The Seminole Indians of Florida left a truly remarkable legacy with their patchwork designs. Used on pottery and baskets as well as quilts and clothing, the seminole patchwork designs look complex but are relatively simple to make.
This patchwork cushion cover is made using three colours and a straight cut on the strips – one of the most simple designs
Strips of fabric 1.1/2″ wide in blue and yellow, 1.1/4″ wide in black
Two strips of black fabric 1″ wide
Making the seminole patchwork strip
This patchwork cushion cover is made using a straight cut on the strips – one of the most simple designs. Sew the three fabric strips together along the length with the black in the middle. Press the seam allowances all in the same directions. This makes it more easy to match seams when sewing the smaller strips together. Cut across the width of this strip at 1.1/4″ intervals. These pieces will be sewn together offset so that the top of the black of one strip lies against the bottom of the black strip to the left of it.
With right sides together, place two strips with the black/yellow seam of one matching against the black/blue seam of the other. Sew the strips together first in pairs and then sew the pairs together until you have one long strip. The strip should be about 39″ long. Press.
In order to trim the edges of this strip place your ruler on the seminole strip, lining up the 1/4″ line on the ruler with the corners of the black squares. The edge of the ruler is now 1/4″ from these corners. Cut along this line and repeat on the other side of the patchwork strip.
The seminole strip looks stunning on its own, but it is safest to add a border strip above and below to hold all the triangles in place and prevent stretching. Sew a 1″ strip of black fabric to either side of the strip. Sew with the black strip underneath and the seminole strip on top so that you can see that your stitching is going just outside the black squares as you sew the seam. That’s the seminole patchwork part of this cushion cover complete. You will need to cut this into two 17.1/2″ lengths for the cushion cover.
Making the patchwork middle of the cushion cover
The middle of the patchwork cushion cover is a larger strip of the same pattern. For this you will need three 4.1/2″ black squares and two 4.7/8″ squares each of blue and yellow. Cut the yellow and blue squares along the diagonal to create triangles and place them as shown with the black squares on point (placed diagonally) and the blue triangles above, yellow triangles below. Sew a triangle to each side of the black and add the triangles at each end. When adding the triangles, begin and end sewing 1/4″ from the edge so that the stitching from two seams just meet at the corner of the square. Trim the tips.
Trim the edges of the patchwork strip and add a 1″ strip of black above and below the strip. Cut the strip to 17.1/2″ long. The cover overall will be 17.1/2″ wide which will give a good fit with an 18″ cushion pad. Making the cushion cover slightly smaller than the cushion pad gives a nice plump cushion when complete.
Finishing the cushion cover front
Sew a 2.1/2″ by 17.1/2″ yellow strip above and below the patchwork strip and then add the seminole patchwork strips above and below the yellow strips. Sew a 2.1/2″ by 17.1/2″ strip of blue fabric at the top and bottom and that’s the front of the cushion cover complete.
The back of the cushion cover
Cut a rectangle of yellow fabric 17.1/2″ wide by the width of the fabric. Turn under a double hem on each of the short edges so that the raw edges are hidden and slipstitch in place – or machine stitch if you prefer. Lay this rectangle with right side up and place the patchwork panel on top with right side up. The backing will extend about 12″ above and below the patchwork panel.
Fold the backing below the patchwork panel up over the top of the patchwork. Fold the backing above the panel down so that the patchwork panel is completely covered and the backing fabric overlaps by about 8″. This will create the envelope to turn the cushion cover right side out and to insert the cushion pad.
Pin carefully, making sure that you have all the layers of fabric together at the edges, and sew all round the edge of the square. I tend to use a 1/2″ seam to make sure that all the layers are caught in the seam. Turn the patchwork cushion cover inside out through the envelope at the back, gently push out the corners and insert a cushion pad.