Making patchwork with wool

I am back at my sewing machine! Yay! My wrist is much better, still a little weak and achey, but really now only giving me trouble (sewing-wise) when it comes to using scissors and my rotary cutter. So it’s a good reason to crack on with some ancient Works in Progress where a lot of the cutting out has been done already. I last worked on this patchwork panel made with wool tweed from Magees of Donegal back in (ahem) 2013. It got put to one side because I lost enthusiasm for the bag I had intended it for – it was NOT a well written pattern, and perhaps I had been a little ambitious for the level of my sewing back then.

I unearthed the panel again whilst I was using some of my no-sewing-allowed time to tidy up a bit in my workroom, and had a sudden thought that it would look fabulous with some velveteen that I have from Dragonfly. When I put them together, a lovely cosy cushion (I know it’s spring, but sooo cold today – ironic after yesterday’s summery post!) seemed the obvious plan:

Tweed cushion 3

I’ve learned such a lot about working with wool, and with velveteen too! It is blissful stuff (the colours! the textures! the designs!), but next time I work with tweed, I will use a significantly bigger seam allowance (it frays sooo much). The finished cushion looks pretty good on the outside, but even though the cover is lined, it looks pretty rough and muddly inside, so I can’t sell this one (shame… 😉 ). I am going to have to bind the seam edges because they are so fragile and the whole thing will probably fall apart when I wash it.

Tweed cushion 1

I will also (until I have more experience) leave the ambitiously small scale  patchwork – these are half square triangles made from 2.75in squares – until I have more experience. As you can see, some of my point matching is a bit uneven – although it could have been a lot worse! I found a walking foot was essential for ensuring that the 2 fabrics (and also velveteen against velveteen) didn’t drift away from each other as I sewed up the cushion edges. I didn’t have a walking foot when I made the panel – perhaps it would have been easier to get control of the squishy wool tweed if I had. I also needed a heavy duty machine needle (not that surprising) – so used a microtex 90/14.

Tweed cushion 2

Is it sad to love the back so much? I’ve used my own tutorial to make a covered zip. I don’t think I’d use to make the cover for the zip next time – it was a real menace trying to stitch through four layers of tweed, 2 layers of interfacing, 2 layers of lining and 2 layers of velveteen all in one go, at the zip ends, even with the walking foot. I think I need some kind of super-powered industrial machine before I try that again.

Tweed cushion 4

Have you ever tried making patchwork with wool? How have you found it? I would love to do some more, and am trying to commission people to pay me for it…! I now have a plan raw edge folksy appliqué hearts on red velveteen as yet another idea on my project list…




9 thoughts on “Making patchwork with wool

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I bought a pack of their tweed squares when I was in Magee’s last year but haven’t tried sewing with them yet. I am pinning this post for quick access to all your hints and tips. Oh! And the cushion is lovely, by the way. 🙂

  2. That’s so lovely! I love the colours. Tweed is such a lovely luxurious fabric, it looks great in a patchwork; something I don’t think I’ve seen before. The thought of all those layers makes me skitty.

  3. A really gorgeous cushion Ali, what a good use of your woolly patchwork. After seeing your last posts incorporating velveteen, I’m very tempted to order some. So glad your wrist is on the mend. My daughter found that squeezing a small, soft (cat) ball helped to gently exercise her hand after having it in a splint like yours.

  4. It’s lovely Ali, overlocking the edges may help? I’ve done some wool on wool appliqué and found my machine handled it ok but it’s a semi industrial straight stitch only machine, seems to be ok with most things. X

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