Thursday 13 October 2016

Denim Shirt Cushion

or Why I Don't Always Strive for PERFECTION!

There's no point in doing something unless you do it well. That's how I normally approach things, and at times I can be a bit of a perfectionist. However, to apply that approach to everything in my life, even to all my sewing, would cause me to be a total stress head. Ha, ha.. my family would say stress head describes me to a tee!

Denim Shirt Cushion ~ Threading My Way

Mr TMW recently acquired a cushion insert. It was just what he wanted for the old chair in his study - extra padding to sit on. Problem for me, though, he began using the insert with no cover

Without even making an appearance on my To Do list, a cushion cover for Mr TMW immediately jumped to #1. 

Hanging on my sewing room door at the time, was a large denim shirt a friend had acquired for me at an Op Shop (Thrift Store). No need to search for the perfect fabric - that saved a lot of time.

The button placket would act as the closure, so all that was left was to cut two squares from the shirt and sew them together. It doesn't get any easier!

The insert measures 19¼" x 19¼", so I cut the fabric to 17¾" x 17¾" - 1½" smaller as I usually do.

Well, that's what I meant to do! I inadvertently cut one side too small. The easier the project, the more likely I'll make a mistake.

Easily fixed, though. I cut a strip and added it to the centre of the too small piece. I'll call this a design feature, as I rather like the look. The topstitching is done with topstitching thread, so adds to the denim jeans look.

That didn't add much extra time. 

Sew the two squares together and FINISHED!!!

Why I don't always strive for perfection when I sew ~ Threading My Way

And here's where I let things go - no taking time to strive for perfection. I didn't even iron the cushion for photos!

There's a gap in the button placket, because it was the bottom of the shirt. I almost sewed another buttonhole and added a button, but I left it as is.

Secondly, the dark fabric left by removing the pockets looks odd. I could have overcome this at the cutting out stage, by leaving the pockets on and repositioning where they would end up This would have meant patching extra pieces of fabric to make the required size, and the effect could have looked rather good.

The reality is that the button side of the cushion is underneath and won't be seen, and, Mr TMW couldn't care less.

Left as it is, this was a very quick and easy make, and I felt good about it. The goal was to cover the cushion insert, and I've done that. There was no stress at all involved and I can go back to sewing the projects on my list.

If I'd let the perfectionist in me do a better job of making a good looking cushion, it would have stressed me - not because there's anything difficult about it, but because this would have taken time away from other things I wanted to be doing. 

Functional sewing for a purpose - that's what this project was all about. It gave me satisfaction, and my friend will be pleased I've been able to make use of the $3 shirt she bought for me.

One day I may invest the time in piecing together a denim shirt cushion. I think it could be fun. And when I do choose to do it, I'll no doubt do it properly, and the perfectionist in me will come out.

The following links may be of interest...

Does perfectionism help or hinder your sewing?

... Pam


  1. Finished is better than perfect any day!! Your cushion looks great, and design opportunities happen around here all the time too!

  2. I am sure Mr TMW is delighted with his new cushion cover and that is way more important than whether it is perfect or not!

  3. Perfect re-use. You should put tassels on the corners to bug him a little. lol

  4. I've become more of a perfectionist as my sewing skills have improved over the years and I look back at how I started out! But generally it's all about making things that are practical and useful. Fabric is very forgiving and I love that about sewing things like bags that don't have to be exact and perfect to work. Now clothes on the other hand need to be a bit more accurate! I don't think I'm enough of a perfectionist to make clothes just yet!

  5. Good idea! It feels so good to recycle fabric for another purpose. When I get to stressing over perfection, or rather the lack of with my personal sewing, I remind myself that 9 times out of 10 when I buy clothing from stores, the stitches come undone, buttons need to be resewn, and quality is just so, so. It keeps me realistic with my own craftiness!

  6. I didn't realize, as I was looking at the 3rd photo, that the pockets were gone - I thought they were still there and that they made a great decorative touch :D The strip insert on the front looks great - a very good design decision :) Done, cute and already in use - that's win/win/win :) The scraps and other bits (arms etc.) would probably make great zipper pouches ;)

  7. Love this! I never strive for perfection. I'd never get anything done. I have never been able to get my hand stitches to be uniform in size or spacing for quilting and have never produced anything where I could say to the sewing police, "Go ahead! I dare you to find something wrong." There is always something wrong! I'm not particularly proud of it, but have learned to embrace my wonky sewing skills.

  8. My other half is the perfectionist, not me. (And it drives me batty sometimes!) Perfectionism kills efficiency. My motto has always been to target consistently "above average", in order to be productive. Served me well in both career and sewing. By the way, I had exactly that same issue as you did while making a messenger bag and ended up "decorating" it with a centre stripe of fabric also!


Thanks for stopping by! I love reading your comments and try to reply to all of them via email. If you don't receive an email reply from me, check back here.