Leaf Mosiac Cushion

Materials

  • Lots of tiny scraps of fabric (all less than 1in square) in a variety of shades of cream, red, brown and green – approximately 180 are required
  • 50cm dark blue cotton
  • 50cm square of cotton for backing fabric (can be any colour as it will not be seen)
  • 50cm square of ultrasoft iron in Vilene
  • 50cm square of wadding
  • 2m bias binding (Gillian used ready made 5/8in binding, but you could make your own)
  • Fabric glue
  • 45cm square cushion pad

Finished Size

43 x 43cm (17 x 17in)

Skill Level

Beginner

You can download a copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Leaf Mosaic Cushion

Getting Started

  1. Cut a 18 1/2in square from the dark blue cotton and the Vilene. Press the WS carefully onto the Vilene, ensuring that it has totally stuck. This will help stabilise the fabric while you are machining on the scraps.
  2. Sort out your scraps into three main colour groups: cream/white for the outline, red/brown for the leaf and green for the background.

Making the Cushion Top

  1. Lay the dark blue cotton onto a flat surface RS up. Mark a 17in square in the middle (i.e. 3/4in in from each edge). This will be the final size of the cushion, so do not place any of your scraps outside this line.
  2. Using Figure 1 as a guide, layout the cream and white scraps into an outline of leaf on the dark blue cotton.
Figure 1
Figure 1: Layout of basic leaf shape

Handy Hint - A blob of water soluble glue on the back of each fabric helps keeps them in place while you position and sew them down

  1. Once you are happy with your shape, fill in the leaf with the red and brown pieces. Gillian discovered that laying them out in rows was more pleasing than a random pattern, but try both to see which you like best. She also put all the reds on one side and all the browns on the other.
  2. Finally place your green scraps in a pleasing arrangement outside of the leaf outline.
  3. When you are happy with your layout, gently lift each scrap and put a small dot of fabric glue underneath it to hold it in place whilst you sew them on. Gillian tried using pins, but they distorted the fabric too much.
  4. Carefully machine each scrap in place by sewing in lines. Try and ensure that you only go through each scrap once and that the lines echo your layout (i.e. sew through all the pieces of the leaf outline in one line). The edges of the scraps are not finished, but left loose to fray and move. If you prefer them to be permanently stuck down, try using bonding powder instead of fabric glue.

Quilting

  1. Layer the backing fabric with the wadding and finally the cushion top on the top. Smooth out. Tack the three layers together using a large running stitch in a contrasting thread (this makes it easier to remove).
  2. Machine around each scrap, trying not to sew through it, to give a mosaic like effect.
  3. Trim the top to 17 1/2in, try and keep the leaf pattern centred on the square.

Making up the cushion

  1. From the remaining dark blue fabric cut two pieces 12 x 17 1/2in. Fold over 1in along one edge of each piece (to give two pieces 11 x 17 1/2in) and press. Stitch in place, to make a folded back. Rather than a simple folded back, you could always insert a zip or use buttons to complete your cushion cover.
  2. Place one rectangle on the cushion top wrong sides together. Align the non hemmed sides of the rectangle with three of the cushion top sides. Pin in place. Place the other rectangle on the cushion top aligning its non hemmed sides with the opposite sides of the cushion top. Pin in place. Stitch round all the edges, by hand or machine, using a 1/4in seam allowance.
  3. Hand sew the binding round the edges of the cushion, ensuring that the seam has been covered on both sides (trim down if necessary). To make the rounded corners, mark 1in from the corner on both sides with a pin and use this to guide the bend.
  4. Insert cushion pad into the cushion, sit back and relax with a nice cup of tea
Look carefully at this cushion:
each scrap used is of a
different material.
Look carefully at this cushion: each scrap used is of a different material.

First published in Popular Patchwork November 2006