Blue Sky Thinker

So, here it is: a long overdue tutorial.

One which will hopefully solve the perennial problem

of what to make for all those really ‘hard to craft for’ men.

You know, those weary I.T professionals 

who have to sit through hours of cliche laden management speak every day.


1. Get your materials ready. I have re-purposed some suit fabric for this

and used a chalk pencil to write the words before embroidering them.

Wash and press all the fabrics before you start,

and make sure you measure twice and cut once.





2. Print out your flying birds: Print out your PDF. You will have a small, medium and large flying bird to choose from, or use all three!


3. Make cushion pieces: Cut a square for the front, 1″ bigger all round than the cushion pad you will be using.

The cushion has an envelope back.

For this you will need to cut two pieces of fabric,

each piece to be 1″ wider than the cushion pad and then half the length of the cushion pad plus a further 3″.

Clear as mud?

My cushion pad is 12 ” x  12″. So, I cut the front fabric 13″ x 13″. And cut the two fabric backs 13″ x 9″.

4. Applique the bird: Using the paper template as a guide, cut out your bird (or birds) and pin in place.

With a small neat running stitch, sew the bird in place.

5. Embroider: In your very best handwriting and using the chalk pencil (or similar)

write blue sky thinker across the bottom of the cushion front.

Then using embroidery silk (floss) and running stitch,

embroider over the words.






6. Make the envelope backs: You will need to hem one long edge on each piece of fabric. Fold 1/2 ” over, press and then fold this edge over again, so that the raw edge is hidden. Stitch in place. Repeat for both back pieces.


7. Assemble the cushion cover ready to sew: Take the finished front and place on a flat surface, right side facing you. Take one hemmed back piece and place it level with the top of the cushion front, with the right sides together.

Then take the second back piece and place level with the bottom of the cushion, with right sides together. The back pieces should overlap. Pin carefully in place, before stitching all around on your sewing machine.

8. Clip the corners: With small sharp scissors cut straight across the seam allowances at each of the four corners. This will help to make the corners sharper on the finished cushion cover.

9. Nearly finished now: Turn the cushion the right side out,

carefully prodding the corners from the inside to make them as sharp as possible.

Press. Insert cushion pad.





10. Admire you handiwork: It’s all done and well done!



I’ve obviously made a cushion here,

but the basic idea and the applique pattern are very versatile and could easily be adapted.

You could make a pencil case, sew it on a t shirt, make a picture.

For myself, I’m very tempted to make a patch and sew it to the lining of my very own blue sky thinker’s work suit…






10 Responses to “Blue Sky Thinker”

  1. Pat Sieler Says:
    October 20th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    What a handsome cushion. And you could use it for trolling on the internet as well.

  2. wonderwoman Says:
    October 21st, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    great tutorial Janet – thanks.


  3. julia Says:
    October 22nd, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Beautiful. And it looks so cozy.

  4. Pink thing Says:
    November 6th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    […] Now, this is completely unrelated, but Sew Mama Sew have started their handmade holidays and have very kindly included my blue sky thinker tutorial. […]

  5. elsa Says:
    November 8th, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    love this … great for Portland this time of year!

  6. Jandi Says:
    November 8th, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Wonderful tutorial!

  7. janice Says:
    November 10th, 2009 at 1:33 am

    ooohhh can not wait to try!!!

  8. mara Says:
    November 11th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I love the idea of using the pinstripe horizontally. Looks like old lined schoolpaper. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. mara Says:
    December 31st, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    I was inspired to use pinstripe in a gift for my brother:

    The results aren’t as great as yours, but it was a fun experiment!

  10. Heather Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    just fantastic. inspiring. Off to have a go ….happily !

Leave a Reply