A little while ago my mother asked me to make her new cushions for her couch. For me, that was the perfect reason to try some different patchwork patterns. I started looking for patterns on the Internet and I found several lovely free patterns on the Art Gallery Fabrics website. To make sure that the cushions go well together despite using different patterns, I used the same fabrics and colour combinations for all four cushions. Let’s take a closer look at sewing patchwork cushions!
Before we start you might want to make yourself comfortable and grab a drink because this is maybe the longest blog post I’ve written so far. Not to mention the overload of photos… enjoy!
The Fabric Selection
Every sewing project starts with selecting the fabrics! And I have to admit that selecting the fabrics actually might be one of my favourite parts of a project. When I made these cushions I was just taking my first steps in the patchwork world. After sewing a table runner and making patchwork placemats (for which you can find the free tutorial here), it was time to try sewing patchwork cushions.
I had heard a lot about working with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen by Robert Kaufmann. The fabrics are a combination of cotton and linen which makes the feel of the fabric a little different. These yarn-dyed fabrics are made using two different colours of thread which adds depth and texture no a project.
I combined Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in the colour Olive for these cushions with several Pure Solids by Art Gallery Fabrics. I picked warm ochre and berry colours. The colours are listed below. You might actually recognise this combination of solids because these exact same colours were the fabric selection of the November 2020 subscription box of Das Mach Ich Nachts. I ordered my fabrics and thread here too.
Shown above are AGF Pure Solids in Dried Roses, Sugar Plum, White Linen, Blushing, Miami Sunset, Weathered Brick, Lemon Tart, Raw Honey and Golden Bronze (from top to bottom).
Isn’t this combination beautiful? I’m not sure whether I would have selected them myself, but seeing these colours together makes me very happy!
And for sewing patchwork cushions you need thread as well. I used Aurifil 50wt thread in the colour Stone (2324) which is a perfect match to the Essex Yarn Dyed in the colour Olive but it is also enough of a neutral colour to go well with the solids. I used this yarn for piecing as well as quilting.
Sewing Patchwork Cushion Number One: Egress
The first pattern that I found on the Art Gallery website is called Egress pillow. With squares and strips, you create a grid then cut that on the diagonal and sew it into a pillow cover.
For my version I wanted the squares to be a little larger and I altered the size. I increased the squares to 3 ½ inches (3 inches finished) and I cut the strips 2 inches wide.
To make sure that the colours were placed randomly I laid out all the different squares. I took a quick photo with my phone before sewing the strips together. Then I pieced the strips into a giant square.
I used a very basic quilting pattern for this cushion, I used the same square pattern but placed it at a 45° angle.
Sewing Patchwork Cushion Number Two: Radiate
For the next cushion, I used a different technique. Cushion number one was made using the traditional piecing technique where you sew the individual pieces of fabric together in the right order. This one is made using the foundation paper piecing (FPP) technique. With this technique, you sew on a paper template and you remove the paper after finishing the block. This ensures straight and precise seems.
The pattern I used for this cushion is an adapted version of one of the patterns that came with the November 2020 subscription box of Das Mach Ich Nachts. The original cushion was a rectangle and I adapted the pattern to make it a square. The pattern resembles a string quilt, but this one is more regular with all fabric strips being the same width.
I started by cutting all the strips and I then laid them out on the floor to make sure that I was happy with the layout and that all the colours were spread evenly and randomly. Again I took a quick snapshot with my phone to make sure that I could put the squares back in the same order after sewing.
I joined the squares and because of the FPP, all corners lined up perfectly. This quilt top or cushion top also got very simple quilting. I just echoed the seams.
Sewing Patchwork Cushion Number Three: Wit
Sewing patchwork cushions is great when you want to try different things because the projects are relatively small. Wit is another free pillow pattern by Art Gallery Fabrics. The construction looks a little complicated, but it is not. Basically, you make four smaller blocks that are made out of half hexies (hexagons). After squaring up the four blocks you join them into one large block and there’s the cushion top. I had never worked with this shape before and it was fun to give it a try!
For all four cushions, I made digital mock-ups to decide where I wanted the colours to be. I did that for this cushion as well but I decided to alter the direction of the four smaller blocks. In the photo above you can see my digital mock-up in the top right corner. Can you see the two small bright spots in the middle of the cushion? I thought they looked a bit like eyes staring at you which I didn’t like. So I decided to rotate top and bottom and that’s how I joined them.
To be honest, I think I like my digital mock-up better. I should have stuck to my original plan because now I don’t really like the large greenish-brownish patch in the centre. Anyway…
Sewing Patchwork Cushion Number Four: Flying Geese Pillow
For the last of the four questions I, again, used a free pattern. The Flying Geese Pillow tutorial by Jordan Willis for Art Gallery Fabrics. This cushion is made with two variations of flying geese and the chevron effect is created by alternating the positions of the flying geese. Which is very clever.
Sewing flying geese is something that I wanted to practice a little bit more. I’ve made them before but I always find it difficult to end up with the right size. There are always a little bit too small. So, I figured that making a cushion completely out of flying geese would be a good way to practice. And it was because it turned out lovely.
Of course, I created a digital mock-up for this cushion too so that I knew exactly what I needed to cut and which colour combinations I needed to sew. Practising the geese was good because I did rather well sewing the flying geese this time. And everything came together quite nicely.
The quilting on this one again was quite simple. I just echoed the seams in the solid parts with ¼ inch distance to the seamline.
The Finished Cushions
And whoop there it is… a stack of patchwork cushions! Are you excited to see how they turned out? Let’s have a look!
So, here they are! Going clockwise and starting at the top left photo you see: Egress, Radiate, Wit and Flying Geese.
I’m so pleased with how they turned out and how well they go together despite the very different patterns that I used. And, most importantly, my mother is happy too!
The colours go really well with the leather sofa in my parents’ house. They provide a nice punch of colour but are not too bright.
I made them all the same size (about 18 inches square I think) and I only had to sew a small sashing around the Willis top to make it a similar size. All four cushions have a hidden zipper closure at the back and are filled with an IKEA Fjädrar cushion pad. The cushion pads are a tad bigger than the covers are and that makes them a bit plumper instead of flat. I like that!
They all turned out really beautiful and I had a lot of fun sewing patchwork cushions! My personal favourite is Radiate! Which one do you like best?