I like the texture and colour of blue denim and finding different ways of recycling old jeans (earlier attempts here) and I love the contrast of tough and delicate fabrics, so I thought I would make a jeans and Liberty cushion cover using reverse applique to showcase favourite scraps. This is part of the grand plan to try and learn something new with each make.
It took a disastrous first attempt, and a lot of night time pondering but I made this. I'm so happy with it!
There are some picture-heavy details below if you would like to find out more.
Reverse applique cushion using Bondaweb/Wonder Under
First take a square of fabric the size of your intended cushion cover, plus seam allowance all round. Because I was using cut up jeans I made a 9-patch square (you can see how I turned the squares to alternate the grain of the denim, just for extra interest). This gave me a ready-made grid into which to position my design. If using one fabric, mark out a grid using your favourite marking tool, taking into account the seams all around the edge of the square.
Now, cut a cardboard template the exact shape and size you want your reverse applique "windows" to be. I was using Liberty charms behind my windows, so I made a heart template to fit. If you are using scraps, just test to make sure that they are big enough (or that your template is small enough!) that there is a reasonable border all round.
|Scrap is big enough!|
Place these paper-side-up (glue-side-down!) on the REVERSE side of your fabric. Make sure you have the spacing right taking into account your seam allowance all round the outside of the pillow.
Iron these in place:
Now, very carefully, cut away the middle section, leaving about a cm all around. If you cut carefully, you can keep these little shapes and use them for another project - they are all ready to stick down. (see one reuse at the bottom of this post).
Having done that, snip carefully all around, to within a mm of the outside edge:
Make a cut at any outward facing points, and a notch at any inward ones. This will help when you turn back these edges.
Here, I have snipped all the way round.
Peel away the paper of the Bondaweb. See how you're left with a shiny residue? That's the glue, which will help stick back those little flaps.
Using the edge of the glue as a guide for where to fold, take your iron and very carefully start pressing back those flaps. Use the point of your iron to catch and flip them over. Remember you left yourself a mm - you should find it easy to turn enough of the fabric over that the slits don't run right to the edge of your window - but just give it an extra tiny tug if necessary.
Work your way round carefully, especially at the outward...
...and inward pointing parts of your curve, where you'll need to make sure that you fold the flaps back appropriately (you'll have to overlay them a little here):
Hey presto! Because denim's quite heavy, the bondaweb may not be enough to hold the edges permanently, but it does a great job of holding them in place until you stitch them down.
Now, take a piece of plain white cotton the same size as your front piece. If you are going for a quilty look (and it does make those hearts look nice and puffy) you will also need a piece of batting the same size, laid on top (use spray baste to hold them together).
The following instructions apply whether you are using just fabric, or fabric and batting. I will refer to the "backing".
Spray your backing with spray baste and lay out your scraps on top in the position they need to be under the windows. My design was grid based, which helps - you could draw a grid on your backing fabric/batting, and use it to guide you (I just eyeballed it)
Here I'm laying the top piece loosely to make sure those scraps are correctly positioned:
All ready to go.
Take your top piece and place it on your completed backing.
You might want to run your sewing machine round the edges, or use a little skoosh of spray baste to keep the top from slipping while you sew it all together in the manner of your choice. You could machine round the hearts, and quilt along the lines of the grid, for example.
I did some tiny overstitching by hand round the edge of the hearts to fix them down, and then embroidered round the edge with stranded embroidery floss - I might have used perle if I had any, but I sewed with 3 strands and I think it's fine. (In both cases you should stitch right through from front to back to hold the layers together. You can't gather stitches on your needle but have to stab it through straight up and down.)
Trim your edges.
- I want to make this again with flowers instead of hearts!
- A bigger version of this might make a nice baby wriggle mat.
- Because of the lycra/elastane content of a lot of jeans, you may find it difficult to cut and piece perfect squares.
- If you are using denim, make sure you use a heavier sewing machine needle
- I got my Liberty charms from Ali of Very Berry Fabrics
Remember the Bondaweb-ed cutouts? I gave them to my daughter, who made, and photographed this in secret:
I will be linking this post up to: