If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I recently moved house – what a great excuse to spend loads of time obsessing over DIY décor projects! First up, I designed a patchwork Harris tweed cushion for my leather sofa. The good thing about this cushion is that it makes use of fabric offcuts. If you’re anything like me, you probably have drawers full of offcuts that you’ve collected over the years. Might as well make use of them, hey?!
What you’ll need
- A cushion, preferably a plump feather-filled one.
- Tweed, and a lot of it! There are plenty of offcuts available online or at haberdashery stores. I bought a pack of Harris tweed pieces on eBay for £10 (persistance is key!).
- Heavyweight fabric for the back of the cushion.
- Buttons (or alternatively, you can use ribbon, velcro, poppers or a zip).
- A sewing machine and complimentary cotton thread.
What to do
1. Cut out a number of tweed patches and arrange them into the shape of your cushion. Don’t forget to include seam allowances on each individual piece of fabric (approx 2 cm) and also on the outside edges of the cushion (add another 2 cm width around the edge of your template).
2. To make the patchwork, begin by sewing the tweed pieces into strips. Just put two pieces together, facing inwards, and sew along one edge, then unfold along the sewn edge.
3. When you have made all of the strips, sew them together in the same way as step 2 (along the longer edges) to join them all into one piece. This can be a bit tricky, as some parts involve sewing through 4 layers of tweed – make sure your sewing needle can handle it!
4. Cut out two pieces of fabric for the cushion backing. One should be approx 3/4 width of the cushion and the other should overlap this by approximately 10cm. You now need to hem the edges of the backing fabric pieces, so that they won’t fray. You only need to hem the two edges that will overlap (ie the ones that will make the hole into which the cushion is inserted), since the other edges will be sewn to the tweed front.
6. With the edges hemmed, pin the pieces together along the hemmed edges, leaving a 5 cm overlap. Do not sew it!
7. Put the backing piece on top of the tweed patchwork front (both should be facing inwards), and pin in place.
8. Sew all the way around the edge of the two pieces to join them together. DO NOT sew the middle, as this will be the hole into which the cushion is inserted.
9. Remove all of the pins and turn the cushion inside out, through the hole that you didn’t sew. Check if your cushion fits – it looks best if it’s a snug fit, with no droopy fabric around the outside. If your cover is a little big, just turn it inside out again and repeat step 7, but sew a little further in.
10. When your cushion cover is the perfect size, just add some buttons and button holes to the back and insert the cushion.
11. Optional: Sewing button holes can be a little tricky, so you could alternatively use poppers, velcro, ribbon or a zip.
I LOVE my new tweed cushion. It’s the perfect balance of rustic gentlemanliness and quirky craftiness! If you’re going to make your own (you totally should), my main piece of advice would be: take your time, don’t rush it. Plan your design carefully, then sew as neatly as you can, keeping all of the patches aligned. Harris tweed is designed to last, so this project really can lead to a good quality, durable and long lasting tweed cushion.