Gypsy Kombi vans

I had long been thinking about making these cushions for my stepdaughter and her VW-loving fiancé. This Christmas offered the perfect opportunity; in November they bought their first home, so the cushions are partly a Christmas present and partly a housewarming gift.

I used Tula Pink’s free coastal cruiser pattern. I have had this bookmarked since the day I first saw it, and I really just wanted any excuse to make it.

Cushions made using Tula Pink's coastal cruiser pattern

I could not decide which fabric to use in the background, so I made one with each.

I did a few things differently from the pattern:

  • I turned under the appliqué pieces and machine sewed them in place instead of just gluing the raw-edge pieces down with fusible webbing.
  • I stopped my quilting lines on either side of the van, instead of quilting across the whole design.
  • I altered the back slightly to move the opening and add buttons.
  • I free-motion quilted the VW logo. (Just do not look too closely!)
Cushions made using Tula Pink's coastal cruiser pattern

I used the technique I learned in Mariya Waters’s class to machine-sew the appliqué with very fine, almost invisible stitches.

Cushions made using Tula Pink's coastal cruiser pattern

I stopped the quilting lines on either side of the van, which meant I had lots of loose threads to sew in!

I chose the colours to try to match their brown sofa and the blues and browns of cushions they already have. We live far away, and I was not able to check my colour matches, so I hope I have remembered correctly. Secretly, I wanted to make the vans in a burnt orange, the colour I most strongly associate with these vans, but I know that would have clashed with everything in their house.

I would have liked more contrast (light–dark) between the background, roof and window pieces, but I am happy with how they turned out overall.

Cushions made using Tula Pink's coastal cruiser pattern

I chose Amy Butler’s Gypsy caravan print as the feature fabric and big leather-look buttons.

I was not really thinking clearly when I bought the cushion inserts. I probably should have posted them across the country unstuffed, but I bought good-quality inserts and wanted to send them if the postage cost was not crazy. Luckily, Australia Post’s fees were very reasonable. (I used brute force to stuff them into Australia Post satchels.)

They live in a seaside town and like the beach and surfing. I often associate these VW vans with surfers and the beach, don’t you?


17 thoughts on “Gypsy Kombi vans

  1. Oh, those are just fabulous! I love the way you’ve arranged the fabric so the patterns make faces for the kombis. They’re very faithful renditions, too. My kombi was sky blue with white trim, and I loved it to bits until it fell to bits! Seriously gorgeous cushions…

    • At one stage the circular pattern on the pearl bracelets fabric on one cushion had a rather unfortunate resemblance to bra cups, but that seems to have been masked a bit with all the headlights on top. They’re not just cars, are they? They’re vehicles with personality that are given names.

  2. These are wonderful Carla! Perfect for a young couple living by the beach! I have long wanted to make these also….maybe they need to go on my ‘to-do’ list?!

  3. These are absolutely gorgeous. Your colour choices and layouts are what makes them, along with your incredible applique skills of course

  4. Pingback: ABC quilt | Granny Maud's Girl

  5. I too made these same cushions for my daughters 1st home a tiny beach cottage near Rockingham, I did go for orange and aqua blues though, great pattern love your softer tones.

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