Autumn Calm


  • 47cm (18 1⁄2in) square of main fabric; or buy 50cm (5⁄8yd) and make two!
  • 47cm (18 1⁄2in) square wadding
  • 47cm (18 1/2in) square of backing fabric; calico is fine
  • One fat quarter of contrast fabric for piping, optional
  • 1.8m (2yds) piping, optional
  • 40cm (1⁄2yd) for cushion back
  • 40cm (16in) cushion pad
  • Twin needle; check your machine's manual to find out which size you can use
  • Quilting thread

Skill Level


Finished Size

Approx 40cm (16in) square

This method of mock trapunto is very easy, using twin needlework on your machine. It is fun to do, very effective and looks quite sumptuous on silk with beads sewn on at the intersections.

Handy Hint Before you start quilting, make up a test layer to make sure your machine is set up correctly. Do not sew too quickly.


  1. Place the main fabric square right side up on a clean flat surface. Using a ruler and an erasable pencil, mark a grid of stitching lines. A good interval between the lines is 1 1⁄2in.
  2. Place the backing fabric right side down on a clean flat surface, followed by the wadding and then the marked main fabric square right side up. Pin to secure the layers.
  3. Referring to your manual, place a twin needle in your machine. Quilt the cushion top by following the grid lines first in one direction and then turn the cushion through 90 degrees and quilt the lines in the other direction. The marked lines should be in the centre of the twin needle as you sew.
  4. When you have finished quilting, trim your cushion top to 16 1⁄2in square and remove the twin needle from your machine.


Figure1: Joining the piping strips

  1. From the contrasting fabric, cut 2in wide strips on the bias. Join the strips at right angles, stitching at 45 degrees; press the seams open and trim the ears. You need a length of approx 70in. See Figure 1.
  2. Place the piping cord in the centre of the wrong side of the binding strip and then fold the strip in half, wrong sides together, to enclose the cord. Using a piping or zipper foot and stitching as close to the cord as you can, stitch the cord in place. See Figure 2.
  3. With the quilted panel right side up, starting at the centre of what will be the bottom edge and leaving approx 1⁄2in free, pin and then stitch the piping in place around the edge of the cushion. See Figure 3. Approx 3in before you get back to where you started, stop stitching. Trim the piping cord so the ends meet and trim the binding so the strips overlap, neatening the overlapping piece by turning under the raw end. Now finish stitching.

Left Figure 2: Making the piping, Middle Figure 3: Attaching the piping, Right Figure 4: Attaching the cushion backs

Handy Hint When stitching the piping in place at the cushion corners, snipping into the binding will help you to ease the piping into place. See Figure 3.


  1. From the cushion back fabric, cut two 12 1⁄2 x 16 1⁄2in rectangles. One long edge of each piece turn a 1⁄4in hem over to the wrong side, and then turn over again. Press and stitch in place.
  2. Place the cushion panel on a clean flat surface right side up and then place one of the cushion back pieces on top of it, right sides together and matching up the raw edges so the hem faces downwards. See Figure 4. Take the other cushion back piece and, right sides together and matching up the raw edges, place it on top of the cushion panel so the hem faces upwards. Pin the pieces in place. Your backing pieces will overlap. Then sew all round the cushion edge, stitching a second line where the backing pieces overlap, for extra strength.
  3. Now turn the cushion right side out through the hemmed edges and fill with the pad.

First published in Popular Patchwork September 2010