Merry Christmas everyone & welcome to my third project on the MCBN.  I fell in love with these Dog and Cat Fabrics as soon as I saw them. Both are medium weight canvas which I decided to use to make some cushions. 

Many of the items I make for my website are memory keepsakes and I’ve wanted to make something for pet lovers for a while, in particular an item that could be personalised with a pet name if desired.

The fabrics are beautiful quality and an ideal weight for home furnishing. I wanted to use a co-ordinating fabric for my design & decided to wait until the fabrics arrived to check the exact colour before choosing some more fabric.  It can be really difficult to buy matching colours via the internet unless purchased as part of a set.  I took a trip to our local home furnishing store, armed with my fabric, and found a perfect striped turquoise & stone soft Furnishing Fabric.

As I didn’t want to make classic square cushions I opted for a Rectangular Cushion Pad.

I always sketch a plan on paper to confirm the layout and sizing including my chosen seam allowance of 1cm.  I strongly recommend making sure the fabric is squared/straight before cutting the pattern pieces, and to measure accurately, as it makes making the cushion cover easier and maintains the required size. I’ve got a long wooden ruler that I inherited from my dad & it’s great for lining up long edges.

I joined the two front pieces together and decided to top stitch to keep the seam to keep it flat. I’ve always stitched seams and then neatened them but lately have started to neaten the edges before securing the seam, which I now find much easier.

I love working with appliqué and embroidery and designed two simple templates, one for each cushion.

To transfer the embroidery design a simple method is to use a light source such as a window, the template (printed or hand drawn) and a bit of tape to hold the template in place and then trace the design onto the right side of the fabric with a pencil.  The fabric I chose for the appliqué is slightly thicker canvas, but the transfer was just visible using a light box app on my iPad. 

When embroidering by hand there are many ways of securing the thread, and depending on how many strands I am using, I tend to use the ‘away knot’ method – knot the end of the thread, choose an area slightly away from the design & take the needle through the fabric from the right side.  Work a few tiny stitches on the stitch line then work over these with your chosen stitch, finally cutting the thread on the back to remove the knot.

I used stem stitch, my favourite stitch for lettering, and a gold coloured thread. 

The paw print was traced onto paper backed Fusible Appliqué Web, ironed onto the wrong side of fabric and the shapes cut out.  After positioning the pieces, I secure them in place on the right side of the fabric.  It is easier to apply the fusible web to a piece of fabric larger than the template and then to cut out on the cutting lines drawn on the paper backing. 

Both motifs were adhered to the main cushion using the fusible web and machine stitched in place.  I’ve never mastered free motion embroidery, instead I use regular controlled machine stitching to create raw edge appliqué.

I inserted an Invisible Zip on the lower seam, ensuring the pattern matched, and sewed the side seams up last, just remember to leave the zip open slightly for turning right side out.

I love how both of the cushions have turned out, in particular the subtle embroidery and appliqué – I’m already planning some more projects with this great fabric.

Thanks to Minerva for the beautiful fabric & to everyone for reading.