Friday, March 1, 2013

How to make Gustave cushion

Yesterday I got to talk about how to make the Kenbo-san cushion.  Today lets talk about another quirky addition - let's talk about how to make the Gustave cushion.

how to make a quirky cushion
How to make Gustave (CH0303)

First let me introduce you to Gustave - or rather I should say, cousin Gustave as he is cousin to Kenbo-san cushion. Then we will go on to how to make a Gustave cushion.

whimsical quirky cushions
The cushions - Kenbo-san & cousin Gustave

How to make the Gustave cushion

Like Kenbo-san, Gustave started with a rough doodle ..
If you are like me, there will be times when you could not be fussed to draw anything.  Maybe (again like me) you think you can't really draw or that the idea in your mind is clear enough, or that you will just let whatever evolve evolve without the fuss of too much pre-planning.

First, let me say that as you can well see - I certainly can't draw without blushing with ineptitude.  But I made myself do it by injecting a bit of fun into it by using Paper app on my iPad.

I used the Adonit Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus Pen and highly recommend it.  The stylus is one of the best on the market.  It flows smoothly without having those annoying disconnect that other stylus seems to have.

But let me get back on track ...

Whether you draw out / doodle your idea or not, if you let it, your cushion will still evolve in its own way any old how.  Too much planning just makes creations stiff (IMHO).

But most importantly of all, having a rough sketch really helps.  I don't always do it but whenever I have, I have always been grateful as I find myself referencing it all the time - yes, even as the creation evolves naturally to try and become whatever he wants to be.

making Gustave cushion
Gustave the cushion begins ..
Using the sketch as a guide,  on your fabric just roughly sketch out the oultine of the various parts that will go to make up the cushion.  Cut out those pieces.  Leave seam allowances if you are going to need them.

Except for the facial bits, remember that you need 2 of each piece (front and back) for the face & ears.

Usually I would leave allowance for seams but in this instance, the fabric scrap I had (cream) was too narrow so I decided I was going to join the pieces (later) with large (but fairly close) blanket stitches.

Before joining front and back, it is always easiest to sew down the various facial elements - starting with the uppermost layers. Here I blanket stitched down the nose onto the white muzzle.  Then used running stitch the white muzzle to the cream face.
how to make quirky cushionhow to make quirky cushion

how to make quirky cushion
Blanket stitch down the top part of the muzzle to the face.  Then arrange and pin down the colored parts to the face.
how to make quirky cushion

Blanket stitch all round the colors elements, with firm running stitches along the edges.

Do the ears.  For each ear, place right sides (RS) together, sew and then flip inside out.  Now the RS of the ears should be facing out.

Arrange and pin down the ears. Stitch them down to the front (face).  I used back stitching here.

TIP: things will go a lot faster if you use a sewing machine.  Mine is still buried under a lot of stuff (some call it "junk") so I decided to do the whole thing by hand.

I didn't take photos every step of the way so I will just tell you (even though I am sure you can figure out anyway) what was done up to the next photo.

Once all the facial elements are securely sewn down, including the ears, place the front and back of the head together.  As I am blanket stitching all around, the wrong sides (WS) are placed together, tacked, and then firmly blanket stitched all round.

Remember you must leave a sufficient gap so that you can stuff in the filling later.  I started at the bottom of the face so that the gap would be at the bottom.

Stuff in the cushion filling.  The cushion should be fairly firm.  Pin along the gap (so the stuffing does not get in your way) and blanket stitch close the gap.

how to make quirky cushion

how to make quirky cushionNext we do the eyes.  Note that though I said that it is always easiest to sew down the various (facial) parts, starting with the topmost layers - in this instance, I didn't add the eyes to the face till the cushion was stuffed and sewn.  The reason was because I was not quite sure where the eyes were going to be and whether it would extend beyond the colored patches.

Based on my earlier doodle, I thought cousin Gustave would have almond shaped eyes.  But I soon found that Gustave did not look like a Gustave with almond shaped eyes.

So you might have to experiment a bit with shapes and colors till your creation is happy with the eyes you give him.

I finally found some eyes shapes, textures, and colours that were acceptable to Gustave.  Those adorable domed sequins (with double holes) are some vintage ones I bought many years ago from a close-down sale.

how to make quirky cushionhow to make quirky cushionhow to make quirky cushion

TIP: play around with the placement of the eye and eyeballs.  You will be pleasantly surprised how many different expressions you can achieve.

It looked as if Gustave was finally ready.  Or was he?

Gustave is looking cute but I still felt as if something was missing.  While trying to figure out what that was, I applied Fray Block around all the (blanket stitched) edges.  This was to doubly ensure that the edges will resist fraying over time.  Especially important here as the cushion does not have normal seams.

prevent fraying edges with Fray Block
Prevent fraying with Fray Block
Below are some fabric fray blocks and sealants that you can consider.

It finally hit me - Gustave wanted some lashes!  And he got them!
quirky whimsical cushion
cousin Gustave cushion is done
quirky whimsical cushion
quirky whimsical cushion

TIP: have fun playing around with the lashes.  It can dramatically change the final look - from angry, sad, overly surprised, evil, coy, and so on.

Protect cushion with fabric protector
Protect cushion with fabric protector
There are various fabric protectors you can use.  They help your fabric stay fresh much longer and are usually stain and even fire resistant.

Kenbo-san cushion now has his equally whimsical cousin Gustave to pass the days, and grace our home.

But the cushion stories don't end there.  Next we will see how Birds cushion came to join our eclectic household.

That is all there was to how to make the Gustave cushion.  Wasn't that fun kids?