Tutorial: Envelope Cushion Back with Buttons and Binding

I began following the English Country Garden QAL in February 2021. I did intend to make all nine blocks and create the quilt-as-you-go quilt top… But best intentions and all that…I’ve got to the back end of 2021 with just four of the blocks completed. I enjoyed learning more about EPP and applique by making the blocks and also enjoyed having a slow stitching project to turn to but now I’ve decided it’s time for me to draw my involvement in the QAL to close. I’ll be making use of the completed blocks rather than consigning the project to the UFO Cupboard of Shame!

I’ve trimmed the blocks to 18½” square to make four new cushion (pillow) covers to replace the rather worn patchwork covers we’ve been using in our living room for the past 10 years or more.

I hope sharing the process I’m using to make cushion covers from these quilted patchwork blocks will be a useful guide should you decide to do something similar 🙂

Materials

  • One 18½” quilted patchwork square*
  • Cushion Back Fabric: cut two 18½” x 15″ rectangles
  • Medium weight interfacing: cut two 17½” x 2-5/8″ rectangles
  • Two 1″ buttons
  • Double fold binding: cut two Width of Fabric 2¼” strips to make approximately 84″ of binding. Sew strips together and press in half lengthways
  • 18″ x 18″ pillow form.

*I like my cushions squishy. If you prefer a firmer, tighter fit then cut your square to 18″ and the Cushion Back Rectangles to 18″ x 15″.

Equipment

  • Sewing machine with facility to make button holes
  • Rotary cutting tools
  • Pins and/or binding clips

Step One: Preparing Buttonhole Plackets

  • Place a Cushion Back Rectangle wrong side up on an ironing surface. Press a crease 3″ down from a long edge of the rectangle. Open out the rectangle.
  • Position an interfacing rectangle along the crease – there will be approximately ½” fabric exposed at either end and approx. ¼” seam allowance along the top of the rectangle.

 

  • Adhere the interfacing in place as per manufacturers instructions.
  • Fold and press the seam allowance over the edge of the interfacing Diagram 1.
  • Fold the interfacing flap to the back of the rectangle and pin in place.
  • Top stitch 1/8″ along the top edge and 1/8″ inside the seam allowance to secure the placket Diagram 2. Now measures 18½” x 12″ (18″ x 12 if making the tighter fitting version).
View of wrong side of a Back Rectangle with top stitching completed.
  • Repeat to prepare the second Cushion Back Rectangle.

Step Two: Make Buttonholes and Attach Buttons

  • Fold a Cushion Back Rectangle in half on the placket edge and make a crease to mark the centre.
  • Lay the Cushion Back Rectangle face up on a flat surface.

  • Measure 2½” away from the centre crease and make an erasable mark starting ¾” above the top stitching that secures the placket seam.
  • Repeat to measure and mark a buttonhole 2½” away from the other side of the centre crease.
  • Make vertical button holes using the marks as guides.
  • Place the Button Hole Placket, face up, directly on top of the placket of the other Backing Fabric rectangle (also face up).
  • Make a mark through each buttonhole onto the placket below to position the buttons.
  • Attach buttons.

Step Three: Attach Cushion Back Rectangles and Binding to Cushion Front

  • Lay the Cushion Front right side down on a flat surface.
  • Button the two Backing Rectangles together and pin placket ends so plackets are lying directly on top of each other.
  • With Cushion Back face up, place one 18½” edge directly on top of a Cushion front edge. Pin in place.

  • Carefully smooth the Backing over the Front. Pin in place. There will be a strip of excess Backing fabric along one edge.

  • Flip the pinned pieces over so the the Cushion Front is uppermost. Use a rotary cutter to remove the excess Backing Fabric.

  • Pin the binding raw edge to raw edge around the Cushion Front*. Start on an edge that does not have exposed Placket ends.
  • Stitch the binding in place using a ¼” seam in the usual way. Take care not to accidently flip the placket pieces as you stitch.
  • Hand stitch the binding to the back of the cushion cover.

*If you would rather machine stitch both edges of the binding then first stitch the binding raw edges to the Cushion Back before flipping the binding round and machine stitching it to the front of the cushion cover.

