A cushion for Leo

Our dear friends, Harry and Natalie, who live in Geneva had a beautiful baby boy last summer (and are expecting a second this summer!).

Baby Leo was born just a month before Abigail, and whilst I was suffering from sleep deprivation and self pity, Natalie found the time to send me a beautiful package for Abigail, before I had managed to congratulate them formally on the birth of their son.

I wanted to do something special, because they are special friends and also because I had left it later than I should, and by this point baby Leo would have received so many gifts that anything ‘purchased’ would likely be a duplicate. Also, as much as I truly appreciated every single gift we received to welcome Abigail to the world, I was particularly touched by the homemade ones, which I vow to keep for her in her memory box.

I decided to make a cushion for Leo’s play area, as this could be used as he practiced sitting as well as later on.

In the fabric shop I found a wonderful Harlequin pattern of vintage English cars and boats, which I loved as it was nice to think I was making something that would be reminiscent of England, their home. It was childlike but also vintage and elegant. I decided to pair this with a linen background and to applique his name and stars, cut out of felt, onto the front of the cushion. I drew and cut the letters out myself rather than using a stencil or printout.

I have a wonderful book by Jan Constantine, one of my favourite crafters of our time, called Heirloom Embroidery, and I looked at this for inspiration. I love how she has brought the blanket stitch back from the ashes and made it contemporary, and this inspired me to use the same stitch in my design to applique the cars onto the cushion. I ironed the appliques on using Bondaweb first and then got to stitching. An online search will reveal lots of blanket stitch tutorials, should you wish to have a go yourself. It is quick and easy! I then used a whip stitch to sew on the felt letters and stars – easier still!

I was so pleased with the final outcome – I felt it was modern and unique yet classic at the same time. Most importantly, Natalie loved it as well!

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