Tuesday, June 22, 2010
TUTORIAL: Fleece-backed Crochet Cushion Covers
This is especially for those of you who would sooner crochet a tennis-court-sized afghan than make a teensy-weensy cushion cover and sew on a back. Sewing? Bleurgh.
Anyway, I needed a backing fabric strong enough to take the weight of the crochet. Some people use denim or recycle old sweaters, but I had a thin fleece blanket I'd bought for pittance during a clearance sale. Recycling ahoy!
You will need
- a fleece blanket (mine cost €2.99 at a local department store. It has already backed three cushions and I should get another one or two out of it as well)
- a sharp scissors
- a sharp needle (I usually use a blunt tapestry needle for my crochet sewing, but here you'll need one with a sharp point)
- some pins
- and a thimble, if you have one (I don't and I survived)
- and your finished cushion cover (I edged it in a row of purple and left a long yarn tail to use for attaching the cover to the fleece.)
First of all, you need a template for the fleece back. Measure your finished cushion cover and add a quarter to one side. In other words, mine is 40 x 40 cm; if I add a quarter, it becomes 40 x 50 cm. I cut out a rectangle of paper 40 x 50 cm and then cut this rectangle in two parts: one is appoximately 20 cm wide and the other is 30 cm wide, both are 40 cm 'tall'.
I then place these two pieces on my fleece blanket side by side along the edge of the blanket, with about 8 cm between them. In other words, the 40 cm-sides are lined up along the edge of the fleece blanket, which has already been hemmed by the nice people in the fleece blanket factory. I pin them down into place and use my big sharp scissors to cut out around them, leaving a good 2 cm over on each side, except the hemmed side.
You now have two pieces of fleece, pinned to pieces of paper. One side of each piece of fleece (the bit that's 40 cm wide) will be the hemmed-in-the-factory side and this hemmed side will form the flap on your cushion back. So place your cushion cover next to the fleece pieces and overlap them so the hemmed edges are lying on top of one another in the middle, and the (roughly) cut edges are around the side. This overlapping bit is the cushion closure. If the overlap is big enough, there's no need for buttons (yay!)
So far, so good, eh? Now place the two sides of the cover (the two bits of fleece + the cushion cover) on top of one another, with the 'right' (also known as the 'pretty' sides) face to face. The 'wrong' (or 'ugly' sides - yes, there's a right and wrong side to crochet work, but if you can't see it then it really doesn't matter) should be facing out.
Keep everything from wriggling away by pinning the whole contraption together. You don't need a lot of pins, just enough to keep a grip on it. (At this point, by the way, you can remove the paper. It has served its purpose.)
Now pick up your needle and start whipstitching the fleece to the crochet. It might be a bit difficult - you may have to wriggle the needle a bit - but I find inserting the needle into the fleece from the side (as opposed to directly through the material) seems to work best. Try it out - you'll find a way that works best for you.
Warning: sewing through the part with two bits of fleece (the overlapping part that forms the back flap) is going to be tough, but it's only a couple of centimetres, so bite your lip and get on with it.
You then turn your masterpiece right-side-out and admire your luvverly stitching:
Look at that lovely closure (I like the zig-zaggy side best). Did you hem that fleece all by yourself? (Practise saying it now: "Yes, I did. It took hours. I worked my fingers to the bone. But I'm a perfectionist, moi."
The back of the cushion should look like this:
And this is the front:
Now you place your cushion in a strategically nonchalant but very visible position and modestly garner praise for your wonderfulness.