Sewing Project

Dakota Cushion

How many times have you brought home construction paper artwork from school? It usually goes up on the fridge for a little while then ends up in a drawer.
Kyle came home with ‘Dakota’ his paper penguin and his sister Lexi decided it would be an easy design to make into a cushion – so she did! Here are the easy instructions and Lexi’s tips.


4 Cotton Fat Quarters:
1 white (top fabric)
1 black (middle fabric)
2 orange (bottom and cushion back)
White Thread<
Tracing Paper – 36 cm (14”) square
Straight Pins
Safety Pin
36 cm (14”) cushion insert
Rotary Cutter/Cutting Mat
15" square template
Blunt-tip scissors

To Trace

1. Trace the penguin design onto tracing paper making sure you centre the design on the paper.

LEXI’S HANDY HINT: ‘I flattened Kyle’s penguin then scanned it on the computer. Or you could use a copy machine.’

To Layer

2. Layer all 3 pieces of fabric as follows: bottom (orange), middle (black) and top (white). Making sure you keep the edges of the fabric lined up.

3. Place the traced design on top of all 3 layers of fabric, centering the design on the fabric block.

Pin (or staple) through the paper and all 3 layers of fabric.

To Make

4. Machine-stitch the traced design through all 3 layers of the fabric. Remember to lock your stitches when you start and stop by back stitching 2-3 stitches.

HANDY HINT: ‘When you get to a corner, stop sewing, put needle down, lower foot and continue sewing. This keeps the fabric from sliding around when you turn it. Or leave a worms width! (as seen in the photo below).

This fabric will be snipped later to form the fray.

5. Tear paper off from the areas marked ONE ONLY. This keeps you from cutting the wrong section.

6. Pinch the fabric on the back of the area you want to cut and pull the two layers of fabric to the rear. Pull the top layer up and carefully snip through the top layer of fabric to reveal the middle (black) fabric.

LEXI’S HANDY HINT: ‘I pinch the top layer of fabric and when I feel one layer, I pull it up and snip a small hole to start.’

7. Cut away the top layer of fabric inside the design stitching, leaving approximately 6 mm (1/4”) of fabric next to seam. Or leave

LEXI’S HANDY HINT: ‘I use the Fiskars Blunt-tip spring loaded scissors so they wrong snag my fabric when I cut.’

8. Tear off paper from the area marked TWO.

9. Pinch the fabric on the back of the area you want to cut, pull one layer of fabric to the rear. Pull the top two layers up and carefully snip a little hole through the two layers of fabric to reveal the bottom layer.

10. Cut away the top two layers of fabric inside the design stitching, leaving approximately 6 mm (1/4”) of fabric next to seam.

To Fray

11. Snip the fabric remains along your seams. This will help the whole design fray. Be careful not to cut your seams!

12. Remove all remaining paper from the block.

For Cushion Back

13. To make the frayed edge cushion back:

  • Cut the other orange fat quarter in half to form two
    28.5 × 38.5 cm (11" x 15") pieces.
  • Create a hem on one 15" side and fold 13 mm (1/2") to the back and press. Fold pressed edge under another 13 mm and press. The other sides will fray.
  • Stitch close to the inner edge and repeat on second piece of fabric on 38.5 cm (15") side.
  • Place your cushion top face down with top design away from you.
  • Place pillow back right side up on cushion top.
  • Place the un-hemmed 15’ edge along the bottom edge of the cushion cover. The hemmed edge will be toward the centre of your cushion block.
  • Take the second piece and place un-hemmed 15” edge to the top edge of cushion. The hemmed edge will be toward the centre of the cushion and overlap the other hemmed edge.
  • Pin layers together and stitch around all four outside edges using 13 mm (1/2") seam.Using scissor tips, carefully snip into the 13 mm (1/2") fabric that is around the outside of your cushion, snipping to the outside seam and snip evenly every 1/4" around the cushion to produce the frayed edge.

HANDY HINT: Double stitch over the area where the flaps meet – this will reinforce the stress points.

Rinse and Dry

14. The cushion design will look flat until it is rinsed and dried. Pin cushion cover closed with the safety pin.

15. Run the cushion through the cold rinse spin cycle.

16. Put in the tumble dryer on a low heat until dry.

17. Remove from dryer and insert cushion pad and enjoy!

For Further Information

This project has been reproduced from Raggedy Reverse Appliqué by Kim Deneault (ISBN 9780896894945) with kind permission of Publishers David Charles. This is fun book for those who fancy making some quilted projects the fast and easy way.The instructions are clear and easy to follow and there are plenty of timesaving tips for busy stitchers. This is also a useful technique for those who have a huge fabric stash as it breaks all the rules about mixing woven and flannel fabrics! Priced at £14.99 and distributed in the UK by David & Charles.

Website design and web development by One2create