Gifts II: Space Invader Cushion

This cushion is a Christmas surprise for my son (he’ll get other stuff too, don’t worry… ).  It’s to help gradually transform his bedroom from a little boy’s abode into a cool grunge lair.  Making it is very simple.  At the back, there’s a 10cm of overlap of fabric which eliminates the need for a zip or buttons.  The bright piping adds interest and is beginner-friendly, though be sure to make more than you think you’ll need!

I’ve had a go at this before, many years ago when I used a print fabric (a sweet “Ready Steady Robot” design from Alexander Henry, long discontinued) and it was quicker still, but this time I wanted to use applique after seeing the gorgeous asterisk cushion made by Vacuuming the Lawn.  My OH and I looked at various Space Invaders images and agreed at once which little dude would appeal to our first-born the most:

Drawing him isn’t difficult: he’s basically a bunch of squares on an 8 by 11 grid.  Should you want one of your own and you’re in a hurry, I’ve put him on a Space Invader Excel Graph for you.  Or would you prefer the version of him cheering with his hands in the air!?  Here it is: Cheering Space Invader!

I chose cotton sateen as it’s washable (this is a cushion that the cats will sneak up to sleep on).  It has a richness of colour and a shine that isn’t unlike the brightness of a monitor.  One bonus of working in this bright yellow colour was that even after I interfaced the fabric, I could trace the design through it from a sheet of paper.

Oh look, once you cut the dude out, you can use the offcuts to play Tetris!

The Space Invader Cushion Tutorial

You will need: a cushion, 0.75cm of full-width fabric (more for a bigger cushion), 0.25cm of applique fabric plus fusible interfacing.  2mm piping cord.

1. Firstly, buy (or somehow obtain) the cushion and design a template for the applique to fit.  My cushion is a 55cm square and the Invader is printed onto an A4 sheet.  I cut a 55cm paper pattern for the cushion, plus 1.5cm seam allowance all around (that is, a 58cm square).

2. Fuse some interfacing onto your applique fabric and cut out your design.  Stitch the applique to your cover fabric.  I use a stitch length of 0.4 and a width of 2 on my Elna zigzag.  It takes a good 45 minutes to do an A4-sized Invader!  For  the piping, I cut 4cm bias strips and inserted a 2mm cord inside.  This creates piping to fit a 1.5cm seam allowance.

3. Next, pin piping to the cushion front seam allowance, lining up the raw edges.  Overlap the ends of the piping and clip piping seam allowances at the corners:

4. Add cushion backing.  Make the pattern first: half of the pattern for the cushion front + 5cm for the overlap + 3cm seam allowance for the overlap side.  Cut twice.

5. Pin and stitch the backing, first one side then the other.  Stitch twice over the overlap, especially if your cushion is a firm one.  This will prevent the stitches ripping when you insert the cushion.

I really hope my son doesn’t read this but when I was his age, we had an Atari 2600, an early video game console, on which I’d blast away at Space Invaders for hours each day, or till my mum realized and chased me off into doing something more useful.  Don’t remember the little buggers looking this cute though…