Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Family Cookbook

I'm suffering from sewing withdrawal! We're having some work done in the house which has made my sewing room and materials really difficult to get to.

And, I've been working on a family cookbook to give everyone for the holidays.

It was really a collaborative effort with recipes and pictures from all my siblings. It has been such fun choosing which pictures and what captions to put with them!

We included several generations from great-grandparents... the future generation of cooks!

I think everyone will be happy with it. I hope so!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sewing Workshop

I haven't abandoned my jacket -- I've just had no time since before Thanksgiving. I'm working on a family cookbook for the Holidays -- complete with photos on every page of family members from many generations. It's been great fun, but I would like my life back!

But, for those of you who don't subscribe to Sewing Workshop, I wanted to share the great new pattern that is just out. I've included the link and some photos. I love the lines of both the Tee and the pants. I just placed my order and can't wait to get it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More on Jacket and Oh No! A Fabric Mart Sale!!

Okay, so before I even started my day today, my e mail told me that Fabric Mart is having a 20% sale on almost the entire site! And, even though I said I was making due with what I have, I fell off the wagon! Here's what I bought...

3 yards of a basketweave with eyelash accent (don't know why the picture from the site is so bad); 3 yards of a Vera Wang Cotton/Poly weave; 2 skins of Sheep Skin Suede sold by the skin (nice handbags?)

And I only spent $45 with shipping!

Now back to work.....

The collar on this jacket is a pretty large rolled collar and since it is so much a part of the jacket's statement, I wanted to make sure I took some time with it. I interfaced the under collar and am now thinking that it may have been better if I had interfaced both upper and under collars since my fabric is a bit light, but hopefully I'll be okay. Shown here is the collar interfacing and also the collar turned to the right side and basted on the diagonal (albeit somewhat messily) after smoothing it so the under collar was forced slightly underneath. After pressing it this way, I then shaped the collar on a ham and steamed where the roll will be.

The finished collar is basted onto the jacket and I'm only 75% happy with the match. It is close, but if you count the black lines that converge on the tip, I get 7 on the left side and only 6 on the right. Hopefully, no one else will count them!
The pattern only calls for pinning the under collar to the jacket since the upper collar will cover the seam allowance. However, because I am lining the jacket, I wanted to make a back facing, so I have pinned the entire collar on. My pattern piece for the back facing is below. As I mentioned yesterday, I use Connie Long's book when I have no lining guide. In this case it was easy -- place your material for the new pattern piece (I am using Swedish tracing paper here) on top of back pattern, trace off your neck and shoulder. For the width, use the same width as the shoulder area on the front facing. My back is seamed and, since I did not want the facing seamed, I cut off 1 1/4", as shown, and will cut the back facing on the fold.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Using What I Have!

I decided that I wanted to be a bit disciplined and use some patterns I already own and some fabric I already own -- go figure! I decided on V8300, View C.

I cut it out in a medium, filling out to a large at the bottom. I'm not sure it was really necessary since the jacket is open at the bottom, but I like the way it flares out a bit. I tend to like structural things so it works for me. I needed to move the dart down about 1 to 1 1/2 inches and to do that I used the Palmer & Pletsch Real Fit For Real People method of marking where the dart should fall, drawing a square around the dart, cutting it out and moving it down on the pattern piece. Tape it where it belongs, pointing to the new bust point and then go back and tape some tissue or other filler in the missing space. Reshape the side of the pattern to fit the new dart. I had to think about it a bit, but I do think I like this method. It seemed to work well for me.

For my fabric I got to use some beautiful silk suiting. It feels like silk noil, but slightly heavier, as though there is a touch of wool also. My mother had purchased it years and years ago and passed it along to me recently. It's cream and black, but also has a nice line of dark green and another of dark blue, so you have a few different colors you can pair it up with. I do love it. There's a bit of matching and this time, to make certain I was accurate, I used my fabric pieces to cut from. For example, after I cut one front, I left it on the tissue and flipped the whole piece tissue side down onto the fabric and lined it up exactly where it belonged (visual below). I think you can get the idea from the first picture, but I've added a second with some paper in between the two layers so it's a bit clearer. I know I've learned this trick from a fellow sewer rather than one of my books, so apologies that I cannot remember so I can give credit.

In my case the front and back of the fabric is the same, so you have to be careful to mark which is which before you transfer your markings so you don't end up with two right fronts. (Can you tell I've done that one before??)