I hope this tutorial is useful. Any questions or suggestions do get in touch with me using the comments box at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in reading more of my tutorials you can find them by using the ‘Tutorials’ tab in the header 🙂 . I’ve also published several patterns including the I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern, these can be bought as PDF downloads from my Etsy Shop.

Linking with Kelly for Needle & Thread Thursday. Kelly has been busy hanging lights outside her house in time for the Holiday Season but has had time to create a gallery of quilts from last weeks linkup.

Allison

 

Using up the blue scraps

Ha! When I declare, ‘I’m using up the blue scraps’ patchwork quilters reading this will understand my bin of blue scraps is no where near being emptied! In fact after all my rummaging the bin appeared to be overflowing even more than when I’d started! 😀

Left: Blocks of the Santa Fe Sew Along and Right: Blocks for the Dashing Stars quilt.

Anyhoo! The design wall is looking blue! And after a few hours of rummaging, playing with options and rotary cutting I have been able to clear my cutting table.

I have the pieces cut to make 10 more of the square-in-a-square blocks for the Dashing Stars beginners course quilt. I used the calculator from the Quilter’s Paradise website to give the cutting measurements for an 8″ finished block. After making a test block I’ve decided to keep the centre piece at 6-1/8th inches but to increase slightly the size of squares to cut into the outer triangles to 5″ square. This adjustment allows me to square-up the blocks to 8½” unfinished whilst ensuring there is a generous ¼” seam allowance at each of the points. I also selected and cut out the pieces for the other blocks I need to piece to complete the Dashing Stars quilt top. So I’ve pretty much prepared the materials for the second session I’ll be teaching this coming Saturday. (Always supposing tomorrow’s PCR test comes back negative – I received a ‘close contact’ ping today – *sigh*).

As the contents of the blue scrap bin were spread across my cutting table I took the opportunity to rummage some more in order to find pieces for the ninth block of the Pieces of Santa Fe Trail Sew Along.

I checked back through Melva’s blog posts and found a photo of the completed quilt top. Altogether there are twelve 12″ blocks in a 3 x 4 layout with sashing, cornerstones and three simple borders. I’m thinking I may add a ginger coloured fabric to the sashing or borders just to add a bit of warmth amongst all the cool blues….

Once done with rummaging and cutting, I carefully folded all the scraps, laid them flat in the scrap bin and …. Wahoo! The lid clicked shut without too much persuasion. Of course that may have been partly because I sorted out and put to one side the scraps of the scraps I’ve used to make the other eight Pieces of the Trail blocks, reasoning it will be good to use each fabric more than once… This battle of the scraps is definitely becoming a devious mind-game!

Now my cutting table is clear enough for me to begin work on the I-Spy quilt I’ve been itching to make. I’ll be making a slightly smaller version of my own I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern and using some of the novelty print 5″ squares I’ve been busy cutting to collate into the Novelty Square Packs available from my Folksy and Etsy shops. I’ve chosen blue background fabrics for my quilt so inevitably there will be a few scraps to add to the blue scrap bin, although there’s not much ‘waste’ as it’s an economic strip-piecing pattern.

I’ll be posting regular updates @allisonreid.neweverymorning on Instagram as well as here 🙂

I wonder if you have been working on scrap-busting projects this year? Could you recommend a good quilt-along that is helping you keep going as you seek to make good use of your scraps?

Linking with Judy for Design Wall Monday and Beth for Monday Making. Judy has made a doll quilt with mini Pinwheel Blocks and tiny buttons. Beth is sharing the second block of her Christmas Sampler QAL.

Allison

Adjusting to a new season in and out of the sewing room

Japanese Graden, Kew by Allison Reid
Peace and tranquility at the Japanese Garden, Kew – a photo memory from Oct 2018

I knew September would throw up a lot of changes but I hadn’t factored-in quite what an impact adjusting to them all would have on my slowed-down, lock-down self. In trying to accommodate increased social activity I know I’ve dropped a few balls, including writing for this blog. Sorry for the lack of regular posts – there have been plenty written in my head!

I’m definitely not grumbling about the way life is changing, just having to acknowledge that returning to a more normal, pre-Covid, level of activity is going to take some time to get used to.

