photographs by Emma Sekhon
…a project to transform an old footstool and add a striking shot of colour & pattern…
You will need:
(Roughly) 25cm of felt in turquoise, pink, red and orange (nb: felt can run, so either dry clean or use linen or coloured drill in its place)
White cotton drill measuring the upholstered top (including sides) of your footstool plus 5cm all round
Threads to match all your fabrics
1m iron-on BondaWeb
Pen or pencil
Herringbone tape (5cm wide x the circumference of your stool plus 10cm)
Jumbo rikrak the circumference of your footstool plus 5cm
Cut your base fabric to size: the length and width of the sides and top of your footstool plus 10cm.
At this point you need to make a decision about the size you will want your pieces and whether you will need more or fewer pieces than I have used here…. Photocopy the templates and cut out. Play around with them on your footstool and work out how many you will need.
Photocopy the templates re-sized if necessary and cut out.
Prepare your coloured felt pieces: spread out your strip of BondaWeb paper size up. With a pen or pencil draw around the orange swirl templates (template a), placing the shapes close together to avoid wasting the BondaWeb. Cut the drawn shapes off in one piece and iron onto the orange felt following the manufacturer’s instructions – generally this will mean a medium hot iron without steam. When the bond is securely fixed, cut the pieces out using paper scissors. Do the same with the ‘star’ pieces (template b) in turquoise and pink.
Finally, draw as many circles as you need (2cm wider in diameter than you have printed template b) on the BondaWeb, iron them on the red felt and cut out.
Lay out your base piece of fabric right side up on your footstool and arrange the pieces as you planned them in step 2. When you are happy with the positioning of the pieces, remove the protective paper backing and use an iron to adhere them to the base fabric, starting with the large circles.
Assemble and iron on all the pieces working methodically and ensuring you don’t iron on the glue side of the felt by mistake.
Thread the sewing machine with threads to match the felt pieces and zigzag around each piece slowly, raising and lowering the foot at sharp turns, and keeping accurately to the edge of the pieces. You can keep white thread in the bobbin throughout this process as long as your machine’s tension is good and you don’t get specks of the bobbin thread pulled through to the front of your work.
Once all the felt pieces are stitched on, turn the base fabric wrong side up and lay it over your footstool. Use pins to shape the corners so that the fabric fits snugly and remove it carefully from the stool ensuring the pins don’t fall out (appliqué.
Stitch along the corners by machine twice for strength, then trim the excess fabric 1cm from the stitch line.
Place the cover over the stool again, right side down and trim all around to the depth your require. Remove from the stool. Fold your herringbone tape in half and tack all the way round your cover encasing the raw edge. As the two ends meet, overlap and trim them to cover the raw ends. Machine close to the edge of the tape on the right side sewing all three layers together.
Tack or pin the jumbo rikrak around the inside of the hem so that half of it protrudes beyond the hem on the right side, overlapping the folding the ends in to avoid fraying. Stitch by machine along the centre of the rikrak using white thread.
Reduce or enlarge the templates to suit the size of your stool. The motif is stronger if it is slightly larger than the top surface of your footstool and drapes over the edges.
Add extra interest to your cover by stitching your appliqué onto a striped base fabric, such as ticking.