It calls for loops, but I didn't think loops would look good with the plaid fabric. The fabric would just get lost. Since I'm pretty sure my buttons will have some black in them to make the jacket more versatile, I decided on black cord/rattail instead and I think it's probably a good choice. It seems to stand out the way I want.

The pattern doesn't call for a lining, but I prefer a lining and the fabric definitely needs the body of a lining. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a back facing, so I've turned to Connie Long's Easy Guide to Sewing Linings. The link I've included is for the E Book, but I have the paper copy, which is definitely my preference -- I spend enough time looking at a computer! This wonderful book has step by step directions for making a lining for all possible situations. In this case, it will be easiest if I make a back facing to attach my lining to and, of course, there are directions for how to do that and it's quite easy. I'll also use her directions for cutting lining pieces, since none come with the pattern. I'm using black ambiance rayon bemberg for my lining.

I've promised myself I'll quit before I get tired, so I'm done for the day. Next step is interfacings, collar, facings, sleeves, then lining. I've sent away for my bemberg so that may hold me up for a bit.

By the way, I saw the Iris Apfel exhibit yesterday at the Peabody Essex Museum. It was truly inspiring! You'll want to throw away everything in your closet -- it will all seem so unimaginative! My mother gave me and my sister a wonderful present of the book, Iris Apfel, Rare Bird of Fashion, Thank you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Swishy Skirt!

I love, love, love this pattern!

I was in Sym's a couple of weeks ago and tried on a skirt that I loved -- slim through the hips and flaring out at the bottom. But, it was far too long and too much detail would have been lost had I shortened it. The very next day, on Pattern Review, this Burda pattern was reviewed and it had the exact look I wanted.
I had some black cloth in my stash that had a wonderful drape and was a nice cooler weather weight. It came together really well, but with some caveats. First, I want to talk a bit about the seams and topstitching. The front and back are each comprised of 3 pieces that are put together at angles. It is designed well because it sews together with no problem. On the topstitching, I tried something I had picked up from Anne at Apple Annie Fabrics (one of my very favorites) and that is to thread my machine needle with two strands of thread in the same needle and topstitch with a very long stitch (I used a 4). I did this and loved it! But, as you can see, when I went back to do the seam on the left the next day, I forgot to adjust my stitch length and didn't see it until the end. I hate when I space it and do something like that! Carolyn asked last week what we hate and, having just finished my skirt, that was my contribution. The fabric was such that it could not be picked out without risking harming the skirt.

If you click on the picture you can see the stitching in more detail. The double thread and long stitch does look nice.

I said I had some caveats and here it is. The skirt calls for a side zipper and facings. The reviews in Pattern Review also warned that it fit very, very tightly. So, I stuck strictly to the size chart, but when I basted the sides, I could pull it on and it still had plenty of ease. I took out an inch on the sides through the hip and waist area and it was still the same. My fabric had enough crossgrain stretch that it really behaved like a double knit. So, I decided to fold over the top 1", and insert a 3/4" elastic. I really didn't want to do this, but when it's on there is really no obvious extra fullness. I'm enclosing a side view as well, and you can see some fullness there, but I think that is more a combination of the fabric and the way I'm standing.

This is a pattern I will definitely revisit in another season and play with some more. I really do love the look and hopefully I'll find the right combination of size and cloth!

I'm off on Friday to the Iris Apfel exhibit -- I hear it is wonderful...

If I don't post again before next week, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you are driving, be safe!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Iris Apfel Exhibit

If you're in New England in the next couple of months, there is an exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum that looks like great fun. It's Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel, and it's there now through February 7. What looks particularly interesting is Friday evening, December 4 which features conversation between Iris and Michael Vollbracht followed by a fashion show and Saturday, December 5, which is a complete day of fashion with a variety of goings-on that are described in full on the website.

Salem is a great town to hang out in and just a stone's throw from Boston, so if you have the chance, it might be interesting. I hope to get there this week, but in case I don't make it there for a bit, I wanted to spread this news around for those who may have missed it.

