DIY: Applique Cushions (Part 1)

Recently, the owner of the gallery/gift shop where I sold my handmade jewelry mentioned that she was short of a maker to supply her with textiles for her shop. (Er, hello? Did I mention I sew?) Not being one to overlook an opportunity, I whipped these up for her….I’ve split the how to for this into 2 parts because I didn’t want to make it too long (there are lot’s of photos!) So part 1 concerns creating the applique front. Part 2 (to follow) will concern the actual construction of the cushion cover itself…

I made 3 cushions with different slogans in a simple envelope style using pure wool or the main fabric and cotton for the appliques….

I used fabrics that I already had in my stash. Because this was kind of a product testing excercise (basically to see if she liked them and if they would sell. BTW when she saw them, she said “Oooh, the girl can stitch alright!” Which made me just a teeny bit proud! It’s nice sometimes to have an objective endorsement of your skills don’t you think? 🙂 I didn’t want to fork out any extra cash for this project when I already had a bulging stash (don’t be smutty!). The most expensive fabric here is the seersucker which cost me £3 from a charity shop. Applique is such a good way to use up little scraps too. The yellow fabrics are leftovers from a baby quilt project…

Aside from fabrics and the usual sewing equipment, you’ll need some backing for the appliques. I used Vliesofix/Wonder Under. I bought it at £3.20 a metre from Dunelm Mill at Thurrock. but I can’t find it on their website. I did however find this online supplier…(actually it’s quite an interesting looking independent supplier whose wares I shall be perusing at length when I get a chance…hmmmmm). Essentially it is paper backed iron on interfacing. When you peal the backing off it reveals a second adhesive layer that allows you to fix your applique to your main fabric….brilliant stuff…

Begin by finding a font you like (I chose Berlin Sans FB) and print off the individual letters you need for your design. You’ll need to measure your cushion to decide what size you want your letters to be. My cushion is 16″ x 16″ and I opted to fit 4 letters on each front. So each letter for my cushions needed to fit WITHIN an 8″ x 8″ square. I wanted my letters to pretty much fill the whole cushion front so my letters are quite large. But if you want your appliques more centred, then think about seam allowances etc…

Trace the letters onto the PAPER side of the Wonder Under. Make sure you print/trace non symmetrical letters back to front as the paper side will become the underside of your applique…

Roughly cut out your letters leaving a small border…

With paper side UP (so sticky side DOWN) lay your letters on the WRONG side of your applique fabric. Press with a dry medium iron…

Here are all my pressed letters ready to cut out…

Once they have cooled, cut them out accurately, following the lines on the paper side…

Check you are happy that they all fit how you want them to on your cushion front. I did it at this stage because, if you need to trim a bit off here and there to make them fit how you want, then it’s easier to do that with the paper backing still in place…

Once you’re happy, peel off the paper backing to reveal the adhesive underneath…

TIP: It’s tricky to find an edge to start peeling. So carefully insert a pin inbetween the paper backing and the fabric. Use the pin to lift and tear the paper backing slightly to get you started…

Arrange appliques back on cushion front, cover with a cloth and press all over in 8-10 second bursts. The manufacturers instructions say to do this with steam. Since I was working with pure wool, I used a dry iron and it worked fine. Just sayin…;)

The adhesive will temporarily secure your appliques to the backing fabric….

Then you need to topstitch/edgestitch them down in order to secure them permanently….

I’d recommend not back stitching at the start or finish, as the stitching line is a decorative detail. So stop stitching as soon as you meet the start of your stitching line, overlapping by one stitch only and leaving a long thread tail…

Pull threads through to the underside. Tie off with a tailors knot, burying the thread tails between the backing fabric and applique….

And there you have your finished cushion front, with all appliques neatly secured….

Check back on Wednesday for how to construct a simple envelope cushion  🙂

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+


  1. Ooooh my mate just bought her first house..this would be a great idea 🙂

    • Miss P April 17, 2013

      Ooooh, I want a mate like you to make me stuff!

  2. Helen Made April 15, 2013

    These look great! Might be making these myself when I have a moment!

    • Miss P April 17, 2013

      Ooooh, do let me know how they turn out!

  3. MrsC (Maryanne) April 15, 2013

    Lovely stuff. A top tip for saving ink when printing out things for patterns – set the font to Outline. It’s in the Font window as an option. I learned this the had way when burnign through paper trying to get the letters I wanted for another project.
    So what else are you going to make for her shop? Such a great opportunity! And man is she lucky to have you in her town 🙂

    • Miss P April 17, 2013

      Mrs C, you are totally right! I’m such a “waster” sometimes! Why didn’t I do that, doh!?
      Have some more cushions planned…maybe some smaller sewn accessories too…
      It could turn into a nice little sideline!
      Where can I find your TV stuff? I’ve yet to see it and would love to!
      Perhaps you could email me directly?

  4. Nelesc April 16, 2013

    These are great! I am not a a home decor type of person but this might make me a believer. Thanks for sharing!

    • Miss P April 17, 2013

      Thanks Nelesc! You should check out my “Cushions” board on Pinterest. Some lovely ideas from all over the blogosphere 🙂

  5. Dorothy's Factory April 17, 2013

    Świetne poduchy!!!
    Super pomysł:)

    • Miss P April 17, 2013

      Podziękowania Dorothy! Miło cię!

  6. hapizah mohd yusof June 23, 2014

    Good sharing. thanks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *