Purple joy, or triumph from disaster

Well, yesterday was a busy day at Joy of Sew Towers! I cleared a space in my messy spare room and fought my way to the sewing table that had become buried under Christmas debris. I was on a mission, a mission to CUSHION!

First, I made a luscious jumbo-cord cushion in deepest imperial purple, re-purposing a long old skirt which had always made me look like some kind of ecclesiastical Dalek. 50cm x 50cm of snuggly gotta-stroke-it purple joy. Delighted! Straight on my Etsy store. Check it out
here - let me know what you think!

Then, phase two, deep breath....

About two weeks ago, a good friend had given me a mens' pure lambswool jumper in an outstanding shade of dark magenta to make into felt in my washing machine and turn into something. The jumper was beautiful but also loaded with meaning: it had belonged to her late step-father and we planned to make a cushion cover for her mum out of it. I was really excited by this project and, having lost my own dear dad a couple of years ago, really understood the reasons behind my mate's thoughtful gift idea.

So, into the washing machine it went on a 90 degree wash with loads of detergent. I could hardly wait and popped it out of the machine as soon as the cycle had finished. But, no real change! Damn that M&S high quality lambswool! Repeated the process, not a thing. Despairing, I looked up a couple of craft blogs and saw that they recommended bio washing powder and putting a towel in to accelerate the process. I went out and bought the kind of evil bio washing powder that we all walk past in the supermarket for fear that it will take the skin off our loved ones, lobbed in an old hand towel and waited up to see the results.

However, when I opened the door, I found it was now a pale shadow of its former heliotrope glory. It was mulberry pink and brittle and balding. You can imagine the horror and shame that I felt! This precious jumper and the plans we had for it, in ruins. I barely slept that night and 'fessed up to my friend the next morning. She was very understanding about it, thank goodness...

SO.... yesterday, I finally had the courage to face the cobwebby pale lilac bundle on my work table. I was determined to try and create something but the fabric was too frail in its current state. I carefully cut off the arms, seams, collar and labels and ironed it onto some medium weight fusible interfacing. I cut scraps from the arms to place between the wool and the interfacing to fill in the worst of the holes. Finishing up with a dose of steam which seemed to soften the material, I found that the opaque white backing gave the fabric an interesting gossamer texture and became heartened. Maybe, just maybe....

I cut two 52cm by 52cm squares, one out of the front of the jumper and one out of the back, and stitched them together along one edge using a french seam for strength and neatness, and pressed it flat again. I had already bought some lovely VV Rouleux grosgrain and velvet ribbons in toning shades (no tat here, thank you very much!) and banded these up in groups along the whole length of the fabric.

Using my trusty width gauge, I pinned and then sewed these in place with a tasty violet thread and a variety of fancy stitches. Looking good, allowing myself a small squeak of excitement now.

At about midnight last night, I closed up the seams all round, and was delighted to note that the ribbons matched EXACTLY at the opposite ends of the fabric. Nice. Leaving half a side open to allow the pillow pad in, I crossed my fingers and prayed that putting the pad in wouldn't tear anything, as it was quite a squeeze. All okay. Sewed up the last bit by hand, knowing that the fabric was too weak for zips, velcro or overlaps so the pad will have to stay in! I was exultant. And tired. But mainly exultant.

It certainly wasn't what we had planned but I took some photos this morning and emailed them over to my friend. I'm waiting to hear whether the finished article will pass muster as a gift for her mum. Will keep you posted...


  1. A labour of love my dear, but it looks lovely. Hope the gifting all went ok. xx

  2. Excitingly, it did! My friend liked the cushion and gave it to her mum - who I hope liked it too. S x


Post a Comment

Hi, please leave your comment here - and click on subscribe by email below if you want to be notified of replies to your comment or new comments on this post:

Popular posts from this blog