Author Archives: Party Spanner


So alongside buttons and Russian dolls, I also love elephants (and owls and cute little mushrooms and cats and and and)

So here we go, yet another felt cushion for your perusal.

I started by choosing my materials…

There's some ribbon in there and some small beads

…but as per usual I completely and utterly changed my mind when it actually came to starting on the “piece”. Oh God, I can’t call these things I’m making “pieces” – it sounds so unbearably…overblown for what basically amounts to me sewing bits of stuff onto other bits of stuff.

I decided on a herd of pachyderms stampeding across the front of the cushion.

Tiny heart shaped shell buttons for eyes. cute!

Using a basic running stitch in the same colour as the background felt, I attached the elephants onto the cushion.

Simple but effective.

*Bites Fist*

BLANKET STITCH around the edges before stuffing. I’m actually getting a tiny bit better at it. Hope springs eternal.

Completed Cushion

Aw, I’m pretty pleased with this one. Would be nice for a babies room (minus the choking eye buttons of course)

In other news.

Look what I bought!

A sewing machine!

It was only after a grim fight to the death for 45 minutes just to get a bobbin wound correctly; that I remembered why I hate sewing machines.

So…I am going to try my hardest to love this new addition, and to get him to love me too – much in the manner of Eliot leaving a trail of M&M’s for ET I am going to go very slowly and not frighten him by…I dunno, actually trying to make anything more complicated than a zigzag edging…

I’m sure high jinx will ensue.


A Simple Tomato pin cushion.


If I stab myself one more time with a pin, I am going to lose my shit all over the the EVERYWHERE.

Quick pin cushion. I’m not prepared to muck about with squares and rectangles and triangles. I’m going simple circular.

Two felt circles.

Tailors chalk around a cup

Plus a freehand green “stalk”

Two felt circles plus one free drawn green leaf design

Plus BLANKET STITCH OMIGOD, plus stuffing equals =

So there we are.

Simple but neat and now I can hold the pins in the cushion rather than in the arm of the sofa/table/floor


Russian Doll Cushion

I love Russian Dolls and have done since I was a little girl, so regardless of whether anyone else like them or not, I decided to make a cushion (GOD YOU BORING COW, MAKE SOMETHING ELSE! Well I have, actually. If you’d like to see what else I’ve been up to this week why not check out my super boozy post over here)

I wanted to make the dolls colourful and with lots of texture. To do this I chose to use some different fabrics, ribbons and buttons and some embroidery.

Basic Doll

I sewed patterned fabric onto the felt background and added embellishments.

Um. Right, her face is slightly off, she looks smug and MASSIVELY chinned

I then made smaller, and slightly different, versions of the same doll (trying not to make the smaller ones look like Bruce Forsythe in a dress)

Bruce, Hitler, Princess Di wedge.

Using overstitch again, I sewed the dolls onto the background and once again blanket stitched the edges. This one turned out quite badly. GOD I HATE BLANKET STITCH.


I think I get away with the shoddy blanket stitch though as the dolls really “pop” and are interesting enough to let the eye slide away from the crappy edging.

Hmm, really selling it aren’t I? HAPPY CHRISTMAS SOMEONE!

If you’d like to have a go then you can get the template I used from here

A Felt Bird Cushion

Next on the agenda of obsessional felt cushion making?


I love the look of naive, folk art and decided I would like to try and design and produce something along those lines. I wanted to sew some basic bird shapes onto a fairly neutral colour (I’m heavily into grey at the moment) and brighten up the design by having one bright bird standing out.

Before sewing

Using a simple overstitch I sewed the birds onto the backing, trying to keep the stitches as neat as possible, HOWEVER, as I have cleverly called this (in my mind) NAIVE work, it’s not a huge deal if some of the stitches are a bit uneven, as it’s all part of it’s folk arty charm. *ahem*

See? NAIVE (not shit).

I carried on sewing all the birds onto the felt background, and also added a lone bird on the back of the cushion for a heartbreaking “THAT’S JUST LIKE ME” moment.

I then made an unadvised visit to John Lewis’ haberdashery department.

The ribbons! The buttons! The felt! OH MY!

Anyway, along with around forty pounds worth of ribbons and “Hand Made by Buddists” fabric; I got my sweaty little shopaholic hands on some fabulous buttons which look just like eyes. On a cardigan? Maybe a bit sinister; on my birdy cushion? AMAZEBALLS!

