Furnishings that feature old French labels often have a real shabby chic feel to them but can be pretty pricey. So when I spotted a pair of white pillowcases in the Sainsbury’s basics range for £1.90, I thought I’d see if I could turn them into cushion cases using my inkjet printer.
Although these aren’t 100% cotton (they contain 52% polyester), they’re pretty decent quality.
The first step was to find some good sized french labels to print off. Try searching for ‘vintage wine label’ or ‘vintage perfume label’ using Google’s image search and filter the search to show only large images. Here are the two I found:
The above label can be downloaded in high resolution from The Graphics Fairy.
…and this one can be downloaded from here.
The next step was to reverse the images. You can do this on your printer settings, or you can do it in your graphics programme (for example, in Photoshop you can select Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal, or in Paint you select Rotate > Flip Horizontal in the Home / Image tab).
Then you’ll need to print the image onto A4 inkjet iron on transfer paper. You can source a decent sized pack of this on here – mine cost £9.99 for 20 A4 sheets, enough to complete 20 projects at very least, and therefore good value for money.
Turn the pillow case inside out and measure the length. If it’s e.g. 50cm, mark out 50cm on the width in pencil. Then turn the pillowcase back the right way. As the fabric isn’t too thick, you should be able to see your pencil line through it. At this point I measured where the centre of the fabric was too, so I could be sure my transfer would be central. I also gave my pillow case a really good iron to get all the packet creases out.
Follow the instructions on your inkjet paper very carefully – mine required me to cut out my label with a 5mm edge (a small edge is better as the end result does have a slightly shiny look, which is less obvious if you have less of an edge) and place it face down on the ironed fabric, which I put on a hard work surface with an extra thin layer of fabric between the cushion cover and table top. I decided to cut out the label in two sections which allowed me to space them a little further apart, making the design more square than horizontal. Make sure you apply plenty of pressure when you’re ironing the transfer on.
I chose to remove the backing while it was still hot:
Don’t worry if the transfer isn’t perfect – because it’s an old label, it won’t be ruined if a little bit of your transfer doesn’t stick down properly.
Once you’ve completed the iron on process, you might decide you like your cover as it is – or you might want to embellish it further. I decided to keep my wine label cushion as it was, but edge the perfume label with lace. I did this using iron-on hemming web, but you could take the time to sew it for a much neater more long-lasting effect:
Take great care not to iron over the label itself. It’s washable but like most T-shirts that have printed transfers, you can’t iron it. I used white paper over the lace so that the hemming web didn’t stick to my iron. Don’t even get the white paper near your transfer if you’re ironing on the lace. It may stick!
Next, you need to convert your pillow case into a cushion. The easiest way is to literally tuck all the excess fabric in up to the line you marked and then give it a really good iron along the edges BEFORE putting your cushion pad in – no sewing, easy as pie. Ironing along the folded edges will help give the cushion cover a better shape.
Here are the finished items:
They’ve cost me less than £1.50 each to make, so I’m pretty happy with the results – especially the wine label cushion which is my favourite (and has now found a home on our bed).
The cologne cushion cover now lives on the sofa. Naturally the hubby was very pleased to find we had yet more cushions.
I hope you’ve found this make inspiring!