And I made a cushion too

Ralph Lauren Koi fish cushion top

There is something truly satisfying when a modest charity find turns into more than originally imagined. When you spot something you like, take it home, and find the perfect place for it. Doesn’t always work, but over the years, I have had a few notable wins.

Take the half finished curtain I found a few years ago. As soon as I spotted the blue fish, I fell in love with the fabric. So I paid the princely price of £2 (I know, unbelievable – and it was lined) and brought it home.

charity shop fabric Ralph Lauren

It was too long for the bathroom window, so I cut the bottom off and hemmed it. It really worked well in the bathroom. I discovered, printed on the selvedge “Ralph Lauren – Home”. Hmm. I have expensive taste.  Somehow it seemed even more of a bargain for my £2 investment.

bathroom curtains

The curtain is still in use in the bathroom. It has survived the dirty hands, and been washed many times. This is good quality fabric. It’s showing no signs of needing to be replaced.

Ralph Lauren Koi fish cushion materials


This left the cut off fabric. It has been sitting in my fabric cupboard, all this time. Making me smile every time I see the fish. They are so beautiful. I needed to make something from the fabric. This week, I finally took the plunge. (pun intended)

After all, I have a good reason. For the first time, I’ve got a dedicated sewing room. Happy times! No longer do I need to clear my current project away, every time we sit down, as a family, to eat. I even can grab the odd 10 minutes to sew. Oh bliss!

sequin helper

I wanted to make something special for my new work space. There was enough fabric to make a cushion. Even allowing for a bit of fussy cutting, to position a whole fish on the front. Using my rotary cutter, I sliced the fabric into three pieces, to make an envelope style cushion.

Hmm. What do I spy? It seems my new area has attracted a helper. Just the right height for him to stand and play assist.

sequin fish

The fabric is lovely. I love the fish, but I wanted to make it mine. Like a fairy godmother, I added a splash of mini pom-poms and a sprinkle of sequins. Maybe not quite so many sequins as my assistant suggested, but one in each of the fish eyes would do.  (I wonder if he would have suggested so many if it was left to him to sew them on………..)

Ralph Lauren Koi fish cushion top

We had a bit of a debate about which way up this particular fish was meant to be. Fortunately, an “up” symbol was printed on the fabric (first time I’ve seen this symbol – very useful), which proves that this is the way the fish is swimming. Swim, fishy, swim.

Ralph Lauren Koi fish cushion back

On the back, I managed to position two more fish. Ideally, I might have avoided some of the extra blue, but there really wasn’t much fabric left to play with.

pincushion pot in new sewing room

Now my new sewing room has a cushion. Before I show you where I put the cushion, do you fancy a quick tour of my new area?  So glad you do. Come this way. It’s alright, we haven’t got time for me to show you everything, just the layout.

I have a sewing table, where my machine is permanently set up. Remember the pots I made and turned one into a pincushion. It’s looking quite at home by my faithful machine. And very useful it is too.

bureau in sewing room

Next to the table is my bureau, which used to belong to my Grandma, and before her, my Great Grandfather. I’m using it as my work desk. I can swivel around on my chair from the desk to the sewing table and around again to the ironing board. Even my fabric cupboards are in easy reach. I couldn’t have designed it more perfectly.

Everything is white (at the moment), apart from the bureau and the floor. This is the one room in the house that I cannot reach the ceilings. Really, I mean it. Most of the rooms I can reach without resorting to standing on tippy toes. Old cottages have low ceilings. This room used to be the old wash house. Tacked on the side of the cottage. When we renovated it, we raised the roof just that little bit more and added velux windows. I’m hoping to maximize the light.

Ralph Lauren Koi fish cushion on chair

So there you are. End of tour. The cushion is to live on my chair. And very comfortable it is too. Avert your eyes from the dangling cables. I’m still setting every thing up. Although the sockets could not be better positioned.  Instead, take a sneaky look at the work-in-progress, hanging up to the right, that is next on my list.

My thrifty find, four years ago, really did work out well. I now have a beautiful bathroom curtain plus a fun cushion. And the fabric cost me not a penny more than £2. Just goes to show, it’s worth popping into a charity shop, on the off chance of a bargain. You never know what you will find.

Linking up with Thrifty Thursday.

15 thoughts on “And I made a cushion too

  • Friday 24 April, 2015 at 5:26 am

    Lovely fabric, Gorgeous cushion !
    Love the work room’ll so appreciate that.
    I grew up in a house with a wash house and coal house, my parents converted them into a family kitchen with a Stanley stove and red quarry tile floor ..Good memories.

    • Friday 24 April, 2015 at 10:06 am

      There was a coal house here too. Still had coal in it…..and a dead rat… Knocked down a wall and its part of our utility/mudroom now. Funnily enough we have red tiles in there.

  • Friday 24 April, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Lovely cushion… Perfect for your new sewing room (wish mine was that tidy!!). I love finding good curtains in charity shops – so much fabric:) #thriftythursday

    • Friday 24 April, 2015 at 10:08 am

      It’s only tidy as I’ve not moved everything into there yet. Give me a week, and it will be like everyone else’s! Although I’m sure there are some sewing rooms that are immaculate…..

  • Friday 24 April, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I love that you found a curtain and found another use for it. I never really thought about reusing a curtain for other sewing projects. I’ll now be on the lookout for some. I love the pillow!

    • Friday 24 April, 2015 at 10:59 am

      It’s worth looking at all the big fabric items like sheets and bed spreads too. Really good source of great fabric for most recycling projects. I’ve used duvet covers to make bean bag seats. Lots of fabric!

  • Friday 24 April, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    ooh I am coveting your work space…… the cushion 🙂

    • Monday 27 April, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Thanks. 🙂 It is lovely to finally have a crafting space of my own.

  • Sunday 26 April, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Your cushion is lovely and I have serious sewing room envy! I finally have a room to call my own for crafting but the light is poor and I have no tables or work surfaces yet. I’m scouring charity shops for something suitable. x

    • Monday 27 April, 2015 at 8:08 am

      I was hoping to find a table to upcycle. Makes a fun project. Light is such an issue. This is about the only room that has enough, so I’m lucky to make it mine. (Also slightly colder than the rest of the house, so may not be so good in winter)

  • Tuesday 28 April, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Lovely fabric and what a bargain! I love charity shops, you never know what you are going to find. The cushion looks great! Thank you for sharing on #ThriftyThursday

    • Wednesday 29 April, 2015 at 12:27 am

      Charity shops are hit and miss, but worth checking out. This fabric was a win. I love it so much, I would have bought new at full price. Finding it for £2 was a true bargain.

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  • Wednesday 13 May, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    love your new sewing area and *love* your new cushion!
    my assistant would have advised the same volume of sequins as yours did, (also with the same amount of help with the attaching) i think your personalized touches are just perfect!

    • Thursday 14 May, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Always value the input of one of my younger “assistants”. Doesn’t always mean I follow it through though! 🙂

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