Ever since I stumbled upon my first orange LP case at a vintage record market I knew that this was the pattern I wanted to base my entire living room on. I loved the vibrant colours and the crowded floral print epitomised everything I loved about 60s and 70s design. I’d already been searching for the perfect mid-century pattern for my curtains, wallpaper and cushions and had created a moodboard to keep me inspired. After a lot of deliberation I chose orange as the main colour of my MCM room scheme and set about creating the room of my dreams.When I skipped home with this £8 record case, I knew that a it would be the ideal storage solution for the room (not just for lps – I store candles in one of them!) and I continued to search for more of the same box. I found a blue case in the same pattern around a year later in a charity shop and by then I was really hooked. I hunted out a green version online, although when it arrived I realised that it was half the depth of the other two – oops! Still, the pattern was the same and I loved the garish green colours. Another slimline orange case soon followed and I’m hoping to add to my retro record box collection in the future.Since finding these mid-century gems, I dreamed of the day that I could use the pattern to create some matching soft furnishings for my home. I considered transferring photographs of the pattern onto fabric using an image-transfer paste, but this only seemed to work with black and white photocopies. I also imagined printing photos onto t-shirt printing paper to iron it onto fabric, but this would only give me a maximum A4 sized piece of fabric to work with. The closest idea I came up with was sublimating the pattern onto fabric but this is a very costly process and requires the use of an industrial machine, so that quickly went out of the window. So when I heard about the custom-made fabric service at Zazzle, my heart skipped a beat. I couldn’t believe that it was possible to have fabric custom-printed, and I was certain that it would only be possible with a single image repeated over the fabric, rather than a continuous pattern. I emailed and asked what was possible, and it turns out that yes, they could turn a photograph of my LP cases into a tessellating pattern. I simply needed to send over a snapshot of each case and the designers would do the rest.They sent over a proof of the repeating pattern image for my approval, and I could see that they had simply flipped the image that I’d emailed over in order to create the best possible tessellation for the pattern. You can see from my photos of the fabric that there are some darker parts of the pattern and this is where the image meets and is barely noticeable in reality. I was excited to see what the finished pattern would look like so I choose the fabric that the pattern would be printed on. There were plenty of options, from dress-making fabrics like poplin and cotton to upholstery fabrics and linen, so I plumped for a polyester weave fabric to get that mid-century feel which would work well with my existing orange Dralon cushions. When the fabric arrived I couldn’t believe how similar the pattern and colours were to the original lp cases. The closest match was the blue fabric which was almost exactly the same colours. Both the green and blue fabrics were the same scale pattern, but the red one was a smaller repeat (I’d sent a photo with less span of the original pattern) so the flower-power pattern was smaller but I actually liked the contrast that this gave alongside the other two fabrics. I set to work creating my dream cushions and here’s how I made an easy envelope cushion cover (no zip required!):
- Cut a piece of fabric the same width of your cushion pad and a length of 2 and ½ times the size.
- Hem both ends of the fabric and lay it down with the right side up.
- Fold one end in to the centre of the cushion front and the other end in 2/3s of the way across then pin in place (here I’ve used the cushion pad to judge where the centre is, but be sure to remove the pad before pinning!).
- Sew a straight line down both sides to join and use a zig-zag stitch to sew over the edge if you have a fabric that frays (like my woven fabric)
5.Turn the right way round and insert your cushion pad into the envelope cushion cover. I am really pleased with the overall look of my living room now – the colours and patterns on the sofa pick out the record boxes on top of the shelves, making the LP cases a more prominent feature. The orange coordinates with my framed retro sheet music covers and film posters, and the blue and green cushions make the green lamps and my blue Lego brick radio look as though they are in the room ‘on purpose’. In fact, the entire room looks much more coordinated and deliberate rather than a design that’s evolved over the years. Amazing what a few cushions can do, isn’t it?
Of course, no sooner had I added my new cushions to the sofa than Cookie and Muffin took up permanent residence amongst them. They rarely lounge on the sofa, so it feels as though they were just waiting for some decent cushions to arrive before they could relax in comfort. This is no longer my sofa, it’s their retro haven. I guess I’ll be making a couple more cushions for my armchair then.I am so thrilled that I found out about the fabric printing service at Zazzle.co.uk and I’ll definitely be using the website again for future projects. When you consider that their custom-printed cotton costs no more per metre than much of the fabrics from Next or John Lewis, it makes me feel pretty smug and I consider it a bargain find. Especially as it is the finishing touch my living room needed to pull all the mid-century design elements together.