Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Ombré Cushion Sew Along Part One: Selecting Your Fabric

Ombre Cushion Sew Along: Selecting Fabric

Welcome to part one of our Ombré Cushion Cover Sew Along.  If you haven't already done so, now is a good time to download your free PDF pattern and visit the tutorial.

Trying to coordinate eleven strips of fabric may seem little daunting, but selecting fabric for your ombré cushion doesn't need to be a headache. I find that, due to the way the diamonds are positioned, the fabric still blends nicely even if they aren't perfectly coordinated. You'll see what I mean further down.

Here are some tips for choosing the right fabric:
  • Jelly roll strips are a great start. They're already cut to 2 1/2'' and generally come in a coordinated range.
  • If you have a specific piece of fabric you'd like to use and know the designer, have a look at what other fabrics came in that range. You may not necessarily choose those fabrics, but they will give you a good idea as to which colours and designs may suit.
  • Pay close attention to any patterns on the fabric. While the cushion is pieced as whole strips, in reality you are still cutting 2 1/2'' squares.  What might look great as a fat quarter may not work as a 2 1/2'' square.  For example, you have a gorgeous white fabric with big orange swirls that are the perfect shade for finishing your orange layer. You start piecing only to discover that when cut, they've turned into 2 1/2'' white squares.
  • It's certainly not impossible to approach this cushion with directional fabric or fussy cutting, but take care. It's easy to get turned around. I would suggest making a simple one first and, once you're comfortable with the technique, tackle something a bit more fancy pants.
  • The top and bottom strips will be cut in half and fall along the edges of the cushion, so they won't be seen as much as the centre pieces. It is less important that they coordinate.
  • I find that taking a photo of my selection of strips and viewing it through my camera/phone helps give me a better idea of how they will look and the order in which to place them.
Design Suggestions
I've called this the Ombré Cushion Cover because that's that design I like to use, but it doesn't have to be that way.  Here are a few suggestions for you to consider:

Classic Ombré 
Classic Ombré Design
Classic ombré design
Ombré Variation
I've never actually made this version, but I think it would look awesome. Either with a light centre, as shown here, or with a dark centre moving out to light. You would only need to find six coordinating fabrics for this version.
Ombré variation
Ombré variation
You could even try a non-ombré version. This chevron design was made using two strips of each fabric. I used 12 strips instead of 11 to ensure the colours were centred.
Chevron design
Chevron design
Director's Cut
When writing a pattern there is a fine line between too much and too little information. This means that sometimes tips we would like to include have been removed to improve the overall flow of the pattern. These are some of those tips:
  • When the time comes to trim the Cushion Front to a 14 1/2'' square, you will notice that there is very little room for error at the top and bottom of the unit. In fact, you only really have enough room to slice off the triangles and nothing more (though being a squishy cushion cover, it's not a huge deal if you trim slightly smaller than the suggested 14 1/2''). If you are concerned that you may not sew accurately enough to have such a small margin of error, you may like to add a twelfth strip. It will be almost completely unused but may give you piece of mind.  If you choose to add a twelfth strip, I would suggest just repeating either your top or bottom fabric rather than trying to find another coordinating fabric that largely won't be seen.
  • The 16'' length gives you a little breathing space for cutting mishaps, but not a huge amount. Only about an inch. You may want to cut the strips a little longer depending on your skill with the rotary cutter.
  • Sewing long strips is not always as easy as it seems and can often end up in stretched or distorted fabric.  Cutting the strips to the same length and pinning before sewing can help reduce these issues.
Hopefully this will help you in selecting your fabric and preparing for the really fun part of piecing the cushion front.

Remember to share you fabric choices in our Facebook Group and on Instagram using the hashtag #sewtodaypattern.

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