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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Step by Step Guide for Designing an Embroidered Cushion

I got a really positive response from my New York embroidered cushion and I am happy to say that I do have a few more planned in this style, based on different locations.
I also received some encouragement to produce a tutorial based on this, so today I am offering a step by step guide to designing your very own embroidered cushion.
You don;t have to be an amazing artist or talented embroiderer to give this project a go - all you need is patience as it is quite time-consuming - but, in my opinion, totally worth it!

 1. Decide where you are going to base your cushion on - this can be somewhere you have visited - a country, a city or a whole trip

2. Next, brainstorm some prominent landmarks that will feature in picture form on your cushion. Remember you are going to embroider these, so try to think of things that can be reproduced simply.

3. Either sketch, or print out and trace, pictures of the landmarks. I used the tracing technique for the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. This was mainly to get proportions right, and as you can see from the picture, I simplified the pictures substantially

4. Trim an A3 piece of paper into a square shape. Write out the name of the place you are representing on your cushion in block writing. Again, you could trace this from word art if you wanted a particular font.

5. Position your sketches on you square piece of paper. Start to fill in the gaps with words - these can be districts, sports teams, rivers, street names. Think about sizes, fonts and ways to add some information about the place in your design - you can also add little doodles to help illustrate. For example....

The Big Apple


The Yankees

Central Park


NOTE - it doesn't matter if these change when you sew, I realised my NYPD police had was complex and would turn out unrecognisable so replaced it with the letters NYPD instead!

Try to fill you cushion so there are no gaping gaps. It will not look very striking at this point as you have no colour! Once you are happy, outline everything in black fine liner.

6. Trace your design onto calico fabric.

7. Start to embroider - for full instructions on the embroidery techniques I needed for this cushion, stop back tomorrow!

I would love to see your designs or cushions if you decide to give this a go!


  1. Oh what a cute idea!!! And thanks for this tutorial!
    Hug from Germany!

  2. This is gorgeous - wish I had the patience for it!

  3. Hi Rebecca,
    So adorable!Thanks so much for sharing the great tutorial!
    Happy weekend!

    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  4. I love this!! And New York!! thanks for sharing :-)

  5. Cute pillow! You did such a fabulous job! I'd love for you to share this pillow and any other crafts at my new linky party, Submarine Sunday. I hope you'll stop by!


  6. Very creative and nice! Found your blog at petalstopicot link party:)

  7. Hi Rebecca, what a fun pillow! I'm now following you, thank you so much for sharing.

    Have a good day, Nancy

  8. Thanks for such a fun embroidery project. I saw your link on Happy Hour Projects.

  9. Great tutorial! Hugs from Kentucky!


  10. I really REALLY love this...love the doodle-y feel of it. I'm thrilled you shared it at Shine on Fridays at One Artsy Mama and will be featuring it tomorrow!

  11. Love this pillow, really pretty and great tutorial! Thanks for sharing at Keep Calm and Link Up!
    Barbara at Chase the Star
    chasethestar dot net

  12. Just came from One Artsy Mama, where your pillow is featured. Let me tell you, it's gorgeous! I am a Newyorker, and I know how to embroider, so I am gonna try to make this great pillow in honor of The Big Apple! Thank you for the tutorial and have a nice rest of the week.

  13. I LOVE this! I love NYC so much and I can't draw, so I'm impressed. :-)

  14. Hi Rebecca,
    I have featured this post, also, as one of the featured bloggers from Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party 22.
    It will be posted on tomorrow's post.
    Thank you so much for sharing with Adorned From Above.
    Debi @ Adorned From Above

  15. Thank you so much Debi! This has made my day! I will hop over later and take a look!
    Hope you have a great day!

  16. thanks a lot for this fab tutorial. definitely pinning this!

  17. Sew Can She sent me over...This is such a great idea!!! I love doodle embroidery and your pillow is wonderful..I travel a bit and this idea is better than buying trinkets ! :) Thank you for sharing.


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