Saturday 5 November 2011

Finished Project - Manolo Blahnik Cushions

Finally! A finished product! I’ve had lots of projects on the go recently and a lot of them sitting around half finished as I’ve been hampered by not having the right tools and equipment as I’m just starting off. I know in situations like this I’m usually one for just seeing what else I’ve got to do the job and cutting a few corners but the results never turn out as well as I hope so with these sewing projects I really wanted to try not to rush things and do them properly. So at long last here is something to show for my efforts:

I am very happy to proudly show these off around my home (although my boyfriend may be less willing to display stiletto covered cushions around the house!). The main fabric is a gorgeous printed cotton designed by Manolo Blahnik for Liberty which I just could not resist treating myself to even though it cost a lot more than I would ever normally be prepared to spend on fabric! But isn't it just beautiful?! It features his designs for last winter's special collection for Liberty London. I've got a fair bit left so am thinking of what else I could make, perhaps an eye mask/make-up bag set.

Using this fabric for this project made me even more determined to take extra care and get everything just perfect. The back and the piping I made out of a lovely purple fairly thick suede which I've had for a while as I wanted some of the cushion structure to be quite robust to frame the delicate cotton. The colour doesn't show up brilliantly in these pictures but trust me, it looks great with the print. This was my first attempt at making my own piping and (once I'd purchased the correct foot for my machine) I was surprised by how straightforward it could be. I followed the instructions in the Marie Clayton book I blogged about the other week. I was most nervous about getting the seam allowance right so when i inserted it into the seams and turned the completed item inside out the piping would fit snuggly in and there wouldn't be any unsightly gaps and visible stitching where the cording didn't quite sit tight enough. But when it came to that heart stopping 'look at it on the right side' moment, I only needed to tidy up one tiny section. The piping is what I am most chuffed about.

I found the project both a real challenge and much more straightforward than I expected it to be at the same time. The main problems I had were when attaching the piping to the front piece of cotton as the cotton whizzed through the machine at a rate of knots while the suede resisted anything other than tugging to move it on, resulting in some unsightly gathers in the cotton which on more than one occasion had to be picked out and re-sewn. It would probably have been speedier to pin piping front and back pieces together and sew around it all in one go which definitely appealed to my 'is there a quicker way to do that?' side, but basically after attempting to push two pins through all that suede, with and without thimble I gave up on that idea and decided to go for the long way round which actually ended up being easier!

I didn't attempt any fastenings on this project as I didn't want to be too experimental with my sewing skills, risk something going drastically wrong and waste some of that special fabric. I simply created an overlap at the back with the suede through which the inner could be inserted. Cushions with a zip in the seam shall definitely be a future home-ware project I think.

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