On a dark, gloomy winter day what could be more of a pick me up than adding a splash of colour to a design scheme? Strong colours such as purple, magenta and red give an instant lift to the senses, making a statement in a neutral space and can be introduced in an instant in the form of a throw. These really useful home accessories are both practical and versatile. With such a wide range of styles and colours available to buy, there is something for every taste and every pocket.
Luxurious velvets and wools are fabulous for the winter season. Not only can these sensous textiles enhance a room visually, they also introduce a feeling of softness and intimacy, particularly in a bedroom.
Got a chair that is looking a little tired or which no longer matches your design scheme? Transform the look of a room in an instant. For a fraction of the cost of a new chair a throw can create stunning and amazing feel good effects in seconds.
Or maybe you prefer the Shabby Chic look?
And throws are so versatile. In the warmer seasons of the year a heavy weight throw can be stored away and cooler shades can be given precedence once more, so your home environment adapts with the seasons. In the Spring and Summer, choosing a throw in a lighter cooler texture such as cotton or linen and in pastel or natural tones brings a fresher feel to the room and reflects light adding to the cooling, envigorating sensation.
Not only can a throw create a decorative feature in a room, it can also be used in a practical way, such as on a bed in the winter as a topper, for extra warmth. A throw on a sofa is also handy for snuggling under on cold winter evenings in front of the fire or on home movie nights. Or enjoy the pleasure of a picnic in the garden, in style. See more
Or to get the look on a budget, why not take a look in some charity shops and see if you can find some old curtains. If the fabric is still in good condition and you can wash them you can edge one in a contrasting colour or sew two right sides together and then turn them out so you have a backed throw. Or buy several pieces of fabric and make your own patchwork on a long winter’s evening? Have fun!
Use to cover a chair, as a picnic blanket or a child’s play mat
You will need:
15 pieces of material 35 x 25cm each in complimentary colours in fabrics of equal weight and thickness. Being eco-friendly, we used 100% curtain weight cotton fabric from an old pattern book
Two strips of plain fabric 135cm long and 17cm wide for the top and bottom borders
Two strips of plain fabric 115cm and 17 cm wide for side borders
1.5m Lining fabric or plain cotton fabric (137cm or more wide) for backing
Sewing thread in appropriate colour/s
A 1.5cm seam was used throughout. We recommend pressing seams open as you go for more accurate results
How to make the throw
Lay out the fabric squares and decide best how to arrange them
Sew together the top row of three and press seams open
Continue by sewing the next three together, press, and follow with the third , fourth, and fifth rows
When all the rows are sewn together, join the top row to the second row, being careful to match the seams of the squares by placing a pin into the seam at right angles to hold the two together ready for stitching. Stich together and press seams open carefully
Continue in this way until all five rows have been sewn together making a finished area of three squares by five
Find the middle of a long border strip, and mark with a pin, fold or pencil dot on the wrong side of the fabric. Do the same for the patchworked piece and match the centre points. Pin carefully in place and sew together, leaving ends extending away from sides (approx 17cm). Repeat for the bottom edge.
Repeat the above for the side borders, trimming away any excess length once you have matched the lower part of the side strip to the sides of the top/bottom borders, which now lies between.
At this point you can add a layer of wadding if you wish for a warmer, padded quilt. Pin the wadding at regular intervals making sure that the fabric lies flat and that there are no folds catching in anywhere. Basting the wadding in place will help to reduce any movement.
Lay out the completed top layer, right side up, either on a large table or on the floor, and taking exact measurements of the finished piece cut the lining fabric to size. Place the lining fabric over the completed patchwork with right sides together matching side seams and corners.
Sew around the outside edges of the throw leaving 40cm open along the bottom edge. Turn the throw inside out and press around the edges, folding in and pressing the seam allowance at the bottom opening, and then handstitching this closed.
Press the whole throw until you have a good finish to the edges and the seams are all well settled. Top stitch around all four edges about 0.5cm in, and again on the inside of the border edge. You can use the same colour or choose a contrasting colour as a feature.
To anchor the throw in the middle section, we used a small decorative flower feature stitch in the corners of every other square. This holds the layers together while allowing them to be flexible at the same time. For a more quilted effect you can sew down every seam from top to bottom, and across in a grid, but bear in mind that this requires greater accuracy in the preparation of your piece as any discrepancies in measurements will surface at this stage. You can also use crochet cotton to “tie in” the layers at the corners of the patches. Stitch through from the top with the thread leaving the end free, coming back up, down and up again, then double tie and trim the ends leaving tufts, for a more rustic or shabby chic style finish. Again you can make a feature by using a stronger colour.
From a recycling perspective, you could also use fabric from old curtains, or old shirts to make this throw, as long as the fabrics are of a comparable weight, clean and in good condition. A variety of textures and colours can be fun.
Making eco soft-furnishings yourself with recycled materials contibutes to a more sustainable way of living and brings great pleasure both in the making and use of the finished item. If you would like to let us know how you get on, or have ideas to share, or other examples of upcycling, we’d love to read them in the comments box.