While we all have a bit more time on our hands, there’s never been a better time to get creative and learn a new skill. As well as distracting yourself from the outside world for a moment, creative hands-on activities are also great for mindfulness during these difficult times.


As part of The Handmade Festival’s free and simple #CraftAtHome series, we’re sharing some of our fabulous experts’ favourite craft activities step-by-step, so you can get creative, inspired and try the activity yourself at home!


Up next on our #CraftAtHome series is Mike Aspinall, who you may know as The Crafty Gentleman. Mike is an award-winning crafter from Nottingham and his blog is one of the UK’s most popular DIY sites. It has been featured on the BBC, Channel 4 and NBC. In addition, Mike regularly talks at both national and international craft events, teaches workshops and even presents on the craft television channel, Honchanda. He also shares weekly tutorials on his blog, which covers everything from sewing to woodwork, to name a couple.


The Crafty Gentleman has been a Festival fan favourite for many years, where he makes crafts accessible to all.


In this how-to-guide, The Crafty Gentleman teaches us how to appliquē, the process of applying small fabric pieces to a larger one, to create a layered design. Mike’s guide will demonstrate how to do machine appliquē, create appliquē pieces by hand or with a Cricut machine, as well as how to apply them with webbing and sew them into place.


The Crafty Gentleman’s Appliquē Leaf Cushion

Supplies and tools:


Green felt
A blank cushion cover

Fusible interfacing – e.g. Bondaweb
An iron or heat press

A sewing machine
Complimentary thread

A pencil






  1. Use a blunt pencil to sketch a leaf shape onto the paper side of some fusible webbing (or trace a printed out design).
  2. Cut out the webbing design, leaving a rough 1-2cm excess around the edge.
  3. Follow the instructions on your webbing to fuse it onto some green felt.
  4. Cut out the fused felt shape, neatly following the pencil line from step 1.
  5. Peel off the paper backing from your webbing and fuse it to your blank cushion cover (again, follow the instructions for the specific webbing you are using).
  6. Set your sewing machine to a zig-zag stitch (4mm width and 0.8mm length works well) and a satin stitch foot.
  7. Sew all the way around the edge of the leaf shape, aiming for a dense stitch to create a solid border.
  8. When you get back to the start, sew 5mm over the start of the border, then backstitch for 5mm to tie it in place.


For further information, a tutorial on how to appliqué with a Cricut or other cutting machine, as well as a series of FAQs including questions such as which fabric is best for appliqué, simply head to The Crafty Gentleman’s full blog post


Have you made The Crafty Gentleman’s appliqué leaf cushion? We’d love to see your creation! Tag us and The Crafty Gentleman in your posts – we can’t wait to see what you create! 


Follow and find out more about The Crafty Gentleman:

Website –

Instagram - @TheCraftyGentleman

Facebook - @TheCraftyGentleman

Twitter - @TheCraftyGent

Pinterest – TheCraftyGent

YouTube - @TheCraftyGentleman


Sign up to The Handmade Festival Newsletter

Sign Up