It's a Wrap

Materials

Based on 110cm (42in) wide fabric

  • 60cm (5⁄8yd) of metallic texture in red for backing and binding
  • 50cm (1⁄2yd) of metallic texture in dark cream for background
  • 10cm (1⁄8yd) of dark green crackle for leaves
  • 20cm (1⁄4yd) of star fabric for border
  • Scrap of dark red for berries, or use border fabric
  • 55cm (22in) square of cotton wadding
  • 35cm (14in) cushion
  • Invisible thread for quilting
  • Green variegated thread
  • Gütermann bobbin thread for satin stitch
  • Fusible web such as Bondaweb
  • Cardboard for templates

Finished Size

Will cover a 35cm (14in) cushion

Skill Level

Beginner

Cushion wraps are quicker and easier to make than zipped or poppered covers and our appliquéd holly leaf with 3D berries is a delightful blend of modern design with a traditional Christmas motif.

Getting Started

  1. Cut a piece of dark cream fabric for the background 17in (42cm) square. Draw a holly leaf shape onto card to use a template and cut it out.
  2. Use the holly leaf template to draw three leaves onto the smooth (paper) side of the fusible web, leaving about 1⁄2in (13mm) between each shape.
  3. Iron the fusible web to the wrong side of the green fabric, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Cut out the leaves exactly on the drawn line. Remove the backing paper by scoring lightly with scissors. Position on the backing fabric as shown in Figure 1 and press into place.

Appliqué the Leaves

  1. Using a narrow satin stitch, appliqué the leaves into position. Start on a curved edge near the centre of the pattern. Follow the curves carefully, changing direction at the corners. Work clockwise, and make sure that the needle is to the right when you rotate your fabric.
  2. Overlap your starting point slightly and finish the threads by pulling to the back and tying off. Repeat for all three leaves.

Handy Hints

For a better satin stitch you should use a bobbin thread in the bobbin, because this fine thread is less likely to pull through to the top.

Always test your satin stitch on some scrap fabric before starting your project.

If you wish, you can manually reduce the width of your satin stitch as you near the points of the holly leaves, to create a neater point. Widen them again as you move on.

Make the Berries

  1. Draw a 1 3/4in diameter circle onto card, to use as a holly berry template. Cut out and use the template to draw three circles on your dark red fabric. Cut out carefully.
  2. Sew a small running stitch all around the edge of each circle. Place a small piece of wadding on the wrong side and draw up the running stitch. Overstitch a few times to secure and help keep the shape.
  3. Stitch all three holly berries in place between the appliquéd holly leaves, as shown in Figure 1.

Left: Figure 1: Layout

Add the Border

  1. Cut two strips of star fabric 2 1⁄2in (6.5cm) wide and 17in (42cm) long. With right sides together, sew the strips to two opposite sides of the cream background square, with the edges even. Press the seam towards the border. Trim as necessary.
  2. Cut two strips of star fabric 2 1⁄2in (6.5cm) wide and 21in (53cm) long. With right sides together, sew the strips to the two remaining sides of the cream background square, with the edges even. Press the seam towards the border and trim.

Echo Quilting

  1. Cut a piece of red backing fabric and wadding 21in (53cm) square. Lay the backing fabric right side down and place the wadding on top.
  2. Place the cushion wrap face up on the top, making sure all the edges are level. Use quilter's safety pins to secure, or tack (baste) the layers together.
  3. Thread invisible thread in the top of your machine and red thread in the bobbin. Loosen off the top tension slightly and sew a few stitches on a scrap of similar fabric and wadding to test the tension.
  4. Echo quilting is like ripples of stitching flowing out from a central shape. This can be done with a free motion foot and the feed dogs down, or with a normal sewing foot on the machine and turning the top frequently.
  5. When you are happy with the tension on your piece of scrap fabric and wadding, echo quilt the design, starting from the centre, gradually working your way out to the edges as in Figure 2. Use the width of your sewing foot to help you keep the lines roughly the same distance apart.
  6. Your echo quilting could also be hand stitched with a cream thread. Try to keep your lines evenly spaced throughout.

Stitching the Binding

  1. Cut strips of metallic red 1 1⁄2in (3.5cm) wide and join with diagonal seams to make four binding strips 38in (97cm) long. The binding is applied separately to each edge and each binding extends at one end to create the ties.
  2. Part sew the first binding strip in place as follows. Place the binding with the right side against the cushion cover top and level with the edge and sew with a 1⁄4in (6mm) seam. Only sew the first 2in (5cm), roll it to the back and hand sew the binding for the first 1in (2.5cm) only.
  3. Sew the next binding strip in place, covering up the first end as you do so. Fold to the back, then fold and pin the raw edge under. Fold both ends of the loose binding under to create the ties.
  4. Stitch by machine just away from the edge to hold it in place. When you reach the edge of the cushion wrap, keep sewing along the tie making sure both ends are folded in neatly.
  5. Repeat for the other ties, working anticlockwise around the cushion wrap to cover each end in turn. When you work the last side, you will be sewing the piece that was partly stitched originally.
  6. Take a 35cm (14in) cushion and place it on the wrong side of the wrap. Fold the corners in and tie at the back. Turn it over and ... voila! a lovely Christmas cushion.
  7. If your existing cushions are different sizes you could adapt by making a larger wrap or have the corners of the cushions peeping through, the choice is yours


Figure 2: Echo Quilting

First published in Popular Patchwork December 2007