I'm excited to share a new pattern with you because sometimes you just have to make things that make you feel good! I made this cushion after a period of self doubt, it's a bright happy cushion and a note to self that I am capable. Inspired by the lyrics of Gwen Stefani, "Life is short, you're capable". Hearing her song lifted my spirits, motivated me to take chances and I do ask myself 'What you waiting for?'! 

So here's my note to you - a 13 page PDF pattern to make a 'You're Capable' cushion or mini quilt with step by step instructions and full size templates. Included in the pattern is a bonus kindred embroidery design template to create a decorative embroidery hoop, tiny pillow or pin cushion. Or use it to embellish larger projects such as bags or clothes.

I did a stash dive and came up with a selection of my favourite fabric prints, all original Cotton + Steel with a fun 80's vibe. The simple square patchwork is quick to sew and doesn't distract from the applique lettering. I picked black Sprinkle for the lettering, so it would stand out but not be a flat solid.

The applique templates use a font reminiscent of the more ornate font used on Gwen's Love Angel Music Baby album and her L.A.M.B label. I used bondaweb to make the applique process fast and the pattern comes with reverse templates to make tracing simple.

As usual I decided to try out something new while making this project and rather than cut the letters out with scissors I used this small rotary cutter from Precision Quilting Tools. What a strange experience! I have to admit I wasn't prepared for how sharp this cutter was. I really pressed hard going around some of the curves at first because I didn't think it could handle it. SO wrong! The board carries the scar of that mistake. This cutter glided through and it was super easy to use, much quicker and less hand strain than scissors. I did use embroidery scissors for the cut out sections because some of them are small, I think with practice though I would be confident using the rotary cutter. 

The applique was sewn using free motion stitching and Aurifil 50wt thread in #2692, which blends in beautifully. I just stitched round the letters, as a top stitch to secure the applique. You can do this with a straight stitch but it's more time consuming as you have to stop and pivot. As this is raw edge applique the fabric will fray a little at the edges and I love that look. It would take more time but it would also look great using a decorative machine stitch to enclose the edges.

Often when I do applique I quilt the background first but with this project I decided not to and instead added some hand quilting.

Rather than use an orderly quilting design, I went random! Picking out different squares and either hand quilting a X design or a square design ¼” inside the square. I used Aurifil 12wt thread in #2612 Arctic Grey and #5022 Mustard.

- I am teaching an online Big Stitch Quilting & Tying class in February, to learn those techniques book your place here.

Hand quilting gives such a lovely texture and it was great fun randomly stitching the various squares as I went.

The cushion is 21" square and the two strips of binding I had cut weren't enough (so the pattern calls for three strips, though you could just do as I did...). I grabbed a nearby fabric scrap and added that in. Let's call it on an on purpose modern design feature shall we?! Anyway, it works!

I'm proud of the finished cushion. It brings a smile and we all need that right now. 

Truthfully I finished this project last March. Everything was so chaotic and I never shared it. I finally wrote the pattern up and am sharing it 10 months later. So I don't work fast, I can't always meet my self-imposed goals but I show up when I need to and I prioritise family and work. I've been giving myself a really hard time but look, I did it... in my own time. I am capable.

The bonus embroidery design was dreamt up, drawn up and stitched out this past week so I'm extra capable right now! I plan on making this into a pin cushion / pillow decoration this weekend and I'm happy I could add this extra element to the pattern. 

I hope you enjoy these designs and perhaps you could make the cushion or stitch the design for yourself or someone you know that needs this reminder...

You're Capable is available to download from my PATTERN SHOP.