One virtual sewing group I belong to on Facebook is particularly inspiring, and some people have been posting images of pincushions and cushion covers made using the cathedral window technique. I was intrigued. Cathedral window quilts look amazing and it is not obvious at a first glance how they are made and if the technique is complicated. Luckily for me, it isn’t.
Here’s an example of a quilt using the technique:
And an accessible tutorial for those, who like to make this kind of quilt by hand rather than using a sewing machine, can be found here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Cathedral-Windows-Quilt-Squares/.
I was not ambitious enough to attempt a full-size quilt and I needed a suitable birthday present for my mam, whose birthday always follows inconveniently hard on the heels of Christmas. (Every year! So inconsiderate!) So I decided to make a cushion cover. In the fabric shop, or Aladdin’s Cave, as I like to call it, I came across two beautiful fabrics with seashell motifs, so decided to go for a bit of a sea-theme. I cut the main squares 8.5″ by 8.5″, so that the resulting squares would accommodate motif-squares of 2.5″ by 2.5″. Any smaller and you wouldn’t have been able to see any of the shells and any bigger and I would have had a quilt rather than a cushion cover on my hands…
At first I stitched all the main blue squares together, following the instructions in the tutorial. Then I inserted the small squares with the shell motifs. As the tutorial describes, you then simply fold over the side of the (in my case blue) squares to overlap the coloured fabric and stitch it down, going through at least 3 layers and anchoring the coloured fabric scrap firmly to the main body of the quilt. I was astonished to find that it isn’t difficult to get the windows to look fairly even, although it took a couple of windows to figure out a way to produce clean edges.
Once finished, I added a border (I needed a couple of extra centimetres to make the cushion cover fit the cushion insert). It decided to put buttons on the edges of the windows to hide irregularities and also because it adds a certain something. It was my first foray into making fabric-covered buttons.
And for the back, I ended up machine-sewing squares together, adding a border for buttons (Kam snaps).
Et voilà! Here’s my cushion cover in all its glory. I hope my mam will be pleased…