A Creative Day – Making Appliqued Cushions

I don’t know what it is about cushions that women in particular have a strong affinity with. Is it the fact that they make a place homely, comfortable, colourful, decorative?  Images of Caroline Quentin in her role  as the girlfriend in ‘Men Behaving Badly’ spring to mind when she finally moves in bringing along  her cushions and the bewildered faces of the men as to their appearance or purpose! Or when Brad Pitt as Mickey in ‘Snatch’ negotiates the need for scatter cushions in the caravan in periwinkle blue for his Mum! Or when we adorn our beds with cushions, only to throw them off again when we go to bed to put hem back on again in the morning! Do you recognise yourself here? I know I do.

Cushions are a great project for anyone who enjoys sewing, they can be simple or complex in design, made by a beginner or those with more experience, you can let your imagination run wild, and achieve a finished item in a relatively short space of time and end up with an item to be proud. There’s something quite satisfying about pummeling and plumping a cushion, yes I know I’ve been around soft furnishings for too long, at least I will have created my own padded cell!

Last week I ran an Appliqued Cushion Workshop in conjunction with Manor Farm Tea Shoppe at Bleasby, near Southwell Nottinghamshie and it really was a fun and creative day. The ladies that attended had a range of sewing skills, some with little experience through to those with a great deal of experience in a variety of crafts, but one thing they all had in common was a vast amount of enthusiasm Yipee!

It was quite an ambitious project to produce an appliqued cushion in the time available including: designing it from scratch; grappling with satin stitch and free-machine embroidery practice before working on the item to be produced; taking time out for a lovely relaxing lunch of a range of freshly made sandwiches, crisps and salad, followed by home baked scones with strawberries, jam and cream; learning how to cover buttons….phew! But the course attendees did not disappoint. They came up with a wide variety of design ideas, all beautifully sewn and although not everyone finished in the session they had developed the skills to do this, to put the final finishing touches at home.

Here is some of the work produced and I think you will agree the ladies did a pretty amazing job:


 Sarah loved designs with stamps and postcards. This was a first attempt at free-machining and her strong graphic design skills show through in this simple, bold design. I really liked the colour combinations chosen.


Jackie had experience of hand sewing but had done little machine sewing before but she cut and appliqued pre-printed images (broderie perse) to produce this quirky bird cushion. I have to say for someone who had not really used a sewing machine much, that the satin stitch applique was beautifully done and she also successfully tackled free-machine embroidery to draw the birds legs! Which just goes to show you never know what you can do until you try!


Sarah produced this lovely appliqued ‘home’ cushion and this was quite an ambitious project as letters can be quite difficult to sew using satin stitch on the machine especially the tight curves, but I think she did a great job.

Pam created this fantastic sunset cushion, including machining the sun rays on the water! It is still a work in progress but is shaping up nicely. I particularly liked how she has made the fabric work for her and the sewing is so neat.

  Caroline chose to use the technique of free-machine applique in her cushion design and after attending a couple of workshops the progress she has made over a short space of time has been incredible. Her choice of fabric to produce the pheasants feathers was perfect and very neatly executed. I can see a whole range of game bird appliqued cushions to follow!

  This lovely free-machine appliqued cushion made by Jackie makes my mouth water! It’s not surprising that she was inspired by cakes, the workshop being held at the purpose built function room at Manor Farm Tea Shoppe ! It is such a bright and colourful design and again very neatly sewn and even features a carefully selected fairycake fabric border, how’s that for attention to detail!

Well I for one had a really enjoyable day and I was really pleased by the high standard of work that was created and most important of all that the ladies enjoyed the day. So whether you are new to sewing, or have some experience and want to hone your skills why not join us for a creative day at Manor Farm Tea Shoppe in a relaxing environment. Please see my https://janelightfoot.com/events-and-workshops/ page for further information. Thank-you to all the lovely ladies that came along.