Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to do English Paper Piecing + Cushion Cover Tutorial

This blog post is in conjunction with our article in One Thimble Magazine, Issue 4.

As you've probably realised we here at Voodoo Rabbit are enjoying a bit of English Paper Piecing. Today we are going to share a quick tutorial for making this Hexie Circuit Board Cushion Cover. It features 2" paper pieced hexagons, regular and reverse appliqué. The finished cover is approx 48cm square and has an invisible zip closure.

Cushion Design

From the green circuit board fabric cut out your 2" hexagons with a seam allowance of approximately 5mm (1/4”) all around the paper template.

Using the edge of the Sewline glue pen, run a line of glue along one side of your paper template, slightly set in from the edge.

Repeat for all 6 hexagons.

Thread your Milliner’s needle with a single strand of Bottom Line Thread, double over and knot at the base. Place two shapes together with fabric sides facing each other. Start by pushing your needle up into the corner under the folded seam allowance and make two tiny overhand stitches to join the pieces together at the corner.
Next you will tie a knicker knot to secure your thread. Push the needle back through the fabric but don’t pull it completely through.

Sewing along the top edge of you template. Do not sew through the paper templates, it won’t matter if you nick the paper a little but if you sew through the paper to much it will make it hard to remove the templates at the end.

When you reach the next corner simply tie another knicker knot and sew back behind the seam allowance and snip off your thread. 

Open the pieces again so they lie flat. Take your next shape and place it where you want it to join the others and sew the touching edges together. Sew all 6 hexagons together so that match the image below.

Removing Papers
Using a glue pen makes the paper templates easy to remove. First give the finished piece a press with the iron. On the back lift up the glued edges of the fabric until you can pull out the paper template. If you have used too much glue and it wont unstick simply give it a press with the iron to soften the glue a bit and it should lift easily.

If your paper pieces are still in good nick after removing them, save them and use them again! Once all the paper templates are removed, press the seam allowances back into place.

Appliquéing the Hexagons
The next step is to appliqué the hexagons onto the cushion front. Cut a square of black fabric 50 x 50cm. Place the joined hexagons to one side so that the distance from top, bottom and side is approx even.

There are many ways of appliquéing your hexagons to your cushion, either by hand or machine. These ones have been sewn on by hand using a needle turn appliqué stitch, which is similar to a ladder stitch. The video below explains how to do this stitch quite nicely.

Reverse Appliquéing the stripes
To add a bit of variety to the cushion cover, we added some reverse appliqué. In reverse appliqué , instead of placing the shape on top and sewing it into place, the top fabric has a hole cut into it and the other fabric is placed underneath.

Start by drawing the vertical stripes onto the cushion with a chalk pencil. The ones in the image below are approx. 1/2" wide. Draw a line down the middle of each stripe, stopping approx. 1cm from the end and then join the middle line to each corner to form a triangle at each end.

Cut the fabric alone the middle line and the triangle so that the raw edges can be pressed under. Place the tape measure fabric under the cushion top, make sure that the grain of the cushion top and the tape measure fabric runs in the same direction so that they stretch of the fabric is running in the same direction. If the grain is running in opposite directions the two fabrics will stretch in differently which will cause bunching as you sew. 

Use the needle turn appliqué stitch to sew the tape measure fabric to the black cushion top.

Sew the Cushion Cover together
Have you ever made a cushion and put the insert inside and realised that you cushion looks like it has ears? If you would like to avoid this then you need to cut down each corner of the cushion.

Place the cushion back on top of the front piece with right sides together. Trim each corner down as per the measurements on the image below.

On the bottom edge insert an invisible zipper.
Unzip the zipper half way, pin and sew the other 3 edges together to finish your cushion, you can overlock the raw edges if you like.
Turn the cover right side out and place a cushion insert inside.

One Thimble Magazine Issue 4 now available here

- Ky

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