Friday, 8 February 2013

Sew very London...

About a year ago, in a shop somewhere along the Northcote Road in Clapham, I saw a lovely embroidered cushion. It was white and had embroidered onto it the buildings of the London skyline, but it cost £100.
This January I decided it was about time I updated our inherited sofas a bit, and made them more personal. I thought back to the cushion I saw and thought...'I could do that!'.
Hand embroidered london cushion
hand embroidered London cushion
This is the first embroidery project I've ever embarked on, but it wasn't quite as difficult as I thought it might be at first. I've learnt embroidery is really just a collection of stitches, so if you can use a needle and thread, you can embroider.

All you need to make a cushion like this is an embroidery needle (slightly bigger than a normal needle), some embroidery thread/floss, some material and an embroidery hoop. I used an unknown linen from the sale in my local fabric shop. It's best to use a material like linen where you can see the threads, so it's easier to see where to put the needle. Embroidery thread is made up of six strands, I used one for the outline of the buildings and 2 or 3 threads to colour in areas.

So I began by deciding what I wanted to include in my design. I picked the buildings London is most famous for, and I had to include Battersea power station as it's just across the road from my flat.
I sketched out each building and went over it in black pen when I was happy with it. Then I arranged them on a template the same size as my cushion, in order from the west to the east of the city. To get the design on the material was quite difficult but I made do by pinning the template to it, holding it up to a window and tracing over it. If was to do it again though I think a heat transfer pencil would be a good investment!

 Next, I started to stitch. My design is just made up of lines, so I used a simple backstitch, in plain black thread.

When the main design was complete, I added some shading on the gherkin, and for the windows on the Houses of Parliament and St. Pauls. To add some colour, I decided to include some smaller things that London is most famous for, in bright red thread. An underground sign, a telephone box and a London bus. Lastly, I added a lovely dark blue ribbon for the river Thames.

I then rather hurriedly and somewhat excitedly, made my design into the front of an envelope type cushion cover (which I will post about at a later date...).

This first trip into the world of embroidery has gone much smoother than I could have expected, and left me with lots of ideas and most importantly, a lovely cushion without having to spend £100!


  1. Hello there, I found you on Find a Friend Friday and just wanted to say how much I love your London Cushion. It shows all my favourite sites in London and makes me wish I was there now. Hope you are enjoying your blogging experience.
    Cath @ Bits 'n Bobs

  2. That is a beautiful cushion cover! And you are so talented to be able to draw your own design. I, also, found you on Find a Friend Friday and pleased that I did. :)

    1. Thank you! I am very new to blogging as you can see, and sewing/embroidery for that matter, so lovely to have such nice comments.


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