Strawberries and Dust

Cushion covers for my mother-in-law

Guess I picked the wrong week to start blogging! We’re in the thick of a huge home extension project, and everything is in a state of utter chaos. Witness me last night, groping in the dark hall through box after stacked box, looking for the iron.

No joy. I have no idea where the iron is. Which is … sorry about this … ironic, don’t you think, for a crafter? Get out of my house, builders. (Actually, wait. Finish the job first.)

Anyway, I had to make these cushion covers for my mother-in-law without an iron. Which was OK, once I reminded myself that she’d undoubtedly prefer to have them with the seams unpressed than not have them at all. But it was a twitchy experience: sew-a-bit, press-a-bit, sew-a-bit, press-a-bit is such a familiar rhythm.

Cath Kidston fabric

She’d bought this delicious Cath Kidston fabric back in March, just before our works began, and I’d agreed to make the covers to replace her old green-and-white gingham ones, which were getting a bit dingy. But I didn’t manage to make them before the builders invaded, and it’s only in the last few weeks that it’s been even vaguely possible to contemplate getting it done.

I cut the squares for the covers earlier in the week, then last night I cut and pinned the piping. This morning I sat down to the sewing much later than I’d planned, less than four hours before we were due to leave for my mother-in-law’s house with the finished covers.

Pinned piping, sewing gear


  • I did it! I made pretty cushion covers when I could barely see my sewing machine through the swirling clouds of dust. (This is an exaggeration. But I did have to wipe every surface before putting the fabric anywhere near it.)
  • I allowed myself to declare them finished even when I wasn’t totally happy with them – I simply didn’t have any more time to fix the glitches. They look great from a few feet away, which is really all that’s required in a cushion cover. I’ll do better next time.

Moody sewing machine shot


  • Next time I make piped cushion covers, I’ll attach the piping first. With these, I attached the zips first, and I wasn’t very happy with how the piping on the zip-side corners turned out. And let’s not talk about the piping seams.
  • My pins are old and tired, and I need a new blade for my rotary cutter.
  • Oh my god I LOVE SEWING! I rarely do any at the moment, because knitting and crochet are so much more compatible with toddlers, of which I have one. But it’s SO GOOD, and I must find ways to do more.

We were invited to my mother-in-law’s house for a buffet meal today, with her sister and niece and grand-niblings. A lovely time was had by all, with lots of eating and chatting and running around. And my cushion covers, though I say it as shouldn’t, went down a treat.

Cushion cover in situ

4 thoughts on “Strawberries and Dust

  1. Oh wow, I wish I could a) sew and b) had a sewing machine. No REALLY, I crave a sewing machine a bit like I crave a spinning wheel (both, alas, in the “when we have a large house” aka “when we’re millionaires” pile o’dreams).

    Am so impressed you whipped this up in a few hours! They’re brilliant.

  2. Thank you! I hope you get a sewing machine soon. They are ace. I’ve never used a spinning wheel, but they seem pretty ace too. Also, looms. LOOOOOOOOMS. Mmmmmm, room-size craft equipment…

  3. Hi Léan 🙂
    I started sewing only last year, at the moment I don’t have a sewing machine, I use my mum’s when I visit her; it’s not very convenient, so my big plan is to get a machine for my birthday!

    Anyway, question : these covers look very nice, but can you tell me what this “piping” is? Thanks!

    1. Hi – good to see you here! “Piping” is the word for the thin tube of fabric that goes around the edge of the cushion cover. It has a thin cotton cord inside it, and you put it in between the two pieces when you’re sewing the seam.

Comments are closed.