Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Topiary Hearts and Roses Cushion

With Valentine's Day on the horizon, you might like to try your hand at making one of these - Another of my cushion projects, following on the heels of the The Button Tree & Owl, and Sleepy Cat, this cushion again features the use of buttons as 'leaves' on the trees, along with a pretty little embroidered bird, flying off with a stolen rose for his mate, braid trimmed appliqued felt planters, and ribbon rose buds.

The second version uses red buttons, burgundy felt, cream rosebuds and features a tiny cardinal bird stealing the rose....

You will need:

A cushion cover and pad (mine was approx 18"/45cm square)
A small amount of green (or red) felt
80-100 green (or red) buttons of various sizes
Ribbon/braid to trim
10 small ribbon roses
embroidery threads in shades of Green, brown and pink (or red)
Small amount of hemming web (optional)
.....and an awful lot of patience to sew on all those buttons - but the end result is well worth it!

Cut out the template for the planters from your pattern, and pin on to the felt – cut out 3 planters.
If you wish to add ribbon or braid trim to the planters, sew or glue it onto the felt before attaching them to the cushion cover
Pin the planters on to your cushion cover, making sure they are evenly spaced. Alternatively,  pin then put a small amount of hemming web under each planter and iron to secure the felt to the fabric (ALWAYS use a cloth/spare piece of fabric  between  the iron and the felt) Then you can remove the pins , leaving the felt firmly anchored for you to sew around.
Trace the outlines of the stems of the trees, and the hearts, onto your fabric with a pencil

Start to sew around the edge of each planter using blanket stitch, in a colour to match your felt.
When all three planters are secure, start to embroider the tree trunks. I used stem stitch worked in 6 straight lines, and three slightly different shade of brown  thread – The middle two rows used the darkest shade, then a row either side of those on the medium shade, and finally the two outside rows in the palest shade.

Once all three trunks are done, outline the hearts in chain stitch, with green (or red) thread.  Do each side of the hearts separately, working from the bottom point up to the central point, so that the ‘chains’ run in the same direction.

You are then ready to attach your buttons to each tree.  I find it really helpful to use the template when doing this, ‘mapping out’ the positions of the buttons on the paper heart shape first to see which buttons look right, which fit into the space you have etc, then transferring and sewing  them one at a time into their chosen positions on the fabric. I used the same colour thread that I’d used to outline the trees, as it gave a nice contrast against the dark buttons. Remember  to leave three blank spaces on each tree to sew your ribbon roses into later. When you have finished, your trees should look something like this...

Large tree (L) takes approx 28-35 buttons, depending on the sizes of buttons used,  smaller tree (R) takes 25-30 buttons.

Next, trace the bird from the template below on to your cushion with a pencil

Bird template for green version of cushion....

....or the Red Cardinal bird for the red version...

Fill in using stem stitch, as seen in previous photographs, or any filling stitch of your choice.

Then you are ready to sew on the ribbon roses – Sew one onto the top of the stalk in the birds’ mouth, and three on to each tree-top. It’s worth taking the extra time to sew them (and the buttons) really securely, especially if your cushion will be in a house with small children or animals.
Insert your cushion pad into the cover, and you’re finished!

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