Family Tree Birthday Cushion

So my lovely mother-in-law turned 70 this week and as part of her celebrations, my sister-in-law organised 7 gifts for her. Responsibility for of these came to me as I was asked to make a cushion for her. It was suggested I could make one with a 70 on it, but I wasn’t sure she would be blessed with a cute, squishy reminder of her current age so I sketched up a couple of ideas and got my hubby to pick which he thought she would like the most.

Without a pattern and working close to the deadline (my preferred method of motivation) I gathered some materials in colours to match her newly decorated living room in shades of grey and with a red feature wall.

I had a lovely natural creamy coloured cotton with small grey stars on which I decided to use for the background of the main panel and some lovely grey wool. I also picked up a vibrant solid red which was pretty sheet and pair of patterned holey leggings.

First I wanted to do a ribbon along the bottom with our surname on, so sketched a the shape with a temporary fabric pen and attached the fabric to some bondaweb.

I printed out the lettering I wanted just using word and as an outline rather than a filled letter and again backed the fabric for the letters in bondaweb ready to cut. I always iron on the bondaweb before I cut as the glue seals the fabric and prevents fraying.

A lot of delicate cutting later, I laid the cut layers onto the red fabric, removed the paper backing and then ironed them into place.

Once they were fixed, I then cut out the ribbon banner and then started on the tree.

To make the tree I cut out lots of small pieces from the wool and layered them up so that I could use a much smaller amount of the fabric. Once I had this in place I ironed it into place and used freehand machine embroidery to cover the surface.

This was time consuming but made for a gorgeous texture on the tree and ensures it is ridiculously well attached to the backing!

I then went on to embroider the name banner to add detail.

I also wanted to add a 70 so embroidered a small one on the trunk to commemorate the significant birthday without it being over advertised 😉

Next I embroidered the names onto a double layer of red felt -the thickness really helps give a good finish.

I also handmade all of the leaves. They were cut from organza which I sealed around each edge using a candle. This was insanely time consuming considering I was on a tight deadline but I absolutely do not regret it in any way, I think they make it!

Finally I put it all together, stitching on the names first and then all of the leaves.

For the reverse of the cushion I used a plain but textured grey fabric and sewed the zip in with some red stitching to tie both sides together.

I completely love the finished cushion, but as I was so last minute i ran out of time to take good pictures, sorry! Totes should have taken out the filler for one as it was such a full pad it’s really hard to see the whole thing. Hope you’re able to get a good feel for it despite this. In case you are wondering my mother-in-law loved it too so it was well worth the effort 😊

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