Upcycling Jumper Project – Cosy Cashmere Cushion

Upcycled-jumper-project

There is nothing more satisfying than creating something new from an old jumper discovered in a charity shop. I was initially attracted to the pretty shade of pink, but it was far too big for me. It was back in the Autumn when the nights were drawing in – when my thoughts turn to cosiness, wooden blankets and log fires that I decided to upcycle this unloved jumper into a cushion to feather my winter nest.

I have not seen smocking for a long time, but the idea for this front panel came when I was flipping through some old sewing books – the smocking method was lengthy and (to my mind) laborious. I thought it would be fun to play around with the technique to make it a little simpler as well as make the most of the texture of the jumper.

up-cycled-jumper-smocking

I started by using the front piece of the jumper for the smocking panel. I wanted to create a deep raised pattern so I made 1cm pleats across the panel. Then I marked across at 2cm intervals along the folds using a washable pen.

upcycled-jumper-smocking-cushion

The pleating and marks made it very simple to create a honeycomb pattern across the jumper panel. I would alternate the pleat joins so that it ended up with regular diamonds. I liked the pale green Perle cotton – the shade was in harmony with the pink.

up-cycled-jumper-smocking-cushion-panel

As with all things hand sewn, it was such a relaxing panel to do that I often wonder why I don’t do more embroidery. Watching TV with my fabric on my lap, tea within reach the panel was done in no time at all. Despite the sewing book instructions making it seem laborious, it was quickly and easily achieved and I loved the texture.

Up-cycled-jumper-cushion-front-panel

The smocking does reduce the width of the front section of the jumper by around a third so I used the sleeve sections either side to create a square panel. The ribbing at the bottom of the jumper created a nice frame bottom and top, so the front section was completed.

Up-cycled-jumper-cushion

I used the back of the jumper to make the back and stitched it loosely closed. If the cushion needed to be washed it would only take minutes to unpick. I also did not want zips or buttons to interfere with the softness of the cushion.

upcycled-jumper-flowers

I felt the cushion needed a little more decoration so I made a few suffolk puffs (or yo yo’s as our American Cousins Call them) and utilised the ribbing off one of the sleeves. I also embroidered leaves and stems with wool. (Also pre-loved).

Up-cycled-jumper-cushion

I am rather thrilled with the finished cushion, its so lovely to sit against (or lie next to as my dog prefers). It is quite easy to work with knits, just a case of selecting a straight stitch with a little zig zag in it and a ball point needle.

Vintage Round Cushion and Rocking Chair Upcycle

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin!

This is a lovely corner of my little home. The rocking chair has been with me through many houses, when it was purchased it was a lovely light beech colour but my beloved at the time decided to use a dark stain on it. (you can scroll down to see it before it was revamped) It looked terrible and remained unloved until last year. I was moving into my own little home and deciding what needed to go or stay. I painted it pure white, and the thing I love about doing that is that the form of the piece is revealed. However, I just could not resist adding the blue polka dots to the paintwork, so easy to do! The cushions are made from gorgeous Clarke and Clarke and I love the fabric so much I bought quite a bit of it in its various guises.

If you want a co-ordinated look but not too co-ordinated, it is a good idea to buy the various different patterns of a make, not only with the tones and hues work, but they will go together well, after all that is what designers are paid for, their eye for colour and knowing instinctively what goes together.

The round cushion is one of my favourite creations manly because I love all the pretty doilies that you see in charity shops and car boot sales. Little pieces of art work, lovingly created for the bargain price of 50p.
This one is particularly lovely, it is blue, which makes it unusual, but it is also so perfectly formed with perfect tension. As a hooker myself, (the term I like to use for crocheters!) I can appreciate the sheer skill it has taken to make this delightful thing.

The difficulty is that we no longer use them in the same way, so while I could not pass up the chance to purchase these delights, I found they were stacking up in my studio with no real purpose. The rose material was a remnant, no bigger than a 1/4 metre, but I loved its vintage feel and so the rounded cushion was born. The white background was an old linen napkin. Another beautiful fabric I simply cannot resist, the quality surpasses anything you can buy now, and who uses napkins every day let alone linen ones. So I gathered these beauties together and came up with the cushion. You really don’t see many rounded cushions, so I was rather pleased with the way it came out.

The project itself was published in the May 2012 Edition of sewing world with the rocking chair published a month earlier in April. I think it is such a lovely seat to sit in and I have convinced myself that sitting and rocking while sewing burns enough calories to eat the odd biscuit or two and not feel guilty.

Here is the rocking chair before it was given a new lease of life.

Cup Cake Cushion

My friend was moving  to a wonderful flat situated above a baker shop, we discussed the marvellous delights of waking up to the smell of warm bread and baking on cold mornings it seemed such a lovely place.
It was while I was making a card for her, using crayons I came up with the idea of a cup cake house, but then I realised it would also make a lovely cushion and a great a housewarming present – since we were coming into Autumn I wanted to use warm fabrics like wool and tweed – there is something really comforting about these fabrics in Autumn when all I can think about is cuddling up on the sofa with a good book as the evenings draw in.
I love working with tweed, it is so soft and easy but can fray, so I made sure all the appliqué was backed – it is much easier to draw the outline on the fusible interfacing first then adhere the pattern to the fabric – then cut out it seals the edges much better.
I took a square of fabric, and added a contrasting border – adding side strips first then adding the top and bottom. It was approximately 3 inch strips of pink tweed.
Taking the hill template, I cut the background green then added the fabric strips on top, I loved the flower cotton and the curved edges added to the overall effect. The pathway was from beautiful textured tweed, which is why this is such a delight to work with. After attaching the hill to the cushion top I simply added decorative stitched lines in green to continue the flow – it looks just like an upturned umbrella!
The top of the cupcake was made in layers, first I mad the little window, using a reverse appliqué technique topped off with a little machine embroidery.  I added a little roof topping and used black stitching to give the child like drawing to the project.
The cupcake base had a little curved door and I used stitching lines to indicate the folds in the cupcake adding two more windows. Then it was a case of layering it onto the backing fabric
I found a delightful tiny heart shaped button in my stash that made a lovely door handle. As you can see I was considering using a different background while I was at this stage but in the end decided on the pale blue – I was concerned that the cupcake would not stand out enough but I resolved that by using the black stitching.
After backing the cushion with wadding, I quilted a cloud with the sun just peeping behind, using a simple zig zag stitch. I used crayons to increase the shading slightly to give a hint of colour change.
So the top was ready, I machine stitched the edges down now that the cushion had some backing it gave a lovely quilted effect, I followed the edge of the appliqué shape as well which gave it a little more depth. I also stitched my ‘cherry’ red button to the top.
I felt a button closure was more important and used these lovely wooden buttons from a stash I bought in a charity shop. I always find it easier to mark out the button gaps before stitching otherwise I end up with the gaps either too big or too small! It also means that I have a good spacing, which tends to go awry when I do it by eye! As it was a gift I wanted to get it right!
So here is the finished cushion, I found it hard to part with it! Maybe I should make one for me too now!