lay the strip on top of the coaster front. Use a rotary cutter to make a wavy curve across the width of the coaster. I free hand this so please do mind your fingers!!!!! (I first came across how to sew curves at Lynne’s blog, which might help you out a bit more)

Now to sew the curve together! It’s really not as scary as it looks – promise! Place the fabrics ‘right’ side together, matching the top seam. I find it easier to sew slowly and ease the top fabric into position – moving it backwards as the curve bends away from you and easing it forwards as the curve comes back. It will look all bunched up, but don’t worry. A good press will flatten it all out!

Now to cut your second curve: I did this in two stages firstly cutting a curve on the wave, laying it over the bottom section of the coaster fabric and cutting again along the same wavy line (if you want to cut both curves at the same time I would recommend cutting the front pieces bigger to allow for losing fabric to the seam allowance of the curve). Give it another good press.
Trim each of the coaster fronts to 4.5″ square and back with wadding

Quilt the front of your coaster – I went for a very simple outline of the wave
Place the coaster back on top of the right side of the front and pin in position. Sew around using a 1/4″ seam allowance and leaving a hole for turning. Trim excess fabric from the corners before turning out, using a chopstick to push the corners out if needed.
Top stitch around the top of the coaster and Voila!

For the coaster tray;

Iron the interfacing on to your fabric (I used a soft interfacing to reinforce both bits of fabric, so you could maybe only use one piece of firmer interfacing)
Draw 1″ squares onto the wrongside of the fabric in each of the corners on both pieces of fabric.

Fold the fabric diagonally and sew down the line. Repeat for the other three corners and trim the excess fabric. Repeat for the other piece of fabric.
Place the fabrics right sides together and pin the corners into position. Sew around the top using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a hole for turning.
Turn the coaster tray right side out, and give it a good press around the top seams. I also folded over each of the sides and gave it a good press to create the base. Top stitch around the top of the tray and give it another good press.
Place your coasters into the tray and congratulate yourself!!!!

I’m so happy with these! And because I had so much fun making them I made two sets……so, it’s Giveaway Time (two giveaways in two days – I really haven’t planned my blog posts very well this week!)!!!!!

If you pop on over to Sonia’s blog you can enter a draw to win a set of these awesome coasters – go on, off you go!

So now we need to choose the next person to receive a scrap pack and get a guest tutorial spot here on the blog!

The winner is:


What a cheery mat – it is so colourful. I think a scrap bag would be great for some egg cosies that would be simple enough for kids to make (with assistance) during the Easter holidays.

Please get in touch Sara asap and we’ll get your scrap pack out to you!

Pincushion and Thread Catcher

I’m sure most of you will already be familiar with our friend and super talented quilter Brioni Greenberg. Aka @FlossyBlossy, as you’ll find her on IG & Twitter. She is also one of the founder members of Fat Quarterly.

Today I’m bringing you a run through of the pattern Fairytale Pins ‘n’ Things from her book – 25 Ways to Sew Jelly Rolls Layer Cakes & Charm Packs. If you’ve not seen this book then go on, treat yourself.

I love the book as it has a great chart giving different fabric options for each of the projects within the book. So if you only have a jelly roll to hand you can look down and see which are the best projects to try.

If you’ve not already spotted it, this particular pattern out of the book is actually available as a free download for the Kindle. We’ve included a link in case you’d like to try this before you buy the book.

Hopefully I’ve taken lots of photos to help guide you through the pattern and I’ve added points where I have done something slightly differently.

Use a ¼” seam allowance unless stated otherwise.


1 mini charm pack (40 squares)
2 pieces of muslin or scrap fabric 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm)
1 fat eighth for lining the pincushion base
1 fat eighth of medium weight fusible interfacing (I used fairly stiff interfacing)
small quantity of play sand
⅓ yard (0.3m) of polyester boning, ½” (1.3cm) wide (can use package strapping as a substitute)
Masking tape

Step 1: Preparing and Cutting

Lining fabric: cut one piece 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm) & one piece 14½” x 6½” (36.8cm x 16.5cm)
Muslin/scrap fabric: cut two pieces 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm)
Interfacing: cut one piece 4½” x 6½” (11.4cm x 16.5cm) & one piece 14½” x 8½” (36.8cm x 21.6cm)
Polyester boning: cut one strip 14” (35.6cm) long
*Note: I cut the larger lining fabric piece 1 inch longer, so 14½” x 7½” as I found on my first attempt the lining did not quite sit well inside the bag.

