“Whether or not God has kissed your brow, you still have to work. Without learning and preparation, you won’t know how to harness the power of that kiss.”

Twyla Tharp

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!

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