Most of us will confess to hoarding tendencies, especially when it comes to stitchy supplies. It’s far too easy to stash stuff away, with the excuse that we’ll ‘definitely use it for something, one day’. However, what’s far more likely to happen is that we continue to add to our mounds until they threaten to take over the whole house, much to the dismay of the rest of the family. So, Homemaker hoarders, let us introduce you to the antidote to your sorrowful, but completely understandable, condition: appliqué. This simple technique involves layering cut-out scraps onto material, then stitching them in place to create a pattern or just a pretty motif. It’s a wonderful way to control an overflowing fabric stack, and is so simple that stitchers of every skill level can give it a go. This issue, Sophia Palmer has devised a pretty Easter cushion, but you could just as easily stitch on circles, stars or any shape that comes to mind. The only limit is your imagination – and your cutting skills!
Patterned cotton for the back
Measure the cushion pad, then add 2.5cm to each side and trim plain cotton to fit. Draw a bird shape onto card and cut out. Work out how many birds you can fit in a row on the cushion, remembering to leave enough room around the edge for sewing.
Draw out the birds onto the iron-on interfacing. Draw one bird the other way round; this will make the individual kissing bird in the centre.
Iron on each bird onto a different scrap of fabric, then cut these out and pin in rows onto your plain cotton. Appliqué these with a zigzag stitch with your machine.
Cut the two back pieces out. These should be the same size as the plain cotton with an overlap of about 10cm. Hem each panel, then pin to your cushion front, making sure all the right sides are together. Sew around the whole edge then turn the right way and press.
Take heed of these appliqué tips from our lovely sister magazine, Sew:
Carefully press your fabric pieces before stitching for a neat finish
Use a variety of machine or hand stitches to get different effects
Back the fabrics with fusible webbing to secure them to the work and prevent edges from fraying
For really neat edges use felt to create your designs
Pick up Sew magazine for all your dressmaking and home stitching needs!