If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a cushion cover from an old jumper, scroll down to find Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘Pull yourself together, Jenny…’
‘No Beryl, not like that,’ I said exasperatedly for the umpteenth time that morning. She’d been loaned to us from Teacups to help with the Mothers’ Day preparations and, whilst she was very keen, I was just wondering whether we’d be faster without her when Guus, our lovely Dutch flower supplier, came in with a mountain of new stock for our busy weekend orders.
‘This place is looking better every day!’ he said.
‘I know. I just wish we hadn’t still got two extra bodies and a set of tools in here with all these flowers to contend with,’ I whispered, with a little nod towards Joe and Barry, the builders. Every day they’d promised they were nearly finished.
Joe must have heard me because he piped up, ‘Only about half a day left now, Jenny,’ and gave me a cheeky smile. But Kim heard him and her reflex action was to shout, ‘No, not half a day! Two hours and I want you and all your equipment finished and out of here.’
Guus ducked to avoid the flying anger and headed for his van, happy to have the excuse of urgent flower deliveries. The shop fell silent except for the intermittent whirring of Barry’s electric screwdriver and the slapping of Joe’s brush against some cupboard doors as he repainted them to the exact colour Kim had demanded. Even Beryl didn’t utter any sort of quip to lighten the atmosphere. But thank goodness she could now unwrap, strip and snip these new flowers instead of attempting anything more advanced.
My nerves were starting to kick in. Would we have enough flowers for the orders that were flowing in? Would we be able to prepare all the bouquets and arrangements on time? Would we have room to prepare and store everything? I worry every year and we always manage to pull it off, but this year the shop layout was different and builders hadn’t even vacated the premises.
Pull yourself together, Jenny, you can do this! That was my rather longwinded mantra but I’d only said it to myself once when Barry snapped shut the fastening on his toolbox and the two builders stood up to leave for the last time. Wow this mantra’s magic! With a cocky smile I said it to myself a second time and something else happened – such power! But it was a creak and a whine, followed by an almighty whoosh and a scream from Jaz.
She had been filling a couple of buckets with water to put some completed bouquets in but the pipe from new tap had burst apart. It had drenched Jaz and was gushing out all over the floor. Pull yourself together, Jenny, you can do this. Could I? I didn’t even know where to turn the water off any more.
Luckily Kim was on hand. ‘Joe, Barry! Where are you going? You must sort this out!’ she screamed.
‘Nothing to do with us,’ Joe said. ‘That’s the plumber’s work, not ours.’
‘Please?’ She tried.
‘Nope. Two hours was what you gave us and it’s been one hour fifty-five minutes. We’re out of here.’
Jaz was rooted to the spot, stunned by the cold water that was now dripping off the ends of her hair and down the inside of her top. Her feet weren’t too bad but the water was continuing to flow and even in her Doc Martens she wouldn’t be safe for long. Nor would the rest of us. And what about the flowers? The customers? Blue in his basket?
Clearly Kim was having no luck persuading them to help us out. I could hardly blame them after the way she’s been talking to them over the last few weeks.
But out of the blue stepped an angel who would fix everything.
‘There’ll be a nice big piece of Bakewell tart for you two lovely boys. I’ll even make you some custard if you like. What do you say, Joe?’
‘How could we resist you, Beryl?’ said Joe and winked at her as they headed towards the disaster zone to sort it out.
I’m happy to say that we now have another successful Mothers’ Day under our belts and our three big peaks (Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day) are all over for another year. Phew.
Beryl fussed over Joe and Barry with tea, cake, and custard and I decided to make a fuss of Beryl by making her two new cushions for her home and, more importantly, persuading Kim that she’s a real asset to Teacups & Tulips and Kim should stop all talk of letting her go. ◊
How to Make a Cushion Cover from an Old Jumper
This old fisherman’s rib jumper belonged to my brother-in-law, Ray. I’ve always liked it but it was getting shabby and stretched around the neck so he donated it for a Salvage Box project. Thank you Ray.
My plan was to dye it a lovely china blue to match the lampshade I made for Beryl a few weeks ago.
However, despite the label saying it was 100% cotton, there must have been some sort of coating on the fibres because it didn’t come out the lovely shade of china blue that I’d expected. You can see that the white towel I’d also put in did come out the right shade and so the jumper would have been great with the Cath Kidston lampshade fabric. Never mind, duck-egg blue is quite fashionable isn’t it?
I teamed it up with another of those old curtain fabric sample sets, like the one I used to cover the office chair. The colours complement the new jumper colour much better. I can see me having to recover another lampshade for Beryl to match, though.
I cut out the square cushion shape only a tiny bit bigger than the size of the inner because I wanted the cushion to really fill it. The rib at the bottom was great to use as the opening and I also used one existing side seam from the jumper.
I sewed around the other two sides (right sides together) and straightened up the existing seam where the jumper started to flare out under the arms.
Then I set to work on the fastening. I closed the gap with press studs and found some old covered buttons for decoration.
I removed the old fabric from the buttons before replacing it with some from the obsolete curtain sample fabric. If you sew a running stitch near the edge of the circles it’s very easy to gather it up then snap the back into place.
I whipped up another cover in toning fabric from the curtain samples. They look as though they belong together!
- Don’t be disheartened if your dye doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped. Just adapt as I did!
- Because this was a knitted fabric I was able to push the button shanks through to the inside and sew them on from there, thus making the buttons more flush with the cover.
- Old jumper
- Obsolete curtain samples
- Old covered buttons
I’m ready for a relaxing time now. I could just curl up with these cushions and a good book. But I’d better not get too attached to them since I’ve made them for Beryl.
Hope to see you all again next week. For those of you who subscribe to emails I’ll be sending out the latest newsletter in a few days, welcoming in the spring.
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