Almost finished

Just the dreaded blanket stitch to go

Once again I tried, and failed, to make my blanket stitch look beautiful, even and professional. It is becoming my nemesis. I quite like having a nemesis, it makes me feel all Important.

I super-stuffed this cushion, using a pencil with an eraser at the top to poke the kapok into the corners. I think my button cushion was under stuffed to be honest.

I am very pleased with the outcome.

Lovely. (ignore the blanket stitch)

Poor. Lonely. Bird. Just trying to get to it's flock.

Love. It.

I wonder who’s getting it for Christmas..

Pin It

A Button Cushion

Surfing around the internet for something interesting to make I happened upon Bugs and Fishes button cushion. This design is primarily designed for ring bearers in a wedding (DON’T DO IT!) but I loved the design so much, I decided to try making one as a “tester”.

It’s been years since I’ve sewed anything other than buttons onto shirts and trouser hems; but *blows trumpet* when I was younger I was kind of good at embroidery. I felt sure I could tackle this small cushion, and also thought that it would be a pretty good indicator as to whether my needlework skills had deserted me. (Along with my ability to drink tequila until 5am and still get up for work at 7am. This skill has definitely left the building)

I started by entering my own personal heaven. HobbyCraft. Yes, yes, I know it’s ridiculously expensive and I can get everything 60% cheaper online and, and, and…but I’m always so horribly enthusiastic about any new thing. Be that making a felt cushion or having a radical haircut. I might procrastinate when it comes to clearing out a paper-overflowering-drawer; but when it comes to something I get my heart set on? Yeah, I’m not going to wait for that.

So I bought the felt, some buttons and thread to match, and we were off.

And we

I cut out a heart template and pinned


I then arranged the buttons around the heart. Until I realised that this was a pointless exercise as there was no way I could pin the buttons and sew them all on

So after sewing the rose felt heart onto the green felt background (using overstitch) I started sewing buttons on randomly.

This design calls for different sizes and colours of buttons.

I then became horribly obsessed and found myself on a Saturday night; drinking wine, flicking through the ipad for instructions on how to sew a blanket stitch while watching Strictly Come Dancing.

I am INTRIGUED by the hairy orb over my left breast. HAIRY GHOSTS!

And so I built up the buttons until the entire piece of felt was covered.

I then attached the buttony top layer of felt to a plain piece of the same colour and committed a horrible crime of unpracticed blanket stitch upon them both. Seriously, I should be arrested by the Needlework Police (I’m trying to think of a joke here but failing – apologies)

The cushion however did not give a small shiny shit once I had stuffed it full of kapok and instead it glowed at me, like a beautiful glowing cushion of cleverness


So proud was I that I arranged it in lots of places, by the fireplace, by a lamp, near the kettle.

Just call me David Bailey

I settled for the mantlepiece.

It is a LOVELY cushion to be fair, and one I would definitely make again; very easy to achieve for not much outlay (if you have a button box), tactile and pretty. A perfect gift.

Give it a go.

First Things First.

I dragged my sewing box from under the enormous plastic bag, in which are big plastic bags, in which are smaller plastic bags; over the bike helmets and past the hoover.

It’s been quite some time since it’s seen the light of day. What wonders will this box of delights hold?

Sew Disgusting

The answer was a tangle of embroidery threads, interspersed with packets of needles, beads, scraps of fabric and the occasional loveheart sweet.

Clearly, I couldn’t get on with any project at all until this mess had been sorted out.

So I emptied out the box completely, cleaned and hoovered all the errant beads and lined the insides of the box with some old wrapping paper I had lying around.

Much Better

I then had to, boringly, sort out all the thread and get everything neatly arranged. Don’t tell me I don’t know how to enjoy a Friday night.

I give it 1 week before it's a tangle of thread, beads, buttons and lovehearts

And now I can start sewing

An Introduction

Hello! And if you’ve followed a link from my Party Spanner blog, Hello again!

I’ve decided to start a new place to put my craft projects, and here it is.

I’m currently obsessed with making felt cushions and have a number of other projects in the pipeline. I get bored quite easily, so it’s likely that each cushion I make will be a one off.

Most of the things I am making at the moment are destined to be Christmas gifts, so in addition to the felt craft there will definitely be some flavoured booze coming up (Christmas pudding flavoured vodka anyone?) and whatever else takes my fancy.

I hope you’ll enjoy my silly things.