Evening folks!  I hope June has started well for you.  I’ve been busy making some new items as well as thinking about Father’s Day gifts as well as the Wedding Season.  I will add these new items to my shop over the coming weeks and will show you some of the wedding items at some point!  For today, with Father’s Day being just under three weeks away, I thought I’d share with you a tutorial so that you can make your Dad feel extra special on Father’s Day, by presenting him with a homemade, on trend Union Jack Cushion.  You can’t get much more patriotic than this eh?!  If you are reading this from elsewhere in the world, I’m sure this pattern can be easily adapted to feature your flag/fabric of choice!  This cushion could, of course, also be given as a Birthday gift, or simply ‘just because’!

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Union Jack Dad cushion Tutorial.Materials:

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1) BEFORE measuring, iron out any creases on your fabric, so that you can measure more accurately, therefore making assembly much easier.

2) Download and print the ‘Dad’ template using the link opposite.  I wanted my letters to be a little wider so I drew an additional 1/4 inch border inside the letters as shown below.  Cut out the letters (the D obviously only needs to be cut out once) then draw around them onto your blue felt, then cut the felt letters out and place to one side.

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3)  I like everything to be organised and to hand – if you’ve only just come across my blog, I have slight OCD tendencies…!  I’m sure these will become more apparent the more you read!! – so I now cut 20″ of blue ribbon (you will have some extra ribbon at each end to cut off, but I find it easier to have a little more than not enough!) and thread an embroidery needle with six strands of red thread (any thread is fine, I used DMC 115 stranded cotton from www.sewandsew.co.uk).

4) Choose one of the large Union Jack flags that measure approximately 18″ and mark a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the flag.  Using a ruler, join up the marks so that you have a rectangle measuring 18.6″ x 11.4″.  This will be the front panel of your cushion.  Place some old newspaper or scrap paper down then spray the back of the felt letters with a spray adhesive, such as 505 and place them onto this panel as shown.  I find that it’s best to wash your hands after this step as no matter how hard I try, I always seem to get the spray onto my fingers and I stick to everything!

5)  Either directly above or below your front piece of fabric, measure 18.6″ x 9″ to create another another rectangle.  It doesn’t matter too much where in the pattern this is, I think all of the sections look fab and a random mix on the back of the cushion looks kinda cool!  This piece will be the bottom back panel of the cushion.

6)  To complete your fabric pieces, you now need to cut one more rectangle, measuring 18.6″ x 7″, which will be the top back panel of your cushion.

7)  With your threaded needle, sew around the outside and inside of the felt lettering using a blanket stitch.  This is the most time consuming  stage of the project, yet is very relaxing and finishes the cushion off beautifully.
It’s easier to keep your threads tidy if you keep the lengths reasonably short (approx 30cm).  You’ll have to keep re-threading, but that’s far better than having to untangle the threads constantly and keeps the stitches neat – ah, see, there’s the OCD again!  Secure the last stitches from each length by passing the needle back through the last stitch and tying a small knot. If you’re not familiar with blanket stitching, here’s a great tutorial:

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8) Once you have finished stitching around the letters, you will probably find that the fabric is quite creased due to the handling, if so it’s best to press this flat again – ensuring that you don’t iron over the felt on too high a heat.  Once pressed, you can put this piece to one side, whilst you work on the back panels.

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9) Take the 18.6″ x 7″ rectangle (top back panel of the cushion) and fold down a 1/2″ hem along the long edge, press with an iron.  Fold this over again by 1/2″ and press once more.

10) Open out the folded hem and sew along the first crease close to the fold, securing the first and last few stitches by sewing in reverse through a few stitches.  If you don’t have a reverse stitch function, then simply lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric (with the needle down), put the presser foot back down and stitch over your first few stitches, then pivot back again to continue sewing.    It doesn’t matter what colour thread you use as this won’t be visible on your finished cushion.  Once you have stitched across the length, snip the loose threads at either end, then press the seam once again.

11)  Line up the blue ribbon against the edge that you have just hemmed, placing pins at approximately 3″ intervals to keep it in place.  I used a bright red thread to contrast with the blue ribbon, but blue or white would also look great!  Again, stitch closely to the edge of the ribbon (as pictured), removing the pins as you go.  Take your time with this step!  A ruffled or wonky ribbon will be really noticeable on the finished cushion!  Then repeat the line of stitching on the opposite edge of ribbon, snip the threads and place this panel to once side.

12)  Repeat this process with the second back panel, pressing a 1/2″ hem, folding it over and pressing another 1/2″ hem, then stitching along the edge on the first fold and ironing to finish.  You don’t need to add a ribbon to this hem as it will not be visible.

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13)  Place your upper back panel (the one with the ribbon) right side down on top of your front piece (so that right sides are facing) and pin in place, matching up the edges.  Then place the second, larger back panel on top of that, again right side down, pin in place.  At this point, make sure that the folded hems are flat and all layers are pinned together securely.

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14)  Sew around the edge of the cushion, securing the first and last stitches, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  I used a 1/4″ seam foot on my sewing machine, but you can use the guides on the needle plate if you don’t have one of these.  Again, take your time, especially when you get to the folded hems as the fabric may need a little guidance/gentle pull due to the thickness of the layers.15)  Cut any loose threads and snip the corners of the cushion, close to the stitches; taking care not to cut through them.

16)  Now for the exciting bit…!  Turn the cushion through and gently poke the corners and edges out, I use a crochet hook for this but anything ‘pokey’ is fine, as long as you don’t push through the stitching.  Press the edges of the cushion, making sure that the back panel isn’t visible at the front.

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17)  Almost there!  Using either white, red or blue thread, topstitch around the edge of the cushion again using a 1/4 seam -don’t forget to backstitch a little at the start and finish.  I used white thread as I wanted the red blanket stitching to stand out.

18)  You’re now ready to put the cushion pad inside.  If you have a rectangular 18″ x 9″ cushion  then you can pop this inside and you’re done!  If, like me, you have an 18″ x 18″ cushion, then you need to cut this in half, then sew a zigzag hem along the raw edge,  snip the loose ends and put it inside your cushion.   There you have it, a stylish cushion fit for any Dad!  I hope you’ve found this tutorial useful, I’d love to hear any feedback from you and see a photo of your finished project in situ!  If you liked this, then please come back soon, as I’ll be showing you how to make a Lavender car/wardrobe scenter (with perfectly square corners ; ) !!) and a messenger bag using this same ‘Jack’ fabric.  Until next time x

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