Friday, 13 September 2013

Going Purple Patchwork Crazy - and how it was made

Morning Everyone,

It's still morning here, just!

And it's Friday 13th!!! Hope you all get through the day without incident :)

I thought I'd not only show you the patchwork cushion that featured on my desk on Wednesday's WOYWW post now that it is finished, but also show a few photos of it in the making.
I realise it doesn't go well with the chair it's photographed on, but it was designed for a room decorated in shades of purple and white so it will look better there :)

The crazy style is a very old form of patchwork - the earliest example is reportedly from 12th century Venice, however it really became popular in the US in Victorian times. Although it is thought to be an ideal way of using up scraps of fabric I don't do that. Because I've not been sewing for years, I no longer have a box of leftovers and trimmings to work from. Instead, I'm working with a bunch of fat quarters bought at my local shop. And the advantage of that is that I can pick out colours and designs that are perfect for any project.

A goodly few of you have said that you might like to go crazy too, so here's a few photos to show how I make crazy patchwork ... it's not the only way it can be done, purists will probably shudder at this, but it's the way that works for me.
Stage 1- was to cut the central piece ... always a 5-sided irregularly shape - as large as required and including a ¼" seam allowance on all 5 sides. I use a Simplicity Simply Crazy template which can be seen in the Stage 3 photo. You can see the rows of embroidered stitches I've added, done in two colours of thread to add interest.
Stage 2 - cut a square a of calico to fit the size of cushion plus, in this case 16½", the ½" is for the ¼" seam allowance needed for all 4 sides. This is the base onto which the patchwork will be sewn. Cut odd shaped strips of fabric in a variety of widths to be sewn around the 5 sides of the centre piece.
Stage 3 - this is where the strips are sewn, always with a ¼" seam allowance, folded over, pressed and then top-stitched with a row of embroidery stitches ... traditionally this stage was done by hand. If your machine doesn't have fancy stitches then rows of zigzag stitching would be a lovely alternative. Before sewing on some of the strips I've layered a length of lace, just to add a bit more texture and interest to the cushion cover. Keep adding strips until the calico base is completely covered. Turn to the wrong side and trim the excess from around the edge of the calico base. In this photo you can see, lying on top, the plastic template used to cut the centre piece of fabric.
Final stage - I make an envelope style backing by cutting a piece of fabric, here it's the same plain purple as some of the strips, the same width as the calico base, 16½", and the length that measurement plus 5½" - total length 22". This is then cut in two pieces, one two-thirds, leaving the other measuring one-third. The next job is to finish off the edges that will form envelope closure by sewing a neat seam on one 16½" wide edge of each piece. To finish arrange all the pieces, right sides together, overlapping the backing to form the closure, and stitch around the 4 sides of the cover. Because I used cotton fabrics, some of which had a tendency to fray, I added a row of zigzag around the edges ... hopefully that will keep it all nicely together when laundered. Trim the corners, turn to right side, pushing out the corners, and give the cover a final press.

This is a quick and easy way of doing crazy patchwork so I hope with this post I have encouraged those of you who would like to make something similar to give it a go. I've seen even smaller and simpler projects - hearts, pot holders, tea cosies, make-up and toilet bags - which would make great starter projects. There's plenty of YouTube demos and fabulous blogs of patchworker/quilters where you can pick up ideas, tips and wrinkles ... they are all much more experienced and talented than I am too.

It was morning when I started to type up this post! It's afternoon now, so I'll wish you a very happy afternoon and hope you have a very enjoyable weekend lined up.

Take care and happy crafting,


Victoria said...

What a fabulous result! The cushion looks great!

tilly said...

I love your crazy cushion........ I have one half made like this using scraps but not to sure if I like it.... I think I needed larges scraps to work with...another day, another try lol, thanks for doing the tutorial, the one I followed turned in the raw edge and then fancy stitched to the right side.

Jo said... the colours & patterns you chose & thanks for the easy to follow instructions too!
hugs Jo x

Jackie said...

Gorgeous cushion, I love the purples :o)
Jackie xx

Rita said...

Beautiful cushion Elizabeth. I love the fabrics too. Hugs Rita xxx

Twiglet said...

Brilliant tutorial and totally gorgeous cushion - I am going to have a go!! x Jo

fairy thoughts said...

WOW that is fab Elizabeth I didn't get round much on wed /thurs I will look back later . This has given me the inspiration for the final wall hanging in my bedroom, lookout for it on my desk in the next few weeks or before as I'm fired up right now

Neet said...

Love the fabrics you have used. Do you know what this reminds me of? Iris folding.
I really do like this so will go back, read your instructions and who knows ...
Hugs, Neet xx