Gratitude Log. First and foremost I am grateful for the roll-out and up-take of vaccines in the UK – over 80% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated. The vaccination programme has made the following events possible and I’m acutely aware that most of the World’s population have no where near the levels of Covid-safety I’m privileged to enjoy.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve been grateful because:

  • Both my husband and younger son have found employment and we are settling into new routines.
  • I’ve been on a sewing day – first in 18 months 🙂 Felt so odd being in a public hall and not wearing a mask! Funny that I sat next to a lady and as we chatted we realised she’d been one of the customers I’d served earlier that week in Purple Stitches – we’d both been wearing masks in the shop so didn’t recognise one another!
  • The ladies mid-week Bible study group at Church has begun meeting in-person rather than on Zoom.
  • We’ve been able to meet up with family and friends for a variety of socials including birthday celebrations and an in-person meeting of our Housegroup.
  • I’ve begun teaching again. The first class of the four session Beginners Course took place last Saturday.

Whew! That’s a lot of social activity and I’ve just had to accept that it’s going to take introvert me a little time to cope with this return to a more balanced social routine.

Which makes me grateful for something else, namely my sewing room 🙂 Definitely a place to retreat into, find rest in creativity or just find rest in pottering about, fondling fabric and playing with new ideas. Occasionally this sewing room space does become a place of work though. For the past two weeks I have been pressing, rotary cutting and collating novelty print fabrics. I managed to source 42 different cotton prints. After laundering them all I set about cutting them into 1,156 five inch squares! (I’ve only just worked that out – definitely better not to have known at the start of the process how many were needed!).

I have collated the squares into eighteen packs of 42 and twenty packs of 20. All are now listed in my Etsy and Folksy shops for UK customers. Alongside the packs of novelty squares I’ve listed my I-Spy Shadow Quilt pattern. I’m proud of this pattern as I designed it to be a quick and easy make and it has received positive reviews ☺️

Apart from the 42 novelty print squares all that’s required to complete the patchwork are two background fabrics – one a darker shade of the main background to create the ‘shadows’. The pattern has step-by-step instructions for strip piecing. Despite appearances there’s no fiddling about with sashing as the strips between the novelty squares are part of the blocks. The pattern is available as a pdf download on Etsy or as a printed pattern for UK customers on Folksy. (Unfortunately Etsy add tax onto the price of the pattern – obviously I don’t receive that money).

Handling all the novelty fabrics has got me fired up to make another I-Spy Shadow quilt. I think I’ll try making a smaller version using 30 novelty squares in a 5 by 6 layout. I’ll be posting my progress here and on Instagram @allisonreid.neweverymorning

Background fabrics along with the excess novelty squares I’ll be using.

Other projects that need attention this weekend are my blocks for the Beginners Class – can’t have the teacher falling behind on the homework! I’ve taught the Beginners Course several times, making at least five versions of Viv’s Dashing Stars quilt.

My most recent Dashing Stars quilt – I added borders to this one.

This time around I’m mainly using fabrics from my overflowing bins of blue scraps. I’ve decided to alter the pattern a bit by making Square-in-a-Square Blocks in place of the large feature fabric squares. I used this table on the Quilter’s Paradise site to figure out the cutting of the fabrics for the Square-in-a-Square Blocks. A very handy resource for anyone who ties themselves in knots doing quilt math!

Once I’ve done my Beginners Course homework and the prep for lesson two I will turn my attention to the ninth block of the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along. I’m making these blocks using scraps of blue fabric – surely I’ll be able to close the lids on those bins soon? 😀

I hope you have some time to be creative this weekend.

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

PS. Catching up with reading blog posts is definitely on my list with the intention to re-establish Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts as soon as I have brain space to absorb more than ‘absolutely necessary’ information!

 

An I-Spy Puzzle Quilt

It’s a finish! The I-Spy Puzzle quilt was constructed using the Scrap Vortex technique shared by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts. I always enjoy making Scrap Vortex quilts. Each one grows slowly as a ‘leader and ender’ project running alongside my regular patchwork sewing. I keep a bin of odd shaped scraps next to my sewing machine. As I’m piecing patchwork blocks together I just reach down into the bin, select two scraps with edges of similar lengths and stitch them together as and when I need a leader or ender. These stitched pairs go

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