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Tufting a Chair Cushion

20 Mar

I recovered my glider cushions a couple of weeks ago, and was considering tufting the back cushion with fabric buttons.  I decided to go ahead and try it.  I made a tufted headboard a few years ago, and have to admit there is something completely satisfying about making fabric buttons. I think it’s because they are so quick and easy to make, and the buttons look great!

To make the buttons, I use a button kit that you can find at any fabric or craft store.


I had plenty of extra fabric from the cushion recovering project.  The button kit has a plastic template to trace the appropriate sized circles onto the fabric. I traced and cut out 9 circles to create 9 buttons.


To create the buttons, you place the metal button onto the circle of fabric and push it into the white button mold with the blue “push” tool.



You then fold the fabric into the inside of the button, and press in the button back with the blue push tool.


Here is what the buttons look like when complete.  It’s pretty much impossible to screw these up…I love them!


After I had the buttons made, I used a needle and thread to sew them into the cushion.  I first figured out the pattern and spacing on the cushion, and started sewing them in one at a time.  Because I wanted to keep my options open for the look of the cushion, I didn’t sew the buttons all the way through to the other side of the cushion fabric. I just sewed them through one of the two pieces of cushion I used to make the back cushion (see my original post for the cushion making details).  This allowed me to have one side tufted and one side smooth.

When I first tried pulling the thread through the cushion, the thread just cut right through, so I improvised and used a thin piece of cardboard from a cereal box in my recycling bin to give me a hard surface to hold the thread in place.  You can see that I started the stitch through the cardboard and cushion  and then pulled it back through the cushion and cardboard.


I pushed the needle back through to the top of the cushion, pulling the thread taut and knotted the thread before sewing through the button back and completing the button placement. This creates the tufted dimension for pulling the buttons into the cushion.


To finish, I knotted the thread on the back of the piece of cardboard.  This was repeated for each button until the cushion was complete:



Sweater Pillow

13 Nov

A couple weeks ago, I made some napkin pillows for my living room.  This week, I’m trying out another pillow option by re-purposing a sweater.  I’ve had a knit pillow on my knitting to-do list for ages, but figured this would be a quicker solution in the mean time.  I picked up this Men’s XXL cable sweater at a thrift store for $3.00.

I had picked up a lumbar pillow form from Ikea a while ago for a few bucks.  When I placed it on top of the sweater, the width of the pillow fit the width of the sweater perfectly, which meant I could use the existing side sweater seams for my pillow cover.

I used my rotary cutter to cut the sweater just below the sleeve line.  I decided to keep the finished bottom of the sweater and would figure out how I would close this side – maybe buttons, pins, or even a zipper.

Now all I had to do was sew the top seam.

I then inserted my pillow.  I’m going to play around with how I want to close the bottom of the pillow, but have left it as is for now.  Let me know if you have any ideas!

Here’s the finished pillow.


The Silver (or…baby blue) Lining

14 Aug

My go-to handmade baby gift is to knit up a hat.  They are cute and little, which usually means they are a quick and easy knitting project.  And my go-to baby hat book is Itty Bitty Hats by  Susan B. Anderson. My knitting group could probably start a fan club for the Itty Bitty Knitting books.  I think we all own at least one copy from her book collection, if not more.

I decided to go for a classic Ear Flap Hat (Inca Snowflake in Itty Bitty Hats) for my friend B’s impending arrival.  There’s nothing like some good ol’ road- trip-knitting to get me started (reason #357 why I love to knit: it’s mobile!).

Sometime’s I choose to skip the extra finishes in patterns, but I decided to go for the crocheted edge this time – as you can see below, it really helps the hat hold it’s shape (see the left earflap with edging vs. the messy curly right earflap) – and was also a good excuse to get reacquainted with my crochet hook (we’re long lost friends).

I also decided to line this hat with fleece to make it extra warm for Minnesota winter.  Did you know that fleece stretches only one way?  I learned this the hard way after cluelessly lining my nephew’s hat with fleece and then couldn’t get it on his sweet little head.  It’s important to plan your lining to accommodate some around-the-head stretch and room to grow.

To line the hat, I fold the fleece in half, and pin my hat to the fabric with one edge of the hat lined up with the fold.  Then I simply cut around the hat, leaving a small allowance (1/4″ or so) around the edge, and leaving the fold untouched.  The folded edge allows you to only  have one seam in the fleece lining, which I put in the back of the hat.

I then cut straight across the top of the lining, about an inch down from the top of the hat – this just keeps it simple.  Nobody sees the inside, right?

Once I have my lining cut out, I flip the hat inside out, and pin the lining in, trimming any excess fleece where my allowance was too much (better to have to much to trim, than to be short!).  Using a regular sewing needle and thread, I whip stitched my way around the outside, whip stitched the back seam of the fleece, and then did some pretty loose stitches across the straight top of the lining to allow for some wiggle room up there.

The lining not only gives a good dose of coziness, but it also adds some solid structure and color contrast to the finished piece.  For any yarn connoisseurs, this was my first time using Malibrigo (Rios Superwash Merino), and it lives up to it’s high user ratings.  Soft texture and a smooth knit!

Even if you’re not a knitter, crocheter, or general hat-maker, it’s easy to make any hat warmer by adding some fleece –  a simple band that goes around the lower ear-covering portion of the hat would be an easy fix for those day long snow fort adventures!