The Boston Globe had this to say about the exhibit. "This show is strictly about a New York woman who, for the past 70 years, has possessed an uncanny skill for putting together Nina Ricci dresses with tag sale brooches or pairing African beads with a Bill Blass jacket - and making it look perfectly fabulous. She started mixing high end and low end decades before it was the norm. Her natural flair for styling bold ensembles has inspired designers from Jason Wu to Isaac Mizrahi."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Little Knitting, A Little Sewing

I've finally finished a scarf I have been making for DS for too many months now. I loved the look of it when I started -- the stitch creates a very flat scarf with a handsome, subtle herringbone pattern that looks more woven than knit. The edges are very different as well. The pattern was a download from

It was a tad tedious since it is knit lengthwise with 452 sstitches, a very fine yard and #2 needles. But it does look nice, and not too home-made. I think he'll like it.

I feel like it has been forever since I accomplished anything substantial sewing. I'm a tad frustrated and bit bit all over the place. There's a part of me that still isn't sure what I want to sew. I'd like some TNTs so everything isn't such a production, but I've not developed any yet. I also struggle with making things that fit my lifestyle which is mostly at home vs making something really extraordinary.

I thought I wanted to perfect a v neck jersey pattern since I have no experience with knits, but after a couple of attempts, I've decided to put that aside for a bit. It seems like so much work for a jersey or Tee, although, I know that once I master some of the details, I will have something (many somethings) that are much nicer than I will find in your average department store. It also messes with my sense of order to work on fabric that doesn't lay nicely the way wovens do.

Can you tell I'm not in a good place sewing wise? Too many choices and not enough focus -- not even quite sure what style I want to be. Loose and artsy like Sewing Workshop? Tailored a la Vogue and Burda? And then there's always the ten pounds I want to lose before making a commitment to a skirt pattern because this really isn't my size (Oh, dear, how long have I been saying that for?) Does anyone else get like that?

I have been playing a bit with fleece as you can see from an earlier post. I had the opportunity to purchase double sided fleece in several beautiful colors. I just finished this Lois Ericson vest. I love the lines in this pattern, the back angles deeply into the front for an asymetrical look that I think is slimming kind of funky.


The pattern did run quite big I thought. Although it didn't call for darts, as you can see I had to add them to get rid of the gaping in the front armholes. I also took it apart once it was finished to slice an inch off the back seam and then resewed so it was a bit slimmer.

It's a great showcase for the fleece and is certainly easy. But, now I really have to get with it and work on something requiring a bit more skill!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quick & Easy Felt Jacket

I had no intention of buying cloth, or even making something for myself yesterday morning. Honestly! I was going to clean my house! I stopped by Fabric Fix in Manchester to check out wool for my daughter who wants me to make her a jacket and I want to work on it at my Sewing Camp at the end of this month.

But then.....

I saw lovely double sided fleece which would be perfect for this Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern I've had around for a few months. They had a beautiful pink, lime green, red, and taupe, all with black on the other side and for the incredible price of $8 a yard for 60" fabric! So, my plans went out the window. I bought the taupe and ran home to trim the pattern and run it up on the machine. Since it's fleece, it required no hems and no facings. You have to cut the fabric very evenly so I used a rotary cutter. The only seaming was on the shoulder, the side, and the sleeves. The fleece was so forgiving that everything just melted together.

The sleeve has an interesting detail. It's cut very wide at the upper sleeve and tapers as it goes down. To create the taper, you cut a dart out of the cloth, piece the cloth together and close the edges with a zig zag stitch (detail here). I don't really like the fit of the upper sleeve and will have to play with it if I make it again -- there is just too much fabric there. I'll either cut a smaller size, or try to find a way to take some of the excess out of the sleeve without spoiling the lines of the jacket -- suggestions welcome.

There are no buttons or other closures -- the collar folds down a couple of different ways. The sleeves are shortened by simply trimming away until they are the length you want. I trimmed away enough to make it bracelet length. Since the jacket isn't necessarily for very cold weather, I thought the shorter length showed off bracelets while balancing the wide upper sleeve so it didn't overwhelm me and just look too big.

The side also has some interesting detail, with the back cut longer than the front -- side view picture here.

I'd like to experiment with some of the other colors -- perhaps adding a pocket or two that are zig zagged on to carry over the theme from the sleeves. The pattern calls for some artistic needle felting that you can do as well.

Fun look for 2 hours and $13!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pure and Simple Coat

Well, the rain jacket is finished!

