Kathy and Lia Sambrook Embroidery Project -
A Beautiful Stitched Cushion by
Mother and Daughter

Kathy and Lia Sambrook Embroidery Project: Make a beautiful heirloom cushion to treasure, by following this example from a mother and daughter.

Young Lia Sambrook - aged 6 - produced, like many children, some lovely brightly coloured crayon drawings of flowers, rainbows, and of course - her mum. Most of us stick our kids' offerings up on the fridge door, where they eventually fade, or get damaged and end up in the bin or forgotten in the back of a cupboard - with an appropriate pang of guilt!

Kathy, however, is an artist who came up with a very creative alternative, which turned her daughter's artwork into a gorgeous embroidered cushion - so it's not only useful, but values and encourages her daughter's blossoming creativity.

Fortunately, her bright idea can easily be borrowed by the rest of us - it takes a little time and patience, but doesn't need artistic skill - that is supplied by your offspring!

To Make Kathy and Lia Sambrook Embroidery Cushion, you will need:

2 drawings from your child, on the same size paper (If you don't have 2 drawings the same size, it's not too difficult to use a photocopier or scanner to change the sizes of the drawings you do have.)

White cotton sheeting at least 2 inches larger all round, than the 2 drawings put side by side.

Sharp pencil

Rainbow coloured threads

Large eye needle


Embroidery frame (optional)

Sewing Machine or needle with strong white thread (For making up the cushion)

Cushion pad - same size as one of the drawings.

How to make an embroidered cushion

Overview of Kathy and Lia Sambrook Embroidery Cushion:

Kathy traced the outlines from 2 of Lia's large drawings onto plain white cotton sheeting. She used back stitch and running stitch to follow the lines, then filled the shapes in with short stitches in a fairly random pattern - as you can see in the detail above. This in-fills the design beautifully, with minimum effort and saves on thread too!

Don't be tempted to 'tidy up' the drawing - it's the child's naive style and authenticity that makes the finished piece so appealing.

Mum then sewed the embroidery together to make a cushion cover - you can add popper strip or zip if you want to make it removable - and added a cushion pad. You might have noticed that she used Lia's drawing's rather quirky outside shape for the shape of the cushion, rather than just making it square - and this adds interest and character to the artwork.

Step by Step Instructions:

If you don't want to damage the original drawings, photocopy or scan them the size you want the finished artwork to be.

Pad a table or board with several layers of old newspaper, then add the cotton sheet, then place the drawing on top. Low tack masking tape will hold everything in place while you work.

Transfer the design onto the cotton sheet by using a sharp pencil to prick through the outlines of the drawing. This should leave a faint mark on the cotton. How many holes you need to make depends on how small the details are - smaller areas need more pencil/'pin'pricks.

Choose your colours. Here you can allow your own creativity to shine through, by using a suitable colour scheme. Kathy has chosen a vibrant but limited selection of rainbow colours - which is guaranteed to look amazing. Use darker colours for outlines, but be sparing with black - it can be too dominating if used everywhere.

Begin with the outlines, using a fairly loose back stitch to give a sketchy but continuous line - you don't have to be too perfectionist here - try to use a consistent style.

Then fill in the shapes using short 'dashes' at a variety of angles - if you look carefully at the detail of Kathy and Lia Sambrook embroidery cushion - you will get the idea.

Make up the cushion by sewing the 2 finished embroidered panels back to back, leaving a gap to turn it all right way out. Finish by either simply sewing it shut (turn the raw edges in) or adding a zip, buttons or poppers to the opening. (Take extra care if washing - not all embroidery thread dyes are fast in the wash - a squirt of fabric cleaner might be safer.)

Mini Gift Cushions:

If you'd like to use this idea to make presents for Grandparents or doting aunts - why not create a miniature version and fill with dried lavender? A lovely keepsake to give as a present!

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