Handmade patchwork cushions are a brilliant way to recycle your dad’s or grandad’s old jackets, and if you need more, head to your local op-shop! Following the care instructions, launder the jackets before starting on your project. And when you’re cutting the material into squares and rectangles, you can, if you wish, include sections of the breast pocket, buttons and/or labels.
Gather your supplies
5 old jackets in various shades of grey, taupe and brown (tweeds, herringbone, checks, plaids, stripes)
46cm matching zipper
50 x 50cm cushion insert
Zipper foot for sewing machine
General sewing supplies
Finished size: 50 x 50cm
- Step 1: Remove lining from jackets. Cut sleeves at armhole seams then snip open side seams to form flat fabric pieces. To cut fabric pieces, lay them out on a level surface.
- Step 2: From different fabrics, cut a total of 15 tweed squares, each measuring 12 x 12cm. Also cut a total of 16 small 7 x 7cm squares (4 from each of 4 fabrics), and twelve 12 x 7cm rectangles (3 from each of 4 fabrics).
- Step 3: With right sides facing, stitch long sides of 2 contrasting rectangles to make a 12 x 12cm square. Press seam open. Repeat to make a total of 6 squares.
- Step 4: With right sides facing, stitch together 2 small contrasting squares to make a 12 x 7cm rectangle. Press seam open. Repeat with the same fabrics. Stitch 2 rectangles together, right sides facing, to make a 12 x 12cm square (with matching squares diagonally opposite each other). Repeat this step to make a total of 4 squares.
- Step 5: Arrange the squares to form a grid, 5 squares across and 5 squares down. Move the squares within the grid until you are pleased with the look of your patchwork, as this will be your cushion front.
- Step 6: Working to your established design, stitch row 1 of the grid. To do this, stitch 5 squares together, right sides facing. Repeat this step for rows 2, 3, 4 and 5. Press seams open.
- Step 7: With right sides facing and matching seams, stitch rows together to complete patchwork front. If you wish, add detail stitching at this point. You can topstitch each or a few squares, stitching 3mm in from each seam. Or, you can use embroidery thread and work evenly spaced lines of running stitch in selected squares.
- Step 8: From 1 jacket fabric, cut two 52 x 28cm pieces for cushion back. With right sides facing and using a 2cm seam, sew 2 long sides together, stitching 3cm in from sides, leaving a 46cm opening in middle for the zipper.
- Step 9: Set stitch length on your sewing machine to longest length and stitch open section of seam closed. Press seam open. Centre and pin right side of zipper to wrong side of cushion back, directly on top of seam. Using a machine zipper foot, stitch down 1 side of zipper, across and up other side, then back across to beginning of zipper. Flip cushion to right side and unpick seam where stitching was longer. Open zipper.
- Step 10: With right sizes facing, stitch patchwork front to cushion back. Clip across corners and turn right side out through zipper opening. Fill with insert and zip cushion closed.
You’ll also need
Use a 1cm seam allowance throughout unless otherwise specified.