To refresh, the pattern is Louise Cutting's Pure and Simple coat. The pattern doesn't call for a lining, but since the weather is getting cooler and I was using a fabric that was suitable for a raincoat, I decided to line it. It was a bit tricky -- I don't have a lot of experience with linings (alright -- none!) and Louise is noted for finishing all of her seams and facings in really cool ways so the inside looks perfect. But, it got done, with Anne from Apple Annie pointing me in the right direction. I included a shot of the lining (below), which is a fuchsia silk print and there is a 1/2 inch piping of solid fuchsia. The fabric is a beautiful tightly woven, shiny cotton from Apple Annie Fabric.
One of the things I like about Louise Cutting is her detail. The body of the coat is in 3 sections so you can actually use three separate fabrics if you're brave. There is edgestitching above and below each of the horizontal seams, as well as both edgestitching and topstitching around the body of the coat and collar. The loop buttonholes on the pockets (which are built into one of the section seams) are a cool touch as well. I had to play a bit to make the loop as it called for making a tube, which you then turn right side out with rat tail inserted. But, my cloth was so inflexible that this proved impossible, so I turned under 1/4 inch on each side of the loop, folded in half lengthwise and topstitched. I've included a close up (albeit a bit fuzzy -- sorry!) of the pocket detail and the lining.

It was definitely a fun coat to make and a great way to practice your topstitching! It feels good on. It's boxy, but a bit narrow in the bottom so I think it would really be flattering on most body types, which is a good thing!

Of course I finished it today. Yesterday poured, and today it's sunny and seventy:) I wore it out anyway because I always wear what I make or buy within 24 hours. Some people never grow up!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Too Little Time!

It's been a very busy week, with the Holidays here. I do have a sewing camp on Friday from 10 - 5 so I hope to make some real progress on my coat then. In the meantime, I did finish up Sarah's shirt. This came right from Pattern Review, fabric and all, and I have to thank AmyRose for sharing so generously. I knew as soon as I saw her review that my daughter would really like it -- actually I would really have liked it! The only thing I did differently was to detach lengths of ruffle from some of the fabric pieces and used it over the serged edge at the bottom. It made a perfect hem which was great since she didn't want to lose any more length, even with a very tiny hem. The cloth is definitely the star here -- not sure I'd necessarily use the pattern again for a plainer fabric.

I did splurge on Thursday during an outing at Sawyerbrook with my mother and sister and bought a wonderful black and fuchsia silk novelty for a suit for a wedding next spring and a cool poly/viscose that looks good on either side and fringes nicely. Will make a funky skirt for Sarah with the right pattern. When I knit I am never tempted to shop for another project until I am finished with what I am currently working on. If only I could translate that to sewing!! I have no discipline when it comes to picking out new projects and cloth to sew with...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Strudel - Homage to Bubbe and Grandma

When I married into my husband's family, Bubbe was an institution in her own right. I had Nanas, who were very, very different from Bubbe. Until Bubbe, I had never met an elderly woman who smoked, much less non-filter cigarettes! And, no one in my family would give an opinion if they weren't asked -- it just wasn't done. But Bubbe?!

When you visited Bubbe, no matter how little notice you gave, or how badly she was feeling (Bubbe's health was poor from the day I met her until she passed away years later), she greeted your presence by pulling a never ending stream of food from her freezer. There were fish cakes, Bubbe cookies, and especially strudel. Her strudel was legendary in the family, though since I wasn't a big strudel fan at the time, it didn't mean quite as much to me. I will diverge for just a moment to say that when Bubbe made fish cakes (which were my husband's favorite) she would go to the market and wouldn't dream of buying a filet of fish. She purchased the least expensive cut of fish and took it home where she pulled all the bones out herself with pliers! That was Bubbe....

My mother-in-law tried to get Bubbe's Strudel recipe for years, but Bubbe never wrote things down and never measured. So, one day, they made strudel together with my mother-in-law stopping to measure whenever Bubbe was about to add an ingredient. Interestingly, Bubbe ground her raisins and no one knew why until they made strudel together and Bubbe explained that Auntie Sylvia didn't eat raisins, so they had to be disguised! And, so, strudel passed down to my mother-in-law who made it faithfully for every family occasion. She was very proud of her strudel!

About three years ago, my mother-in-law entered the nursing home. So, there has been no strudel since then, and for some time before. She gave the recipe to my sister-in-law, but we never did what she did with her mother-in-law and actually make the strudel with her, meticulously noting every detail. Rosh Hashanah is next week and I am determined that we will have her strudel. It won't be the same, but I will try for their sake. I, too, will make adjustments for family members, this time for my son who won't eat coconut (I don't think I can disguise it -- he's pretty discerning). Next week, my mother in law will tell me if I've even come close. Here's to you, Bubbe and Grandma...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sewing Class

I don't know whether to call this new fabric store, sewing classes, or Cutting Lines Raincoat! I started class a week ago at Apple Annie Fabric in Swansea, MA. It's a long drive for me -- over two hours each way -- but when I'm there I stay for 4 hours so it's worth it (I think). I had never been there before and they have beautiful fabric! What a wonderful treat -- you can get some idea when you visit their website. They do lots of project of choice classes and you get lots of individual attention, which is great!

