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Biscornu (offset square cushion)

Picture of Biscornu (offset square cushion)
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Biscornu is a French adjective that means "that which has an irregular form, with projections" or "complicated and bizarre."

To a seamstress or an embroiderer, a biscornu is a tiny eight-sided embroidered pillow that can be used as a pincushion, an holiday ornament, key chain/cell phone decoration, a scissor fob, the centerpiece of a wreath, filled with flower petals or herbs to make a sachet... They're great for anything that you can think to do with a tiny cushion. Biscornus can be cross-stitched, embroidered, hardangered (is that even a word?), anything as long as each side is square and the same size. I've even seen patchwork/quilted biscornus. Biscornus are very popular items for stitchers to exchange; there are many biscornu exchanges arranged online through blogs and forums.
 
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Step 1: A note about size

Picture of A note about size
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Biscornus can be any size that you desire, only limited by your skill and the materials that you use (the smaller the biscornu, the more difficult it is to turn the corners). I've made biscornus ranging in size from 3/4 of an inch in diameter all the way up to nearly couch cushion size. Most biscornus fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and are made using two pieces of fabric about 4" or 5" wide each. I've chosen to use the slightly-larger-than-average Hallowe'en biscornu that I made for caerbannog for this tutorial because it's easier to see the details.

Step 2: Design

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Cross-stitch/embroider/hardanger/quilt two designs. The designs do not have to be identical, but they should be the same size when they are complete. (A biscornu can be made from any size of design so long as both finished pieces of fabric are the same size.)

Step 3: Optional step: add backing fabric

Picture of Optional step: add backing fabric
This step is optional, but I find that it makes your biscornu much sturdier and less likely to pull apart at the seams. Pin a layer of complimentary-coloured cotton or cotton-blend fabric to the back of each side of the biscornu design. If you are using a looser-weave fabric such as Aida or linen, the fabric will show through somewhat and it will keep your stuffing from poking through the weave. This will become your backing fabric.
roverriffer3 years ago
Where do you get your Halloween pattern? It is cute!
jauncourt6 years ago
These are gorgeous - and really easy, for the effect you get. I think it might be neat to make one in knitted squares, too.
owntwohands (author)  jauncourt6 years ago
Hmm, knitted squares, must try that...
eep. I saw on your blog that you tried the knitted squares thing, and it was - meh (okay pillow, not so much on the nice biscornu shape). Now I can't find your blog to comment. So I'll comment here - It would probably work better if the knitted squares were either a really stiff kind of knitting, or were a blocked-to-square lace knitting sampler overlaid on a nice backing cloth, like satin or velvet. I'll try this and get back to you. Sorry for the incomplete thought :)
It is amazing how easy it is to do something, when it well explained. I want to try to make one as a key chain.

Elena
LenkArt, The Art of Decor
owntwohands (author)  Crazy Pillow6 years ago
If you do make one, post a link to some pictures! Or add them to the Flickr Biscornu photo group. Or both.
I will try to remember to do what you are suggesting. It probably will be more simplified in design.

Thanks,
Decorative pillows]http://www.lenkart.com
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