I love most craft, my favourites are those that include fabric, especially quilting. However a friend of mine introduced me to CHENILLE! I really like the texture and fluffy comfortable feel it gives to quite ordinary fabric. So, thought I would have a go!
My first project.
There are a few things to you need to consider if you fancy having a go.
*Use natural fibre fabric such as loose woven cotton, fine calico, muslin, cheese cloth, woven gingham, silk, linen, linen blends…
*Soft finishing fabric with linen, cotton and silk, light tartan/plaids work well.
*Great way to blend certain colours to achieve a colour mix like a paint box (e.g. yellow and blue to make green).
*Try to avoid man made fabric such as polyester, nylon, polyester sheeting, crimplene. These fabrics will not “bloom” very well.
*Super for using up fabric in your stash…
*Chenilled fabric is great to make bags and cushions as it is thick, substantial and soft.
*On the down side, it takes a lot of fabric and thread, but this can be a plus too if you want to use up some “ordinary” fabric!
As well as your fabric you will need to invest in a “slash cutter”. This one is from CLOVER who tend to be a bit pricy, at about £12, but I am sure there are others more reasonable on the market if you do a little research.
Or… a pair of scissors, however be very careful which type you use. AVOID ones with pointy blade tips, one thing you do not want to do is accidentally snip/cut the bottom fabric other wise you will have a chenille disaster! Look out for a pair with a rounded-bull nose blades.
Also thread. I found that any thread will do, a chenille project uses lots of thread a cheap bumper value reel will be absolutely fine. I bought this one for a bout a £1 on the market. Also prepped up several bobbins of the same thread ready to load into the machine. I found a 50cm x 50cm project uses a little less than three full bobbins (bottom thread) to do the diagonal rows of stitching.
Heres how you make it:-
Choose your fabric. I decided to go with same colours but slightly different woven checks and stripe. To make a cushion cover to fit either 16 inch x 16 inch or 18 inch x 18 inch you will need four (UK) fat 1/4’s (approx 20 inch x 20 inch)
You will need four layers of fabric, either different colours, different textures or same fabric. Decide on which order you want your fabric, the top fabric will be the prominent colour. Layer the fabrics exactly on top of each other in a neat pile. Have the bottom fabric slightly larger than the other three by approx 1 inch. You will see why later.
Pin them together, through all layers.
You may feel more confident to mark* out the lines diagonally across the top fabric. However if you have a 1/4 inch seam foot attachment on you sewing machine use this. I found it easier than marking every line. Draw the first one, then line up the 1/4 inch foot up to the seam, machine right to the very corner. Alternatively, use your judgement to space and sew the rows of stitches! Naturally the seams will get shorter and shorter until the whole price is stitched, but remember to keep checking the 1/4 inch space between stitched rows.
*NOTE:- If you mark, use a chalk marker, an air erasable marker (see makers instruction to see exactly how long you get before your markings disappear!) or water erasable marker (remember DO NOT USE A DETERGENT in the water when you want to get markings out of your fabric…detergent will fix in the markings…. use clean clear water only)
Complete machining the complete area right until you reach the tiny corners with only a few stitches to each row.
With the guide on your cutter, slip the end under the three layers, hold the edge of the piece and run across the fabric which will cut a nice even “slice”. You will realise now why the bottom fabric needs to be slightly larger it will help you NOT TO CUT ALL LAYERS which would be terribly frustrating! Keep holding down the bottom layer as you slice each time your slash/slice. I suggest you don’t attempt to tidy up any threads at this stage, tidy later…
Continue until you have “sliced” between every seam.
Or slip the tips of the scissors in-between the stitched tram lines and gently snip along the centre of every tram line, holding down the bottom layer as you go.
Check each cut to make sure you have cut/sliced all three layers.
In a bowl of warm water immerse the piece and quite roughly wriggle about in the water. If there are lots of tiny lengths of fibre in the water thats great… it means you will have a good result in the end! I put a little soap in the water BUT I DID NOT USE A MARKER PEN, I relied on the 1/4 inch seam foot on my machine.
Ring out the piece and squeeze as much water as possible out of the piece.
In the tumble dryer pop in an old towel (this will collect a lot of the bits to avoid clogging the filter on your dryer) with your piece and tumble until it is completely dry.
Take out of the dryer and see your “BLOOMED” piece of chenille!!! WONDERFULL!!! Now, what do you fancy making? I decided to make a cushion. As the chenille fabric is thick and substantial I wanted to have a nice substantial finished so decided to pipe my cushion. This is how I did it.
With one of the fabric’s I had left over from my piece, I covered normal white piping cord making sure it had a flange approx 1/2 inch. Tack cord in place.
As I had a 16 inch x 16 inch cushion pad I decided to make my cushion this size. Measure and pin piping cord in place on right side of chenille (with rounded piping cord facing inwards…. fabric flange facing out) pin and tack into place, check you have a 16 inch x 16 inch (or what ever size your cushion pad is) square of piping in place. Machine close to the cord. You may have a cording or zipper foot in with your sewing machine accessories either will work well. If you do not have one of these, you can still use your standard foot, but be careful you do not sew over the cord, or too far away either. You need the cord to be “snug” in place.
Looks a bit tatty, but you will have flange edges inside the finished cushion cover.
From the other fabric you will need to make a backing for your cover. I made this in two halves, stitched a strip of velco as my preferred cover closure. You could insert a zip or close with buttons and button holes, ties, or even a large generous flap “envelope” style without any fastenings. I had two different fabrics left over so used a little of both… I quite like using up what ever is left in any project, also makes if unique and individual!!
With right sides together pin and tack two halves together. I recommend you tack as well as pin at this stage as you want to keep piping “snug” and avoid too much movement of the covered cord. Machine around close to the piping. I decided to machine around twice and also zig-zag too! Now you can trim off all those tatty edges to cut down on the edge “bulk” careful not to snip machined stitches.
Turn inside out and gently pull out corners and ease out side so piping is clearly visible on the edge of cover. Pop in cushion pad, wiggle it around to make sure it is evenly inside cover.
What do you thing? … my finished cushion… good?
Same type of fabric collection just a different colour way… this is really snuggly!
Works well with neutral colours too!
Why not change the shape of your cushion too!
Or add a “shadow” shape … just cut a shape (heart) out of a complete contrast colour and slip it under the top layer. Then continue in the way I have described in my tutorial… easy and very effective.
I have chenilled both sides of some cushions, however pipped all of them as I think it looks better to have a strong edge between chenille and back cover.
I will be popping the green and pink cushion covers on my etsy shop soon if you fancy buying either https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheSewingWren
My daughter wants the red heart, and the neutral ones are living on the sofa!
Best wishes, keep crafting!
I would be delighted to hear from you, so please leave me a comment, whizz past the email section and go straight to “submit comment” will be good to hear what you think. Jx
My extra snippet for you from Soo “A full moon always rises at sunset”