Heartfelt Cushion

Materials

  • Two large pieces of home made felted woollens for the cushion top and back
  • Scraps of coloured felt for the hearts or more woollens
  • Woollen yarn in co-ordinating colours
  • Cushion pad
  • Tracing paper and card for templates
  • Chalk pencil or water-soluble pencil for marking
  • A darning needle for the blanket stitch

Finished Size

16 x 20in (40 x 51cm)

Skill Level

Beginner

You can download a copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Heartfelt Cushion

Traditional Mola applique involves carefully cutting back and hand stitching layers of fabrics to reveal the layers underneath. This leaves you with a strong, flat surface. Janet has devised this method using felted woollens which avoids the need for turnings but still keeps within the Mola tradition.

Preparation

Make your own felted woollens by putting old and holed lambswool pullovers through a boil wash. Add an old towel or training shoe to the drum to give an extra bash. Be prepared for some loss or blending of colour. You may well have some exciting results! Dry flat and press with an iron.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Blanket stitch
Figure 2
Figure 2: Heart placement on the cushion top
  1. Cut a piece of felted woollen 18 x 22in (about 2in larger in each direction than the finished size of your cushion). Mark with a row of tacking stitches the actual edge of the cushion – this prevents you adding pieces too close to the edge.
  2. Trace and cut the heart templates from cardboard.
  3. Press all the felted pieces with a steam iron.
  4. Cut out felt hearts from templates 1A and 1C in the two colours of your choice.
  5. Lay the 1D template on top of 1A felt heart and cut out the heart shape carefully.
  6. Place felt heart 1C behind the hole and pin into position. Take a sharp darning needle and co-ordinating woollen yarn and blanket stitch into position. Press. See Figure 1 for how to sew the blanket stitch.
  7. Take template 1B and position it onto the background fabric, not too close to the edge. Draw round and cut out a heart. Press. See Figure 2 for an idea of where the hearts can go.
  8. Position your completed heart from step 6 behind this, pin then stitch using yarn to match the background felt. Press.
  9. Repeat this process to your heart’s desire!

TIP! Janet found that working on a flat, hard surface works best. Slip a book under your work and the felt retains its shape better.

Figure 3
Figure 3: The cushion back

Making up and finishing

  1. When your cushion top is complete give it a good press and using your rotary cutter trim the edges square and slightly bigger than the cushion pad.
  2. To make an envelope back take two pieces of background felt, overlap them by 3in and trim them to the same size as the front.
  3. Blanket stitch one of the edges using contrasting yarn. Make four buttonholes by cutting a small slit and blanket stitch round the edge. See Fig 3. 4Place front and back WS together. Press and trim if necessary. Pin and stitch using contrasting yarn. Janet changed the colours of the yarn as she progressed around the edge.
  4. Cover four buttons in contrasting felt and stitch into position.
  5. To make tassels take fifteen to twenty 10in strands of yarn. Fold over four fingers and secure with yarn.Tuck the end in the tassel. Sew into the corners through the seam.
  6. Insert the cushion pad, fasten buttons, make a coffee, sit back and read your favourite Popular Patchwork.

In order to have different coloured centres in the hearts Janet has cut the hearts from templates and inserted them behind the background fabric. If you wanted to have all the hearts the same colours you could layer three pieces of felted wool together and then cut and stitch the hearts. In traditional Mola work there are three or four layers main layers. Small slits or triangles are cut into the last layer and pieces of another colour fabric are inserted to add extra interest.

Cushion Back

First published in Popular Patchwork March 2003