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Saturday, 19 January 2019

French Box Floor Cushion

You Just Can't Fix Stupid Box Floor Cushion by eSheep Designs
Two fat quarters and a foam insert...
In November 2017, I made my first — and last, as it turns out — purchase of faux suede from Spoonflower during their two for one fat quarters promotion. Selecting it for a couple of my You Just Can't Fix Stupid fabric designs, the plan was to make a floor cushion for my other half as part of a Christmas gift.

However, Spoonflower must have been inundated by orders that first week of November, because it took forever for the order to be printed and processed. By the time I received it (December 12), I was no longer in a position to give the the project the attention that it needed.

So, almost one year later last September — while hubby was away in Vegas roasting in 37 degree temps (that's normal internal body temperature, by the way) — I purchased a foam insert and finally completed this box cushion.

For inspiration and guidance, I examined a project found on Janome's site by Andrea Ford (link at end of post). Her version was made in a patchwork fashion with four different fabrics on each side. (She also covered the foam insert with a layer of poly-fill for extra puffiness, which I chose not to do.)

You Just Can't Fix Stupid Box Floor Cushion by eSheep Designs
Yellow side...

A fat quarter of Spoonflower's faux suede measures 27" x 18". Using the white border of the fabric to accommodate a 1/4" seam allowance, that's just enough to create a finished cushion with an 18" x 18" base, plus four side panels.

With the two for one discount, the price for each fat quarter was $7.88 (USD). My foam insert was $7.97 from Walmart. So it's not necessarily a cheap project, but for a custom gift, it's not bad.

Oh, and as for my original statement about it being my last purchase? In writing up this post, I discovered that Spoonflower discontinued the faux suede last year. Too bad because the fabric feels luxurious and has the bonus advantages of being washable and stain resistant. They didn't give me a reason why it's no longer available, but cost/demand usually play into those sorts of decisions. Couldn't have been customer feedback, because the reviews were consistently good with an average of 4.7/5 from 34 submissions.

Since Spoonflower has other fabrics that come in a 54" width, this project is still doable with a couple of fat quarters of something else.


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So what's French about this? Apparently it's the way the seam is sewn again on the outside finished edge to create a raised "piped" effect, like you commonly see on mattress edges. Actually, I should have understood this reference, as I've done a French seam before, on my glasses cases. In that and many other applications, the technique is often used to hide inside raw edges on a seam.

You Just Can't Fix Stupid Box Floor Cushion by eSheep Designs
I liked the rustic look of the hand-sewn edges...

The more stuffed the cushion is, the more pronounced these seams would be in terms of how they stand up/out. Not liking to hand sew in general, I specifically made sure that there was enough "give" along the edges to enable me to sew relatively easily.

And given that this is a thicker fabric, I had to break out a thimble and use a large needle. (Did not break any needles this time!)

You Just Can't Fix Stupid Box Floor Cushion by eSheep Designs
It's rare for me to use a thimble, but I knew I had to this time...

I could have machine sewn these French seams (at least, all except for the opening that's needed to insert the foam), but I actually liked the look of the hand stitching for this project. And I had the perfect thread, too.

Variegated red/black thread...

This is a sturdy nylon thread that's more like embroidery floss. (It was part of my care package from a few years ago... and to repeat, it's the gift that keeps on giving.) The synthetic makeup of the thread ensured a relatively smooth sewing experience; I had only a couple of tangles that were easily remedied.


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As you might imagine, this is a relatively easy "make". All you really need to do is measure the insert and then cut all of the pieces a half inch larger on all sides to accommodate a 1/4" seam allowance. I didn't want to have to struggle with the hand sewing, so I actually made the side panels a tad bigger than needed, since I had enough fabric to spare in that regard.

You Just Can't Fix Stupid Box Floor Cushion by eSheep Designs
Yellow edge...

The four side panels were sewn up first (as you can see from the photo at the top of this post) to create a "ring". The resulting ring was then placed on top of one of the base pieces and pinned (with right sides together) and sewn all the way around.

Then the remaining base piece was placed right sides together against the other side of the ring. This time I started sewing about 3" in front of a corner and sewed all the way around to about 3" past the last corner, leaving a large gap along one of the sides to allow the insertion of the foam.

You Just Can't Fix Stupid Box Floor Cushion by eSheep Designs
Black side...

For the hand sewn part, I used clips to hold the seams in place as I went along. I sunk the knots as best as I could between the seam edges.

You Just Can't Fix Stupid Box Floor Cushion by eSheep Designs
Black edge...

Cushions like these are often tufted, but with this one being designed to be sat on on the floor, I didn't think it would be helpful to compress it like that. But one could certainly pull some thread through this and create the effect with or without buttons.

Here's the link if you want to check out the Janome PDF. It's certainly not the only source of info; I also saw a tutorial on Sew4Home and on a YouTube channel that were helpful.

As for me, I was just glad that this finally came to life after a year of planning. (And yes, hubby did receive it as a gift this past Christmas.)


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