Craft Project – Creating new cushions & artwork for my retro living room

I was lucky enough to find this set of vintage RSPB placemats and coasters in almost brand-new condition at the Shakespeare Hospice Furniture Shop in Stratford Upon Avon and although I loved the autumnal bird design straight away, I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. I don’t often need placemats and I already have some 70s wicker coasters, so I took a second look and viewed them as pieces of fabric rather than finished items. And I’m glad a did, because I realised that the shape was ideal for creating cute rectangular cushions  to sit on my retro armchair and sofa, and the embroidered bird design has the perfect colours for my retro living room – and the robin motif will be great for autumn/winter!

  1. I chose some beige checked cotton fabric for the back of the cushions and I carefully measured out two pieces which would cover the size of the placemat with an extra 2 inches: allowing enough fabric to turn the hem back on itself in the centre and to overlap on the back where the buttons would be placed.
  2. I stitched the hem along the edges that would become the middle of the cushion and then inserted button holes using my sewing machine at three points along the hem on one of the pieces of backing fabric.
  3. I stitched buttons on to the opposite side and buttoned the pieces together.
  4. I then placed the front placemat and back pieces on top of each other with their right-sides facing together. I pinned the front and back together and stitched along all four edges.
  5. I unbuttoned the hem and turned the cushion-cover right-side out and slipped it onto a rectangular cushion pad and re-buttoned the back. Job done!

I also found a use for the coasters – I framed up two of them to create cute embroidered artworks – and I still have a pair of placemats and coasters left for when I want to lay the table to match my soft furnishings!

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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