Archive for March, 2014

Sunday crafting: decorating a plain cushion

March 9th, 2014

How do you upcycle a completely plain cushion into something a little more individual? As this project shows, personalising your soft furnishings doesn’t have to involve too much sewing.

Let’s assume you’re starting off with a perfectly serviceable, but boring, cushion and cover. (We’ll be blogging about creating cushion covers from scratch at a later date.) Sustainable Witney supporter (and ReFashion repairs expert) Joy Griffin started her project with some cushions that came free with her new sofa.

You will need:

  • Paper
  • A piece of fabric for the appliqué: this could be recycled from rags, as sometimes the more contrasting the pattern, the better!
  • A piece of iron-on interfacing
  • An iron and ironing board
  • Sewing needle and thread (preferably matching your design and/or your cushion)

Get your design down on paper

You can pick what you like as your image, though simple shapes work best. Flowers, stars, geometric shapes…whatever. Browse the internet for inspiration or look around your home to see if there’s a motif you want to repeat. Then you can either draw it by hand or perhaps print an image from the internet and blow it up on a photocopier. For her project, Joy chose a Scottie dog as you can see below!

Turning the design into a finished product

Place your printed design on top of the material you’ve chosen for the design, with a piece of iron-on interfacing in between. Pin them together, then iron them together. The interfacing should bond to the material but not to the paper. It will strengthen the design and make it easier to apply fabric glue later.

Now cut out your shape and remove the paper pattern. You should (hopefully) have your desired shape cut out in material and reinforced by the interfacing.
cushion with Scottie dog design

Attach your design to the cushion cover

If you chose non-fraying fabric, you’re in luck. You can use fabric glue to attach your design to the cushion and the whole project will involve zero sewing.

But if it’s a fraying fabric, you will need to hem around the edge of the design. If you choose to sew the design to the cushion cover rather than gluing it, remove the cushion from the cushion cover first, then pin the design where you want it to be and turn the cover inside out so you can work from the “wrong” side.

Finishing touches

You can add texture to the finished design with some extra touches such as ribbons, buttons or sequins. Joy decided to create a little “collar” for her dog with tiny heart-shaped buttons. Again, these can be either sewn on or glued on with fabric glue.


You should now have a cushion that’s completely unique to you. If you decide to give this project a try, please do send us your pictures – we’d love to feature them on the blog!

Making The Wheels Go Round

March 7th, 2014

66 Seconds With Velocity: The Birth of a Bicycle Rim from Velocity USA on Vimeo.

Cakes and campaigning at Fair Trade event

March 5th, 2014

Plate of Welsh cakesFair Trade Fortnight was launched in Witney by WAFTAG with cakes, campaigning and a choir. The Fair Trade event, held at the High Street Methodist Church on Saturday, proved very popular.

Local children’s choir Songscope opened proceedings with a selection of upbeat songs. There were stalls selling a range of Fairtrade goods and a cake stall groaning under the weight of home-made cakes. The most unusual feature was the smoothie bike, blending smoothies using pedal power!

The campaigning focus of the day was the problem of cheap bananas. Many supermarkets are using bananas as “loss leaders”, offering them below cost price as a way of attracting customers to buy other goods. The price war between supermarkets has seen the retail cost of bananas halve in recent years, while the actual cost of producing them has doubled. This means that many banana farmers are living in poverty. The Stick With Foncho campaign asks Vince Cable as Business Secretary to investigate the impact such low pricing is having on farmers’ lives. 50 people at Saturday’s event signed postcards asking Vince Cable to do just that.

The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the real costs of cheap bananas and encourage consumers to buy Fairtrade. (If you want to be sure of buying Fairtrade bananas, the best supermarkets are Waitrose, Sainsburys and the Co-op, since these three do not sell any non-Fairtrade bananas.)

The event made just under £300 for WAFTAG, which will be spent on Fairtrade projects. To get a flavour of the day, you can watch the video on Witney TV.