Monday, May 6, 2013

Kombi Cushion {Tutorial}

My poor husband. In all the years I've been sewing, I haven't actually made anything for him. (I'm sure he's really sad about it, haha). He's been away for work over the past week, and I took that opportunity to make him a cushion. Our old ones were all ruined in the move, and since I don't have a style to match it to, I went all out and made one I thought he'd like. A funky old VW Kombi. It's not rocket science, but I wrote up a little tutorial in case anyone would like to have a go at making their own, and needed some pointers.

Start off with a sketch of what you'd like to make. It doesn't have to be too pretty, but the more accurate it is at this stage, the easier it will make your life later. Keep in mind that whatever you draw will be reversed as an applique (important to know for letters). Then trace each individual component onto vliesofix, or any other paper backed, double-sided adhesive. For example, I wanted the bottom body of the van to be green, and the top to be yellow. So I traced each section separately onto vliesofix. Cut roughly around the traced outlines, then iron the vliesofix to the wrong side of the fabric.

This is a really great project for using up scraps, as you can see!
Cut around each piece now, on the drawn lines. 

Here is a look at the pieces cut out (minus the headlights). I was pretty happy with the result at this stage, so I went ahead and started piecing the cushion cover.

I thought a beach scene would be cool to attach the kombi van to, but it would also look good on a plain background if you prefer. You probably won't know this, but curved piecing was always one of my fears, something I was scared to even try. But I had nothing to lose here, so I gave it a go, and was so glad that I did. It wasn't that difficult, it just helps to be patient, go slow, and have a hot iron handy. If you are piecing a background, make it about 3-5 inches larger around all sides so you can trim it square.

Attach the kombi to the background by ironing it down. I find that the vliesofix doesn't bond permanently, so I like to stitch shapes down soon after ironing them. Here I used a regular stitch and raw edge applique with black cotton. I went around each edge three times, messily keeping the lines separate so that the end result yielded a 'sketched' look. It's probably my favourite detail.Next was to embroider on the VW logo and some windscreen wipers. I added a black and white striped border to echo the black stitching, and a sun in the sky because that corner looked bare! The cushion top at this stage measured 1/2 an inch bigger than the cushion insert around all edges.

I then lay down some plain white backing, cotton batting, and added the cushion top. Baste the layers together, and quilt in any way you like. I conquered another fear at this stage, free motion quilting! Gave it a go, and although I was happy enough with the result, I can't say I've mastered the skill yet. But I am so keen to keep using it! If you aren't confident with FMQ, I'd recommend using a thread that very closely matches the fabric colour, so mistakes aren't so obvious.

Last step is to add the cushion back. I used an envelope style closure, but any will do.

And there you have it!

Honestly, although I'm happy with the result, this was so hard to make because I couldn't add any pink, purple, or floral. It's not very 'me'. But it's very 'him', and that's all that matters!

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome!! My husband asked me tonight when i was going to sew something for him (as I am always sewing for the kids) and i said , "What would i make you?" maybe a pillow would be a good idea!