Having just moved house and with the arrival of our little girl imminent I’ve had such an urge to decorate the nursery. But not the practical things like painting the walls, or cleaning the drawer unit… they’re for hubby to get on with. Me, I’ve wanted to do the pretty things like some wall art with her name, a pretty pink mobile and a cute cushion for the nursery chair. Doesn’t help at all with getting organised but it fills my heart with joy so create I did!
First up is an adorable hand-embroidered love cushion.
Pink of course. After having a little boy first my crafting has been starved of pink so I picked a pretty pink and green striped fabric I had left over from a previous project.
Love Cushion “How To”
Step 1: Cut two pieces of fabric. I used a 14 inch square cushion so I cut my fabric to 15inches square. This gave me a 1/2 inch seam allowance on either side all the way around the fabric.
Step 2: Cut a piece of felt into a square slightly smaller than your finished cushion. I cut mine to 12inches square.
Step 3: Fold the piece of felt in half and cut a heart shape. Unfold it and check you’re happy with it’s symmetry and shape. Trim until you are happy.
Step 4: Draw on the felt with a fabric pencil the design you want to embroider. I wrote in freehand the word ‘Love’ and made it go off either side so it looked how I wanted it.
Step 5: Using the same colour thread as you will be embroidering, run a loose stitch along the words. This is to give you a line to follow that you know you can’t accidentally rub off while handling the felt! Fabric pencils are great but they do tend to rub off if you’re fiddling with the felt alot (like you do when embroidering :)).
Step 6: Now I’m not too sure how to describe the next bit. The best I can come up with is just ‘hand embroider’ your design. Not overly helpful I’m afraid. I don’t do much hand embroidering, I’d never tried this before and I certainly didn’t know the proper names for the various techniques so I googled it before I tried it. However not knowing how to describe it I didn’t get very far! So eventually I just gave it a go. After some false starts I eventually got there. Here’s my tips…
- Use a double width of thread tied together at the end (so it comes through the felt as four pieces of thread). This helped keeps the line thick and neat looking. When I tried it with just one length of thread it looked all wobbly, and I had to do four times as many stitches to get the same look.
- Imagine the thickness of the line you want, and concentrate on getting the needle coming in and out of the felt exactly where you want it. Eg don’t look at the line, look at where you want the line. Kind of like driving. Don’t look at the road directly in front of your car or you’ll go wobbly, look ahead on the road to where you want to be.
- Between each stitch take the time to make sure your threads are all even. If you get one pulling more than the others you’ll end up with it all bobbly and extra bits sticking out.
- Do each stitch really close together and you’ll get a nice raised line. If you have more of a gap between each stitch the threads may still spread out to cover the felt, but it will look flatter.
- Use a sharp needle. Sounds silly but if you’ve got a blunt one it’ll make pulling the threads through more difficult and thus more prone to tangling.
- Slip your finger through the loop you’re creating before pulling the thread tight as you do the stitch. This helps stop tangling. Slip your finger back out again when the loop is close to the felt and then tighten the last bit so it sits nicely on the felt.
Step 7: Pin your heart onto the centre of one of the pieces of fabric. Make sure you ironed the fabric first (unlike in my picture which once I realised I had to unpin, iron and repin). Use a tape measure to check you’ve placed it in the centre.
Step 8: Hand appliqué the heart to the cushion. Here’s a great step-by-step guide how to hand appliqué if you’ve not done it before. I used 4 strands of thread again so the colour really stood out. If you want it to be more subtle you could use less, or even the same colour as the felt.
Step 9: Place the two pieces of fabric with right sides together, pin around the edges, and sew around. Leave enough of a gap on the bottom side to slip in your cushion. I find if I’m using a new cushion insert I need to leave most of a side open.
Step 10: Turn your cushion cover inside out. Hand stitch the gap closed and voila! You have a beautiful hand-embroidered love cushion.