Vintage Textile Cushions: Deco Art

I am having a lot of fun making cushions with my stash of vintage textiles. For a while I will be allowing the “Pop Life : Art In A Material World”  show at the National Gallery of Canada (summer 2010) inspire my choice of fabrics and surface treatments.

I am thinking 60’s and 70’s – graphic designs in bright colours, hippy embroideries, large scale prints, etc. In addition I am working with African and Asian textiles, especially batiks and prints. The cushions are mostly 12″ x 12″ with a down insert and a variety of closures. Just for the pleasure of handling superior textiles I am making some cushions from wonderful handwoven wools and other yarns. I have some really precious wovens too that I am finally allowing to have a new life as cushions!

1. Handy Embroidered Irish Tweed Cushion

First up is a detail of Irish Tweed now embroidered with hands for the “pockets”. The textile was originally in the form of a Miss Marple cape – with pockets.

The whole cushion looks like this:

2. “Blue Hawaii”  Bark Cloth Cushion

The fabric is indeed bark cloth and was printed in Hawaii likely in a commercial setting, IOW, not handprinted but still with plenty of WOW. I have made a textile wall panel also from this print. See the Vintage Textile Panels page.

Reverse side of the “Blue Hawaii” Bark Cloth Cushion:

I use the same fabrics back and front for almost all of my cushions.  The plastic buttons are the only “chintzy” feature here so I am going to change them to some pretty fabric-covered white ones.  The closure is made from the button band on the 60’s style Mu-Mu dress that provided the bark cloth.

3. Belgian Silk Tapestry

Only enough fabric for the front of this cushion. It is a wonderful tapestry woven with a bouquet of flowers, grasses and seeds design. My fave design elements are  the poppy seed case and the grasses. I have piped the edges with orange rayon cord for a more formal look. Likely this textile was saved  from a very lovely antique Bergere chair or some such.

Belgian Silk Tapestry Cushion : Back

The back is made from Chinese silk brocade in greens and yellows.  Picture to follow:

4. Sixties Pink Bark Cloth Cushion (reversible)

A stunning print on barkcloth. Quintessential 60’s psychedelic colours and graphic shapes.  The back and the front are the same print . Zippered closure.

See this page for a wall panel assembled from fragments of the same fabric:


5 Responses to Vintage Textile Cushions: Deco Art

  1. lea says:

    Lovely, the whole thing. Lea

  2. Maxine Davidson says:

    I love the orange cushion. Is it for sale please and can I see the back.
    How much aswell.
    Many thanks

    • wendyfe says:

      O Maxine, I love that cushion, too, so I do not have it for sale. It was remade using the seat cover from an antique dining room chair. I had to patch the areas where the cloth wrapped around the wooden chair back. I repaired the holes using muslin overstitched with threads in the same colours as the weaving. Free machine embroidery worked really well. I have to look harr now to find the mending which is pretty much invisible. The back of the cushion is made from yellow Chinese silk brocade – an old jacket, repurposed. After all that work I could not bring myself to part with it. But I thank you for the very good eye you had for this piece!

    • wendyfe says:

      Thank you, Maxine, for your inquiry. That cushion is on my couch and I and the cats and the grandkids love it so i dare not let it out of the house.

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