I've been sewing, but really need to bring it up another level. There are a number of things I don't do on a regular basis, including linings, knits, zippers..... So, I've sought out help. My project for class is the Cutting Lines Pure & Simple Coat. I'm doing a single color for all 3 sections and I haven't decided yet if I will insert a matching or contrast piping where each of the sections meet. I am also lining it, though the pattern doesn't call for lining. My fabric is a very tightly woven, shiny graphite color and my lining is a beautiful print silk (both shown below). Along the side of the silk is a solid fuschia border which I will use to pipe the edge where the lining and fashion fabric meet.I will probably do much of the work in class, so it may be a bit before we see a final result. I'll do some smaller projects in between. Off to cut this out -- a bit nervous!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Simply Delectable

Saturday dawned sunny and hot and we had absolutely no plans or obligations. So, with the top down, we set out to drive west on 101 through Peterboro, Keene, and into Brattleboro, Vermont. Whenever we're setting off, one of the first things I do is check out what possibilities there might be for fabric stores in the area. Delectable Mountain Cloth showed up on the internet as a definite possibility for exploring.

What an absolute treat. My words can't do it justice, but their website really does give you some flavor. They are a tiny store right on the main street in Brattleboro. They only carry natural fibers, along with some jewels, buttons, lace panels and scarves. They fit an amazing amount of fabric in a small place. There are no notions, or other mundane distractions -- only lovely things to feast your eyes on -- silks, fine Italian cottons, linens, bridals, velvets, and a large selection of 'whites.' Because their fabrics are only natural fiber, they are so wonderful to the touch.

Their glass counters are topped with pretty dishes holding wonderful buttons of all descriptions -- especially glass. There are no cardboard cards holding buttons -- all are arranged so you can pick each one up and examine its uniqueness.

I was so sorry that I was not organized enough to know exactly what I wanted and how much fabric it would take, but I am so glad that I found this very special place. It's a 2 hour drive for me, but on a lovely day, I would gladly make the drive for a special purchase. If you're a fabric lover and are anywhere in the area, you should check it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stripe Help

I finished my second Liberty Shirt today and, while I like it well enough, it did have its challenges. It was the first time I had worked with stripes and I really wanted to match it well. The stripe is an uneven one and I knew that I had to, or wanted to, have the dominant stripe at center front and have my buttonholes/buttons there. Knowing that, I cut a duplicate front and laid out both pieces with the desired stripe on center front. Although the back was supposed to be cut on the fold, I also made a duplicate back and laid it out with the fabric open and tried to line up the front and back shoulders to match. Again, I wanted that dominant stripe at center back.

No matter what I did, I could not get the shoulders to match and finally decided that, with an uneven stripe, perhaps one needed to sacrifice something in order to get the center fronts to match and that something would have to be the shoulder seams. But, interestingly, one shoulder ended up matching perfectly, while the second was off by about a 1/2 inch or more. When I saw it I almost wished neither matched since it now looks as if I didn't quite try hard enough. If anyone out there has advice, feel free! I'd be happy for the opportunity to figure out if I could have done something differently. The collar I cut horizontally just to make it a bit different and I did like the way the stripes angle at the collar front.

The fabric was a remnant and I've long since lost the information on it. It's shiny, almost like taffeta and all of the stripes are slightly raised, which made construction a bit challenging. I may try a burn test to see what it is. I suspect it's a synthetic of some sort. It wasn't wonderful to work on. For some reason I had trouble with the mitered corners on this as well, even though they were a breeze on my previous Liberty Shirt. I wonder if my eye was trying to follow the stripe rather than the construction of the miter. Bad day?! Oh well, it's finished and I do like it on.

My next project is for my daughter, Sarah. I first saw this fabric when someone reviewed a shirt on Pattern Review. The reviewer was kind enough to give details on where she purchased the cloth since everyone was intrigued and thought perhaps she had made it. It's from Sew It Up under novelty cottons.. If you click on the pictures, you'll get a much better feel for the the fabric which is strips of different cloth serged together, some with ruffles, others with embroidery. I knew Sarah would love it so I ordered it on Monday and had it on Wednesday with a handwritten thank you for purchasing it! Great service! I would definitely order from them again.

