Patchwork Cushion // Cut and Sew Your Fabric For the Checkerboard Cushion

So thanks for sticking with me through some sewing basics. Today its time to start a simple sew project. By now you should have what you need to make 2 cushions. We will start with the top for the checkerboard cushion. This tutorial will results in a classic patch used in many quilts, so you can easily use these instructions to make patches to sew together to make a larger project if you fancy it. Today we will just start with one.

Prepare Your Fabric
You should have 1m of lining fabric and then 2 fat quarters of fabric for the checkerboard. If you haven't already you will need to wash this fabric before you start cutting, once it's dry iron it ready. You need to cut your two fat quarters in half, one half will be used for this cushion and the other for the half square triangle cushion. You may have bought 1.25m of fabric to be both your lining and 1 colour for the checkerboard. If you did this then cut off the extra 25cm of fabric and cut this in half to give you two halves of fat quarters.

Make a Pattern
Once your fabric is ready you need to make your self a pattern, or a template for the shape and size of the pieces you need to cut out. On some normal paper (I use greaseproof paper from the kitchen because its bigger) draw a rectangle that measures 2 1/2" by 20". Cut it out.

Cut Your Pattern Pieces Out of the Fabric
Now draw around your rectangle pattern piece 4 times onto both of your half fat quarter pieces. Then using your fabric scissors cut these out:

You should now have 8 strips of fabric, 4 from each colour.

Start Sewing
You can now start to sew these together. Start by putting one black piece right sides together with one white piece and pinning into place:

Then use a 1/4" seam allowance to sew along one of the long sides:

Now open out the two pieces. Take another white rectangle and line right side and a long edge up with the right side of the other long edge of the black piece, pin and sew using another 1/4 inch seam allowance. Keep on adding your rectangles, alternating colours, until you have something that looks like this:

Press your Seams
To get your cushion top looking sharp and neat you are going to need to press the seams. When quilting the general rules for pressing seams are to
1. Press towards the dark side and
2. Press in alternating directions.
It won't always be possible to do both of these so you have to work out which is more important. We press towards the dark side so that you can't see the darker fabric seam showing through on the front. We press in alternating directions so that when you come to sewing several seams together at a corner point they will lie nice and flat.

On this occasion we can do both. So at every seam, using your hot iron and ironing board, press the seam towards the dark side. Avoid using steam because it can distort the shape of the pattern pieces. When you are done you should have a patch that looks like this from the back:

And when you turn it over your patch will be lovely and flat and your seams beautifully crisp:

Turn Stripes into Check
Now I know so far that this doesn't look much like a checkerboard. Well quilters try to be very thrifty with their time by minimising the steps they need to do. To turn this into a checker board we need to get our pattern piece (the paper rectangle) and use it to cut strips of the same width (2 1/2") across:

Cut all the way along until you have 8 strips:

Now you can turn every other strip upside down:

And you can see how the checkerboard will start to form. Put every second strip right sides together with the strip before it and stitch along one long edge with you 1/6" seam allowance:

Open these out and each pair, with right sides together, with another pair:

Then open these out and sew these two together along one side with a 1/4" seam allowance:

Now you have sewn it all together you just need to give all your seams a final Press. This time you won't be able to follow both rules but you can press in alternating directions to give you this:

And give it a good press from the front side too to give you a lovely checkerboard patch:

Easy as that! Even mine hasn't matched up quite perfectly but you should definitely be on your way to making yourself a patchwork cushion. Yippee! On Tuesday I will go through how to make the half square triangle patches. Zoe xx

Patchwork Cushion // What You'll Need

YEY!  We have finished an introduction to sewing in Sewing School! Now its time to start making something. Woohoo! I have given you a list of ideas to work on but this tutorial is going to be broken down into bite sized chunks so even the most apprehensive learner will be able to take it all in. Over the next few weeks I will be going through the steps to make these two patchwork cushions. Mine are very simple black and white but you can make them from any fabric you like.

The first cushion is the checker board cushion:

And I'll also be sharing instructions for making a 'half square triangle' cushion:

To make both cushions you will need:

1 Fat Quarter (quarter of a metre) of fabric 1
1 Fat Quarter of fabric 2
1 Metre of fabric to line and back the cushions
2 16 inch square cushion pads
Coordinating thread
Sewing Machine and other basic supplies

My fabric 1 is the black fabric, my fabric 2 is white and I also used white for the lining and backing. So altogether I had 1 fat quarter of black and 1.25m of white. When choosing your thread choose a colour that match the darker of your two fabrics, so I used black thread. When you get your fabric make sure you prewash them to prepare them for sewing.

This is how the steps will be broken down:
1. Cut and Sew your fabric for the checkerboard cushion
2. Cut and Sew your fabric for the half square triangle cushion
3. Sew the lining onto your cushion top
4. Sew Up a Cushion

Come back on Friday and we can start cutting your fabric.  Zoe x

A Few Small Updates

Have you noticed anything different? Well probably not but I just wanted to highlight a few new things around here. I've been wanting to update my 'category pages' for a while to have more relevant headings for what I actually write about. So you can have a look through the new pages, Sewing School, Sewing Projects, Photography, Crafts and Food and it should be easy to find what you are looking for. Sorry if you were browsing through yesterday evening, that was when I was updating it all and it probably looked a little strange.

I also wanted to simplify everything a little and just opt for plain Black and White. Hopefully this will mean when I make something colourful it won't clash horribly with the header! But I plan to still be using lots of colour in my fabric choices and other posts. Enjoy the new site and have a look around through the category pages and tell me what you think. There are a few small alterations to come but I just need to get a good profile picture first! See you next week for making a Patchwork Cushion or two. Zoe x
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