Step 2 – Preparing the thread catcher

Layout 28 of the mini charms in four rows of seven.

The end columns will be joined together to make the thread catcher and will be at the back, if you’ve any favourite fabrics in there remember to put them more in the middle as these will be at the front.

Chain stitch the charms in rows and then sew the rows together. Making sure you press as you go as they are quite small pieces.

Press onto the larger piece of interfacing and trim to 14½” x 8½” (36.8cm x 21.6cm).

Step 3 – Preparing the pincushion

Lay out six mini charms into two rows of three. Sew these together in the same way as the thread catcher and then press onto the smaller piece of interfacing.

Next make the tabs that attaches the pincushion to the thread catcher. Take two more charm squares, fold each in half and sew down the side, then turn right side and press with seam to the centre.

Step 4: Making the pincushion

With the pincushion charm top (from point 3) facing right side up, place the tabs with raw edges aligned to the long top edge and the seam side facing up. This makes the pieces right sides together. It’s needs to be about 1” in from each edge, but I just matched it so it covered over the vertical seams either side of the centre mini charm.

Sew a holding line ⅛” (0.3cm). This will be hidden within the pincushion seam next.

Now place the smaller piece of lining fabric right sides together with the pincushion top. Making sure the tabs are folding in.

Sew around the edges leaving a 3” (7.6cm) opening at one end to squeeze in the sand filling.

Step 5: Making the thread catcher

Take the charm pieced thread catcher (step 1) and match up the shorter edge seams and sew together to make a tube.

Then with this seam running down the middle flatten the and sew along the bottom edge.

To give it a squared bottom I placed a pin down the edge seam that I’d just flattened,

Then pop the bag open and align this flattened line down the side with the bottom seam. I then use a pin to pop through the centre of the bottom seam and line it up with the pin on the other edge. This ensures that my corners should be perfectly square and all match up neatly.

Once you’re happy the are lined up flatten this seam and draw a line 1½’ (I actually did 1¼”) from the point and sew along this line. Trim off the excess and press.

Repeat with the other side.

Turn right side out.

Repeat all of step 5 with the lining fabric, except leave a gap of 3” (7.6cm) in the bottom and leave inside out.

Step 6: Assembly

Attach the pincushion to thread catcher by laying the tabs with seams down onto the back of the thread catcher, so the pincushion is just positioned half way over the back seam. The tabs will be approximately ½” from the centre back seam.

Sew a holding line ⅛” (0.3cm) to secure the tabs to the top of the thread catcher. This will be hidden within the seam next.

Now place the thread catcher and pincushion inside the lining bag made in step 5, they should be right sides together.

Also make sure that the pincushion is tucked inside.

Pin so that the back seams match up, pin around the top and then sew all the way around the top edge.

You should now be able to pull the thread catcher and pincushion gently through the hole in the bottom of the lining.

To make the pincushion insert, take the two pieces of muslin or scrap fabric and sew around three of the edges leaving one of the short ends open.

Now fill with the sand so it is quite firm, but there is enough room to sew shut. I tacked a line of stitches about ¾” from the edge then put it gently through the overlocker. If you don’t have one do not worry. I would maybe recommend folding it over and stitching it closed with a very close stitch to secure the sand in place.

Now gentle ease the sand pouch into the pincushion and sew the opening shut.

Step 7: Finishing

Finishing off with the polyester boning is the step I skipped in preference for quite sturdy interfacing, but the instructions do appear very simple.

Press the top edge of the thread catcher and pin in place if necessary to hold the layers in place. Then top stitch all the way around ⅛” from the top edge.

Tape the ends of the polyester boning together and insert the loop into the hole of the lining. Manipulate the ring so it sits at the top of the thread catcher bag next to the top stitching you’ve just done, between the lining and the outter fabric.

Pin around the bag just below the boning and stitch here, to form a channel to hold it in place. Fold the thread catcher in half to crease the boning at each side and make it into an oval shape.

Finally, sew up the opening in the lining to complete your pincushion and thread catcher.

I hope that some of the extra tips I’ve put in have been useful and you enjoy this lovely sewing room make.

As a little bonus we’ve put together a kit to help get you started. The kits include:

Mini charm pack (of your choice from available stock)
FQ of fabric
Fabric for Pincushion inner
Pack of sand
Some strapping to use as boning
You can go ahead and purchase the kit over in the shop, here’s a quick link for you.

We hope this tutorial guide has been useful and if you’ve any questions just drop us a note in the comments or on the contact page.