The shirt is slightly fitted and since the fabric is so unique and a bit pricey, a muslin is definitely in order. I really hope this one goes well. It should be a really fun, funky shirt if it does.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Industry Insider Techniques Review

I bought a wonderful DVD last week, Threads Industry Insider Techniques. Threads editors, along with Louise Cutting, demonstrate some industry insider techniques that make some ready to wear clothing look so good. I like Louise Cutting a lot. She the creator of Cutting Lines Designs patterns which are beautifully put together and have great lines. One of them is on my cutting table now and several of them are on my 'wish list' to purchase in the weeks ahead.

There are actually 2 DVDs and I can't wait to get Part 2. The first DVD covers a no-stitch interfaced hem, balanced darts, the perfect collar, mitered corners and clean french seams. Additionally, and I think my favorite, was a demonstration of how to get some of the bulk out of facings by eliminating some of the seams on your pattern tissue before you cut. This DVD was so easy to watch and the demonstrations were so clear that you really can incorporate these tips into your every day sewing. It's nicely arranged so you can choose which tutorial you want to watch -- great to pop into your laptop and watch the techniques as you actually execute them on your cutting table and sewing machine.

I thought it was definitely worth the money!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pillow Talk

So I've finished three coordinating pillows for my nephew. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with these three -- I will most likely make two more that are different, but I'm not firm yet with what I want to do with those. I did see a wonderful very large shell button in oyster with two black animals on it that I think I may want to incorporate, but I'm not quite there yet.

I purchased the two remnants in Montreal that were a wonderful match even though they were purchased at two different stores. I then combined them with various braiding and fringe that I have collected over the past few weeks with the black and cream theme in mind.

Two of the pillows are very straightforward -- 18" squares in a single fabric with cording all around and a zipper in back for easy removal. The zipper construction is courtesy of Erin's tutorial. Because I am working with heavier upholstery fabric and cording, I generally allow an extra inch and cut my squares at 19" to leave a 1/2" seam allowance. These fabrics often fray, so I ran all edges through the serger which made a nice clean piece to work with. I then attach my cording to the front piece, 1/2" from the edge. You must get the stitching on your cording very tight -- right up against the cord -- in order for the pillow to look truly professional! When turning the corners with your cording, you may need to clip the seam allowance of the cording to get enough ease to turn the corner nicely. You can't always do this, depending on the cording, but if you can, it is helpful. If you have a cording foot, you should use it here. My machine has a nice feature where you can stop with needle down and the pressure foot raises ever so slightly so you can pivot easily. For purchased cording, where you begin and end your cording, I like to pull it off the seamline to the edge and sew over it so there are no rough ends showing. For self-made cording, there is a slightly different way to join where your ends meet.

I then work on the back piece, inserting the zipper into the back piece. Lastly, the back and front are seamed, right on the same stitching line, or slightly inside, that you used for your cording. Turn right side out and your pillow is done

On the third pillow I wanted to combine both fabrics. When doing this, you want to keep proportion in mind. I used a 16 x 20" pillow insert and cut my center fabric at 6" wide, leaving 7" each for the two side pieces.

I then attached my cording to either side of my center piece, again snug your stitches right up against the cord. Once that is done, attach either side to the center.

At this point I wanted some fringe for some real punch and I had some very good black silky fringe. This got attached to the edge of either side piece, beginning and ending 1/2" in from the top. Once that is done, insert your zipper into your back piece, attach front to back and again, you're finished!

If you can't find the size form you want, they are so easy to make -- simply use a muslin or even an old pillow case, sew up the sides to form the size you want, stuff it with fiberfill or whatever filling you want (I like to use a really good quality here so pillows are not too spongy feeling) and then handstitch closed.

I've made lots of pillows over the years -- some in very heavy fabric -- often resulting in a broken needle or two or some skipped stitches. These pillows were sewn on my new Viking SE and I felt like I was in sewing machine heaven! No matter how many layers or fabric or cording I was sewing through, the machine adjusted itself and just slid over them as if it was seaming two simple woven pieces. Nice! And, for that I have to give a hats off to my favorite sewing maching advisors at Merri Stitches in Windham. You got me into a great machine!