Unlike the birds, this quirky cushion will draw attention to itself any time day or night. This project combines the much-loved art of patchwork with the charisma of nocturnal birds of prey. Follow the simple steps to create cute accessories for any room, and if there’s enough fabric left over, why limit yourself? Try making not just one, but twit-two feathery friends.
- Fabric, assorted
- Fibre filling
- Buttons, diamante, 1cm
- Felt, cream, scraps
- Embroidery threads, coordinating colours
- Owls: 12cm x 12.5cm
- Cushion: 39cm x 39cm
Make an owl
Press the fabrics and place face down. Locate and download the templates, then trace the main body shape of the owl onto two different patterned pieces of material and cut out leaving a 1cm seam allowance. Cut two pairs of wings from contrasting fabric. Remember to flip the pattern pieces over so they are symmetrical.
Trace the zig zag pattern onto a piece of fabric, leaving a 1cm gap between each line of points and flipping the template over to avoid wasting fabric. Don’t cut these pieces out; instead pin the traced material to a contrasting pattern, right sides together.
Using a sewing machine, carefully stitch along all the zig zags. Cut between each line of stitching to separate the strips, trim the seam allowance to 3mm and clip into the ‘V’ shapes. Use a knitting needle to turn out the points, then press each strip with an iron. You will need at least four or five zig zag strips at 15cm long.
Turn half the strips over so that the patterns alternate. Fold under 5mm of the top raw edges and pin the strips across one body piece on the right side. Use two strands of coloured embroidery thread to sew a double line of running stitches across the top of each piece.
Sew the two pairs of wing pieces together on the curved edge. Trim the seam allowance, clip, turn out and press. Tack the wings to either side of a body piece, over the zig zag strips and in line with the edge.
Cut two 2.5cm diameter circles from felt and two 5cm circles from fabric. Run a line of running stitches around the edge of the fabric circles. Place the felt discs inside the cloth and pull the stitches tight around each to create a covered button effect.
Cut a beak from felt and stitch to the centre of the head. Leave a little gap on one straight edge to push a tiny amount of stuffing under the beak, then close the gap. Pin the fabric covered ‘buttons’ on either side of the beak and sew in place with a running stitch. Stitch a diamante button to the centre of each one.
Place the second owl shape over the first, right sides together, enclosing all the stitched-on pieces. Match up the edges as closely as possible, then stitch around the shape leaving a 5cm gap on the bottom edge for turning. Avoid catching the lowest line of zig zags in the base of the bird.
Trim the seam allowance to 5mm, cutting away excess zig zag strips. Clip the curves and turn out. Firmly stuff the owl with fibre filling. Fold in the raw edges at the bottom and oversew closed, pulling up tightly to slightly gather the base.
Stitch a cushion
Make a decorative owl as above but stuff lightly before oversewing to the centre of a 20cm fabric square. Cut four strips of contrasting fabric 5cm x 22cm and press in half lengthways, right sides out. Tack these around the edge of the square to make a border.
Cut 20, 6cm squares of different patterned fabrics. Stitch into two, six square long strips and two, four square long strips with a 5mm seam allowance. Pin and stitch the shorter strips to either side of the bordered square, right sides together. Open out and press flat before pinning and stitching the longer strips to the top and bottom of the panel to complete the frame.
Add a border around the patchwork with 6cm wide strips of fabric attached in the same way as the previous frame. Back the completed cushion top with a 40cm square of plain fabric, adding a zip to one edge if required.