Thursday, 28 April 2011

Brit Brit Hooray! Union Jack Cushion

With all eyes on London this week in anticipation of the Royal Wedding, it seems the perfect time to tell you about my latest project... the Brit Brit Hooray! Union Jack cushion

The Union Jack has become a staple of interior fashion over the past few years; regardless, it seems, of your patriotic origins. There have been art prints, rugs, cushions and all manner of crockery donning the mark of the British flag; everywhere from your local high street store to the highest fashion houses (all hail Ms Vivienne Westwood!)

Liberty Jack quilt by Janey Forgan

My Get Smitten™ version - the Brit Brit Hooray! cushion - was very much inspired by the fabulous quilt by Janey Forgan I saw last spring at the V&A exhibition of quilts. I love the use of the Liberty prints to depict this emblem and as an avid collector of vintage fabrics there was no question about where this project was heading! The difficult part, as always, was narrowing down the fabric selection!

Having been inspired by the quilt I decided to tackle this project from a patchwork perspective - rather than my usual approach of mixed media, free-style embroidery techniques - and so began the head-scratching to work out how to piece the design together in a coherent order.  Being rather 'experimental' by nature in my textile work (that's art school training for you!) I am quite fascinated and even awed by the technicalities required for designing patchwork - it's almost a science and requires a disturbing (for me anyway!) amount of mathematics and pre-planning

I started by sketching out the design full size so that I could determine the finished size of the cushion - this is important as I planned to use a pre-bought insert. I then divided it up into the obvious strips that the design dictated and calculated the required seam allowance. Having decided on my 4 fabrics I worked on joining the strips into blocks and then joining the blocks to make the cushion front. The tricky part - and it took several attempts to get this right - was to get the middle diagonal strips to line up with the corner of the block and in turn the corners of the main central cross! I got there eventually

And so with a little bit of quilting (I just used a piece of fleece fabric on the reverse) and a  simple envelope closure for the back, the Brit Brit Hooray! Union Jack cushion was born! I love it and I keep coming up with new fabric combinations I'd like to try! This one is in subtle muted tones to sit amongst the other furnishings in my lounge (as seen in the pic) but I think there is a bolder, brighter, Get Smitten™ colours version itching to be made very, very soon! I'm thinking yellow, turquoise, pink and grey

Want to make your own version of this modern design classic? Be my guest... the pattern with full instructions is available here as are a range of vintage fabrics here in the Get Smittenonline boutique. Oh and for those of you on my workshop mailing list.. stay tuned for the announcement of the Brit Brit Hooray! workshop in May

Let's see what you made! Feel free to upload your creations made with any of my Get Smitten™ patterns to the Get Smitten™ Flickr group or the Get Smitten™ Facebook page. I hope to see you there!

Lisa x
{Liberty Jack quilt postcard bought at V&A Museum London, all photos by Lisa Pocklington for Get Smitten™}

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