Halloween is a perfect time to save the planet and have some fun with this Recycled Halloween Zombie Bear Paw Cushion. I adore Halloween, there’s just something about having an “excuse” to dress up, throw a party and buy things covered with skeletons that I love. Halloween is not a tradition that we celebrate here in Australia – but that’s changing! When Spotlight asked me to do a Halloween inspired tutorial I jumped at the chance. Anything to play with some of my favourite Halloween fabrics. (Yes, I have a special collection of Halloween fabrics!)
We love a good cushion in our house and we’ve got a bazillion of them on our couch – some are in better condition than others which is a perfect excuse to recycle them. I love this technique for making a cushion because you can use some of those worse-for-wear cushions to make a new one. It’s also a great way to take some of those orphan quilt blocks you’ve got laying around and get some use out of them as this technique allows you to make any shaped cushion you want.
Cushions are also a great way to add some depth to your seasonal decorating. So when you’re throwing your next Halloween party you can whip up some cushions to go with the great range of Halloween decorations, fabrics and costumes you can buy now at Spotlight (in store and online) .
Tutorial: Halloween Zombie Bear Paw Cushion
- I pressed my seams both open and to the side depending on the situation.
- I used a Schmetz 70/10 needle.
- I used 50wt Aurifil #2600 (Dove) thread for piecing.
- I used the Bloc-Loc Square Up Ruler 6.5″.
- I used Flatter by Soak in Yuzu 248ml as my starch.
- I used a Frixon Pen to mark my stitch lines.
- Fabrics shown in the tutorial are a mix of Spotlight Fabrics and assorted quilting cottons.
- Tolerance Levels: you need to decide what is an acceptable tolerance level for “mistakes”. For example if your blocks are consistently 6¼” instead of 6.5″ are you ok with this. Or if your seams matching are less than an eight of an inch “off” are you ok with this. There’s no hard or fast rule and it’s different for everyone, so remember it’s your quilt so make your decision for you.
- Press your seams at each step. Click here for a great article on how to press your seams for patchwork.
- You can iron and starch your fabric prior to cutting. I also starch when pressing bulky seams.
- When pinning, pin away from you so that you don’t move your pieces when pinning.
- Where possible I chain piece all the pieces I can in one step. If you’re unsure of what chain piecing is, click here for a tutorial on how to do it. However, for the purpose of the tutorials I will step you through all the seams individually.
- Half Square Triangle units are made larger than needed and trimmed down.
- Cushion Stuffing – you can use polyfill or as I have done cushion inserts from old cushions.
- Needle and thread for hand stitching.
- General sewing supplies.
- 17 x 2.5″ squares – 1 x centre square, 4 x green, 4 x orange, 4 x black and 4 x purple
- 8 x 3.5″ squares – 2 x green, 2 x orange, 2 x black and 2 x purple (Half Square Triangles)
- 8 x 3.5″ squares of background fabric (Half Square Triangles)
- 2 x 2.5″ of background fabric
- 4 x 2.5″ x 6.5″ of background fabric (sashing)
- 2 x 2″ x 14.5″ of background fabric (borders)
- 2 x 2 x 16″ of background fabric (borders)
- 16″ x 16″ cushion back fabric
1. Cut fabric as per cutting instructions.
2. Making the Half Square Triangles (HSTs): On the back of all the 3.5″ square background pieces draw a straight line from one corner to the other (as shown in diagram 2). Match 1 3.5″ background square right sides together with 1 3.5″ feature fabric square. Lining up your quarter inch foot with the edge of the line stitch down each side of the marked line (as per diagram 2a and 3).
3. Diagram 3 shows the marker line (in black) and your stitches (in gold). Trim down the marker line. Be careful not to trim your stitches.
4. Press and trim to 2.5″ square. I pressed to the “dark” side on my HSTs and then used the Bloc-Loc Square Up Ruler 6.5″ to trim accurately to 2.5″ square. Diagram 4 shows the HST untrimmed (A) and trimmed (B).
5. Making the Bear Paw: Assemble your pieces as per diagram 5. A bear paw is made of 4 x 2.5″ squares of feature fabric, 4 x 2.5″ HSTs and 1 x 2.5″ square background fabric.
6. Join 1 to 2, 4 to 5 and 7 to 8. This step can be chain pieced.
7. Join 1+2 to 3, 4+5 to 6 and 7+8 to 9. This step can be chain pieced to make the three rows in this block.
8. Join the bottom row to the middle row.
9. Join the top row to the rest of the block.
10. Repeat steps 5 to 9 to make 4 Bear Paw blocks. Pay careful attention to the direction of your HSTs – refer to diagram 10 if needed to confirm correct placement.
11. Adding Sashing and Centre Block: Join C to D, join F to G and I to J
12. Join C+D to E, join F+G to H and Join I+J to K to make the three rows that make up the cushion panel.
13. As per the construction of the Bear Paw Blocks; Join the bottom row to the middle row. Join the top row to the middle+bottom.
14. Adding Borders: Add 2″ x 14.5″ background fabric to left side of block. Add 2″ x 14.5″ background fabric to right side of block. Press. Add 2″ x 16″ background fabric to top of block. Add 2″ x 16″ background fabric to bottom of block. Press.
TIP: If you wanted to you could quilt and bind the cushion panel to make a mini quilt. Add a hanging sleeve to make a festive wall hanging or simply leave as is and use for a table topper.
15. Making the cushion: Take the cushion panel and the cushion backing and place right sides together.
TIP: Use this tutorial from Ms Midge to make a cushion back with a zipper if you’d prefer to use a cushion insert. If using a cushion insert always make you finished cushion 1″ smaller than insert for plump cushions. For example, if your insert is 18″ x18″ your cushion would need to be a finished size of 17″ x 17″.
16. Stitch a half inch seam allowance all the way around the sides, leaving a 4″ inch gap at the bottom. Make sure to reinforce the stitching at the gap so that when you’re stuffing your cushion you don’t pull your stitches apart.
17. Clip the corners off our cushion, be careful not to clip your stitching, to remove the bulk. Turn cushion inside out through the gap. Give it a light press. Grab an old cushion to use for stuffing.
18. Remove cushion insert from the cushion. Using a pair of scissors carefully cut open the cushion insert casing. (Or if you get lucky like me just unzip it!) Use the cushion insert stuffing to fill your cushion. While doing this chant “Brrrraaaaiiiiinnnnnsssss” over and over again. (My zombie bear paw cushion ate two normal cushions to get it full.) Make sure to really move the stuffing around and fill out your cushion corners.
TIP: Don’t throw away those old cushion covers! If the zips are still in good condition unpicking them and use them in another project.
19. When your cushion has eaten it’s full of
brains cushion stuffing, use a needle and thread to stitch the gap closed. I used a ladder stitch and really close stitches to get mine shut. Be sure to use a thread that blends with your fabrics so you don’t see your stitches.
TIP: Clover wonder clips are a great way to hold your gap closed while you stitch (as per diagram 19).
20. Step back and admire your handy work because you just made a Recycled Halloween Zombie Bear Paw Cushion!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a very small commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link, in fact in some cases I can offer you a better price via an affiliate link. I will not recommend something that I do not use myself. These commissions help me keep being able to provide you with great content for free. Thank you, in advance for your support!
Spotlight provided compensation for writing this tutorial. All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced by the businesses involved. For further information about my disclosure policy please click here.
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