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What to do with a bag of scraps?

We live in a lovely little village, not quite a hamlet because, by definition, a hamlet doesn’t have a church.

We have a church. And a village hall. Nothing else.

The pub is a twenty minute walk away in the next village which is great in the Summer. Not so on a cold, wet Winter’s evening when you fancy a pint.

I digress. The point is, being a small community of just 91 dwellings, people are friendly and generous and generally get on rather well. (Remember those flowers?)

A few weeks back, I had an email from an artist living in The Old Stables asking me if I would like first dibs on some textile-y things as she was having a clear out of her studio. Of course, I jumped at the chance and popped round that afternoon to have a look. I ended up coming home with a car load of stuff from fabric remnants a few yards long to tiny 4″ squares of silk oddments.

After being quite strict with myself, I kept only what I knew I would definitely use and, with her permission, bagged up the remainder for the charity shop.

There was also a bin liner stuffed to the brim with feather cushion pads which is where I made a start.


No.1 Son is now twenty-three, has his first post-graduate job and is saving hard for a deposit for his own house. He is also amassing quite a ‘bottom drawer’ in readiness for his new home, the most recent being this cute little Edwardian armchair from eBay.


Anyway, amongst the things I found when rooting through the stash of goodies I had been given, was a square of fabric from Anthropologie. Possibly a (very large) napkin in its original incarnation, it was unused with the store tag still attached.


A little bit too ethnic for my taste, I asked said son if he liked it and would he like me to make him a cushion cover from it. Having received a ‘yes’ on both counts, I set to.

There was a small carrier bag full of bits of top quality wool tweed in several shades of grey which were pretty useless on their own, but which I could see (!) would piece together to make a nice back to the cushion.


See? They go together quite well.


I patchworked some strips together until I had a square measuring 20″, the same as the front.


Then, because it still looked exactly like what it was – scraps of fabric sewn together – I added some detail in the form of turquoise top stitching along all the seams.



It was still a bit ‘functional’ so I thought a few appliquéd swirls wouldn’t go amiss.




And a few more….


There, that’s enough. Now it looks more like a piece of textile art than leftovers!


Using some turquoise linen (left over from this dress), I covered some piping cord in a shade that would pick out the blue in the Anthropologie napkin. See, there was a reason for choosing turquoise?!


Piping was basted on first…


…then a random zip from my collection was inserted.


The zip was too long so I shortened it by sewing a new ‘stop’.



Sew round the remaining three sides, turn inside out and – TADAH!


A tip is to make the cushion cover slightly smaller than the size of the feather insert, then it stays nice and plump like this.


The turquoise piping ties the front in with the back.


Actually, there’s not really a front or back as both sides are deserving of top spot!



I thought it looked quite at home in our lounge and said as much – at which point it was “Thanks, Mum” and whisked off to No.1 Son’s bedroom before I got too attached to it!