The V&A Shop have just launched a new range of fabrics inspired by the V&As archive and produced by Westminster Fibers. The fabrics are available by the metre or in handy single packs of 'fat quarters' (a quilting term) They really are beautiful and I wanted to use them in some way, but I don't sew. Casting aside painful memories of failing a home-ec patchwork cushion project when I was 12 (it was in late 80's grey & pink to match my bedroom... it fell apart even as I was finishing it) I made this a 'no-sew' project. I wanted to prove that you can make the most of beautiful fabrics even if you don't have a sewing machine and are no friend of needle and thread.
What you will need:
16" square cushion pad
2 x fat quarters
About 170 inches of wonder web
1. Start by ironing both fat quarters on the reverse to get out the creases from the packaging. I chose two pieces of fabric in the same palette, with the pattern on one repeated in the other.
2. To join the two pieces together, turn over a half inch piece of one fabric and iron flat. I find this helps to line up the wonder web. Place a length of wonder web on the right side of the fabric. Place the second piece of fabric on top and iron over a damp cloth to bond.
If you have a decent steam iron you may not need to use the damp cloth as well, I just find it binds easier using the cloth combined. The join should look like this. Just iron it flat when it's bonded.
This is the same join, right side up:
3. Next, hem the short sides. I turned the hem and ironed it flat before turning again and ironing again. Then I sandwiched the wonder web between the folds to give a neat edge. Once the short sides are done, repeat with one of the long sides. Before you hem the last side, you're going to need to trim it a little. I cut it to 18 inches so that when the other side is hemmed the finished width is just over 16 inches (the size of the cushion pad)
If you're using a different size pad, this is how you measure, from seam to seam.
At this point extra 'help' may be offered, this is one of my tabbies, Tjia, making sure I'm doing the measuring right!
4. Once you've trimmed the fabric to size hem the last side and re-press all the corners to flatten them.
5. Once you have hemmed the whole piece of fabric fold one side over, about 3/4 of the way up and fold the opposite side over the top. I measured to make sure the fabric was square at about 16.5 inches.
6. Now to put the whole thing together. I found it easier to cut a 2 inch piece of wonder web and bind the small overlap first.
7. Next, I cut a piece of wonder web the length of the cushion to bind the whole side length together. Repeat both steps on the other side, leaving and opening across the middle.
8. Once the fabric has cooled, check the seams are secure. I found I needed to re-press in some places, especially the corners. When you're happy with the cover, carefully turn it inside out and push out the corners. It's now ready for the cushion pad to be inserted.
This is the cushion 'right side out' looking rather good against crisp white sheets.
This is the reverse of the cushion. The envelope closing is quite snug so it looks just as good from the 'back'. I'm keeping on my reading chair I think, with the Peacock fabric as the predominant pattern.
The fabric I used was Peacock in tan & Tree Buds in tan but as the fabrics are all grouped in one of five palettes, it's easy to choose two that go together well. If you don't want a two-fabric finish, use a metre of fabric cut to size and hemmed. You could also fold the fabric at a different point before bonding the long sides together so that the top of the envelope closure is right at the top of the pad, meaning each side only shows one pattern. See the full range of fabrics here and to see more projects and ideas, check out the V&A Shop Facebook Page.