Two ideas came together with this project….
- I was on vacation recently at the outer banks and saw a craft shopping that was weaving hand goods out of men’s ties – What a clever idea!!
- And the success of my tea towel sofa cushions
…led me to this idea…what if you could recycle men’s ties and make sofa cushions. I first had to find men’s ties (not an item my surfie-type husband has in the closet 🙂 ) – so I took myself to the Good Will shops around our area. To my surprise ties only cost $1.39 and many of the shops had a good range especially in blue and red.
NOTE: you really can’t be too fussy on the color. I wanted oranges, greys and greens at first – was not going to happen.
Now onto the design…
- I chose to do two cushions 20×20 using the same pattern I had used for the tea towel cushions, one red and one blue.
- I selected 5-6 ties for each cushion that offered enough variety. I laid then out on a piece of backing fabric (in this case I used white linen I had lying around) and pinned them in place.NOTE: I specifically did not want to lose the structure of the tie so I had some tie ends start in the middle and others will land up sticking loosely over the border.NOTE: Here’s an example in Better Homes and gardens, where they use the ties just as fabric, which also turns out nice in this picture.
- After the ties are pinned in place, I use scotch tape as a guide I used to sew perpendicular lines to the ties, fastening the ties to the backing fabric. Take your time, lift the foot of your sewing machine when you get to the edges of the tie, one to ensure you catch the beginning of the tie and second to make sure the tie lays flat and not pucker.
- I then sewed the borders onto this main square, added mitered corners. To get the flap, ends of the tie, to go over the borders, just pinned them out-of-the-way while sewing on the border, making sure I did not catch them in my 1/4 inch seam.
- Last step is to sew on the two pieces of the back of the cushion, providing that envelope like cushion.
I decided these cushions would complement my second-hand couch, I use in my office at work. Everyone at work stops by and takes a quick rest, all I need now is a small coffee table and to start charging for therapy 😉
NOTE: The one thing I would try next time is to sew along the edges of the ties first then pin them to the backing. I am not sure if this would make things easy or not though.
For more ideas on what you can do with ties check out this blog on Sewing with ties, which was this cool site I found after I completed these. In this site, I especially like the tie circles and the tie covered tree art.
While vacationing in New Zealand, I found two great tea towel designs by New Zealand designer Ingrid Anderson (http://www.iatextiledesign.co.nz/showcase/index.html), that would make wonderful cushions for my kiwi green sofas.
I had the idea, but realized that I had not sewn since high school (over 20 years ago) and did not have a sewing machine. As projects stacked up, I bit the bullet ( so to speak) and purchased my first sewing machine a couple of months ago.
These cushions would make a great first project and I had the materials for 4 cushions, one set were red and the other green…..so here’s what I did.
4x tea towels (I unpicked all the seams to give me as much allowance as possible)
2x 2 yards of solid colored fabric (I had 2 red and 2 green based cushions)
2x matching threads
4x 20 in. pillows
Dimensions for each solid fabric (2 x red, 2x green):
2x 13 in. by 21 in. pieces for the back of the cushion
4x 2 in. by 24 in. for framing edges on front of cushion
Dimension for each tea towel piece (x4):
18 in. by 18 in.
Steps for 1 cushion (repeat 4 times):
- First step was to sew the border pieces around the tea towel square which is to be the center. You will want to do each border one at a time; when you have two sewn on you will do a miter corner to connect the borders and give it a nice finish. Then add one border at a time and corner till finished. Make sure you iron the borders and corners. That’s the front side of your cushion and should measure 21 in. x 21 in.I found a great youtube video showing how to do easy miter corners for the borders – if I find it again I will update the blog.
- Now for the back…I took each of the two 13 in. x 21 in. pieces and on one of the long sides (ie. the 21 in.) I pinned about 1/4 in. over. I ironed this seam flat. I folded over again 1/4 in. and re-pinned and ironed again. Now it is ready to sew a 1/4 in. seam starting and finishing with a few back stitches.
- The last step, sewing the cushion pieces together. Place the front piece tea towel up (so you can see the print). Now place one of the 13 x 21 in. pieces front down and line up the long rough edge to be at the top of the front piece. Repeat with the other 13 x 21 in. piece except the rough edge will line up at the bottom of the front piece. Pin in place – make sure you pin the overlap correct so that all pieces are seamed together.NOTE: If you have pinned correctly you will see all the inside of the cushion – no pattern should be seem. Remember you will be inverting the slip once sewn.
- Sew 1/4 in. seam around all 4 edges in one step. Start on one edge and when reaching the corner, pause, lift foot and change the direction of the fabric to sew the next edge…continue until seams meet. Also as you sew the two sides – check that the seams of the overlapping edges are included.NOTE: I always start and end my seams with back stitches to avoid any unravelling of the seams later.
- Once complete iron all seams, invert your cushion slip and I iron again to get the look I want. Now slip in the cushion – and you are done.
I found that the cushion slip held fine without buttons but if you are feeling more creative add a button-hole on the outer most 13 x 21 in. piece and a button on the inner one.