Use foundation piecing to sew this pretty heart cushion
in a bright bouquet of tiny floral prints
- A selection of at least twelve 10 x 12in pieces of floral fabrics
- 70cm (3⁄4yd) cream or cream-on-cream
- 10cm (3⁄8yd) floral fabric for piping
- 2m (2 1⁄4yd) piping cord
- Two 50cm (20in) squares backing fabric, these will not be seen so calico is fine
- Two 50cm (20in) squares wadding
- Cream machine quilting thread
- 40cm (16in) zip
- 46cm (18in) cushion pad, or slightly larger if you like a plump cushion
- Lightweight interfacing or paper for foundations
Approx 46cm (18in) square
Where to buy
Regan used a selection pack of fourteen long eighths of Liberty fabric. Visit www.liberty.co.uk for more information about Liberty fabrics. Or you might have suitable scraps in your stash; you need a variety of 1in wide floral strips from 1in to 4 1⁄2in long.
Handy Hint If you are using scraps from your stash and don't have enough fabric to piece the back, or would prefer a plain back, use a 20in square of fabric that coordinates with the cushion front.
- From the floral fabrics, along the longest edge, cut one 3 1⁄2in wide strip and 1in wide strips from the remainder. Cross-cut the 3 1⁄2in wide strips to give a total of thirty-six 3 1⁄2in squares, making sure you have a good mix; leftover fabric can be used for further 1in wide strips if needed.
- From the piping fabric, cut two 1 1⁄4in wide strips across the width of the fabric.
- From the cream fabric, carefully cut the following:
- Seven 1in wide strips cut across the width of the fabric
- Four 3in squares
- Two 1 1⁄2 x 3in rectangles
- Two 3 x 5 1⁄2in rectangles
- One 4 x 5 1⁄2in rectangle
- Two 2 x 14in strips
- One 2 1⁄2 x 18 1⁄2in strip
- One 3 x 18 1⁄2in strip
HOW TO FOUNDATION PIECE
- Foundation piecing is a very accurate form of patchwork. The patches are stitched onto a template that is an exact copy of a quilt block or part of a block and the foundation template can be drawn or printed onto paper, fabric or interfacing.
- If you are new to this technique, cut pieces of fabric approximately 3⁄8–1⁄2in bigger than the finished patch.
- For a permanent foundation that is left in the work, use lightweight interfacing. For a temporary foundation that can removed before layering and quilting, use paper.
- Trace the foundations onto your foundation material: transfer the numbers and the colours onto the foundation too.
- As the patches are sewn to the reverse of the foundation, the units are the mirror image of the printed side.
- The needle has to pierce several layers of fabric and dulls quite quickly, so replace your needle regularly.
- If you are using a temporary foundation, use a smaller stitch than usual so that the seams don’t come apart when you remove the foundation.
- Place fabric piece 1 right side up on the reverse (unprinted side) of patch 1 of the foundation. Place fabric piece 2 right side down on top of fabric piece 1, ensuring it will cover patch 2 of the foundation when pressed back. Pin to secure.
- Flip the template over and stitch on the line between patches 1 and 2 on the printed side of the foundation, sewing a few extra stitches each side of the line to secure.
- Trim the seam to 1⁄8–1⁄4in and finger press back. Continue in this manner adding the pieces in the numerical order indicated on the foundation.
Figure 1: Square block layout: Block 1
- Trace eighteen copies of the square Block 1 foundation, as provided on the pattern sheet, onto your foundation material. See Figure 1.
- Trace one rectangular Block 2 foundation and one reverse rectangular Block 3 foundation, as provided on the pattern sheet, onto your foundation material. See Figures 2 and 3.
- Piece the blocks as described in 'How to foundation piece' using the 1in wide floral and cream strips.
- Lay out the pieced blocks and cream squares and rectangles as shown in Figure 4. Join the units in vertical strips. For the central units, first join the four square pieced blocks either side of the central cream rectangle and then join vertically. Join the strips to create the cushion centre.
- Join a 2 x 14in cream strip to either side of the cushion centre. Join the 3 x 18 1⁄2in cream strip to the top and the 2 1⁄2 x 18 1⁄2in cream strip to the bottom.
- If you have used a temporary foundation such as paper, remove it at this stage. Give the cushion front a good press.
(Left) Figure 2:Rectangular block layout: Block 2, (Right) Figure 3: Reverse rectangular block layout: Block 3
Figure 4: Cushion front layout
- Lay out the 3 1⁄2in floral squares in six rows of six squares, distributing the colours evenly.
- Right sides together, join the squares in pairs. Join the pairs of each row on their short edges to give six strips of six blocks each. As you work, press the seams of each row in alternate directions.
- Join the rows, pressing the seams in one direction throughout.
QUILTING AND FINISHING
- Place both backing fabric squares wrong side up on a clean flat surface, followed by the wadding and then on one the cushion top and on the other the cushion back. The backing and wadding are slightly larger than the top and back. Secure the quilt sandwiches with tacking or quilters' pins placed at regular intervals.
- Using cream thread, Regan stipple-quilted the cushion top using a free-machined vermicelli design. On the back, using a walking foot, she stitched straight lines diagonally through the blocks.
- Join the piping fabric strips at right angles; trim the 'ears' and press the seam open to reduce bulk. Place the piping cord in the centre of the wrong side of the strip and wrap the fabric over the cord, matching up the long raw edges; using a piping foot, stitch as close to the piping as possible.
- Working from the front of the cushion top, starting at the bottom of the panel and matching up the raw edges, pin the piping in place, gently 'rounding' the corners; stitch in place. Before completing, neaten the raw end where you started with a straight cut. Then undo the stitching of the piping fabric at the other end and trim the piping cord so it meets up exactly with the starting piece of cord. Fold under the piping fabric to cover the raw ends and place the ‘tail’ over the cut end; complete your stitching.
- Matching up the raw edges and centring the zip, place the right side of the zip against the right side of the bottom edge of the cushion front panel. Pin and then stitch in place as close to the piping and zipper teeth as possible. Repeat for the other side of the zip and the cushion back. The cushion front and back are now joined by the zip.
- Open the zip a little. Matching up the raw edges, place the cushion front and backs right sides together and pin. Using a zipper foot, stitch all round the three un-joined sides and at each end of the zip seam to neaten; keep as close to the piping as possible.
- Trim the corners, open the zip fully and turn the cushion right side out. Fill with the pad, close the zip and plump up your lovely cushion.
First published in Popular Patchwork April 2011