First of all can I just say how absolutely thrilled I am to have a feature in this month's 'Living North' Magazine. Writing a little feature like this about how 'Ruby Seppings' evolved over a long period of time in different countries, was a real pleasure and I hope you will check it out if you can.
So.. the tuffet. Well, this is a project that has been on the back burner, or rather on the top of my cupboard for quite some time. It all started when I was visiting my dear friend Sylvi in Houston last year. She was making tuffets and teaching tuffet making and I went along with her to one of her classes. Of course, I came home with the pattern.
It is a comprehensive piece of work, produced by www.tuffetsource.com Back in the UK though, the problem for me was that it required quite a bit of kit and sourcing this was not easy. With hindsight, I would have bought a complete kit, which I have seen available on a few websites within the UK. As it was, I found I could get the foam cushion pad cut quite easily from the local market and they even shaped it for me. So I thought I was well on my way with it. Alot of the bits and pieces needed could be found on a great upholstery website www.upholsterywarehouse.co.uk What was really difficult to source was the circular wooden base. I asked around a few local timber places. Apparently cutting circles is not so easy and requires something called a 'jig' and a one off is not really worth doing. My plans came to a halt and after a few months, I wrapped the foam up and put it on top of my cupboard in despair.
Then Sylvi sent me a mini tuffet pincushion kit and this I did make and absolutely loved doing so. It is so fun choosing the colour combination that you want and I added a hand embroidered button to really give it a colour pop. It is already indispensable and just a charming addition to any sewing room.
It is smaller and therefore easier to make than the full size tuffet of course, but the construction is pretty much the same. You can get kits for these from Sylvi here - great gift idea! Having done this though, I was inspired...I climbed on a chair and got my tuffet bag down again and decided I really had to find a solution - I did. An enormously kind friend of mine from my ceramics class had cut me some wooden blocks for my painted patchwork project (this is a work in progress and I will be writing about it soon) and he agreed to try and cut the base. I was just over the moon when he brought me a couple along to class. Now I could get going. I began to make the fabric cover using the foundation pieced pattern. I used Tula Pink's 'Elizabeth' fabrics, which I had been saving expressly for this purpose. I love this quirky fabric range and used Sylvi's version as a basis.
If you are familiar with the foundation piecing technique, it is pretty straight forward really.
The panels made up rather quickly because I was only using a few segments on each one. On the pattern there is the option to put in many more stripes if you wish, but as I wanted to feature the Elizabeth fabric I made a larger central strip on each panel.
Once all the stitching was done, I was ready to assemble the tuffet and here I got held up again as I had to find the bun feet and some upholstery weight batting. I followed the detailed pattern instructions to the letter and I think it is worth to do this on what is quite an expensive project when you add in all the components. The hardest thing was to attach the central button and pull it tight enough. Probably would have been easier if I had asked another pair of hands for help. As it was, I managed to get it secured and actually it looks fine.
When it was finally done, I can honestly say that it was a real "TA DA" moment. This project was worth the wait and the cost. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!
It isn't perfect, I know, but on the other hand, it is a terrific piece of whimsy to have in our Sitting Room. I would have to say Little Miss Muffet is welcome to come along and sit on it...just so long as she doesn't bring the spider!
See you soon, Ruby x
ps. Trouble is...don't you think this needs an accompanying quilt???????