How to restore a vintage tapestry and turn it into a cushion
Do you often see old or vintage tapestries at boot fairs or markets? Do you marvel at the work that went into sewing them and the time it must have taken? Do they make you feel sad when you think of all the stories they could tell?
I cannot resist buying them, as a result I have a whole suitcase full in my sewing room. Occasionally they come in a frame that I reuse elsewhere, bonus!
The first thing I do is remove them from the frame, gently wash them and check for moths. If they are then reusable they will probably look like this…
In which case some restorative trimming and neatening with the overlocker is my next course of action. As you can see from the above pic, they are also often warped, this is hard to correct but it is possible with gentle steaming, with the iron hovering above them and lots of manipulating.
There are many things you can make with old tapestries, the only limit is your imagination!
I like to make cushions, we have a theme emerging in the lounge ; gamebirds!
The How to:
Select some fabric, size depends on your tapestry and cushion. You could use scraps and make a patchwork.? I used some woollen tweed.
1. Start by cutting two strips from your fabric, make them a little wider than your tapestry, to allow for the unevenness in the edges of the tapestry. Right sides together place one at the top and one at the bottom, pin and sew as illustrated below. Turn right side out and press seams, using a cloth to protect the tapestry. At this point you can trim the sides to make them straighter.
2. Do the same for the left and right sides, finish by neatening the edges, using zig zag stitch or the overlocker. Trim all the edges to a straight line, press as before.
3. You now should have a piece that looks like this:
4. Measure and cut out a back piece of fabric, using your front piece as a guide, again make it slightly wider at the sides to allow for the zip to be applied.
Fold this piece in half and press to make a cutting line, cut it in half. Place the two pieces back together right sides facing and sew about an inch down from top and about an inch up from the bottom. open and press, neaten central seam edges, as illustrated…
5. Lay your zip on top of your central seam, pin tack and sew in place. Open the zip and press seams. Place front and back piece right sides together, pin and sew all around outside edges,trim and neaten edges. press seams.
Open, right way out press again, pop in your cushion pad and enjoy, all finished.
If you would like to see my other tapestries and read about the duck cushion in this picture.
If you are following this tutorial and need help, post a question in the comments and I will answer it asap…