Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Decorative Pillows

I have a blouse on deck, but I'd rather learn how my new Bernina works with something simpler. So I pulled out a project that been ready and waiting for a while.

My bedroom is decorated in an Asian theme. Currently I'm on my second set of black silk throw pillows--not a bad choice with a gray cat, but the other one's white. What was I thinking? Well, I know, actually. I was thinking decor--not pets. Anyway, the pillows are nice, but they can't be washed so they're always covered with white cat fur. Not attractive.

I decided to recycle a set of pillows that I had at my previous house, when the bedroom decor was more shabby chic/Mary Englebreit. I had this nice set of square pillows, consisting of 3 pillow forms covered with removeable embroidered white shams. Hmm, I could make a new set of washable covers for those pillow forms, couldn't I?

Off to Ann Silva's, where I found 3 beautiful Asian-style quilt cottons. Still in black, but washable printed cotton this time. And after laundering, the yardage has been sitting ever since.

With projects like this, I find that it helps me if I have a reference. For general instructions, I went to Summerset's tutorial on pillow-making that she did last November. I also like to sketch out the project, like I did in my sewing journal:

Then, I used the sketch and tutorial to determine the dimensions of each piece: the front and two back sections. On projects like this, I'll rip to the dimensions if the fabric allows. It's easier and insures the pieces are on grain.

The plackets and buttonholes on the back of the pillow were the first parts to be done. The tutorial advised a 1" wide placket and lined up the buttonholes parallel to the fabric edge. After doing this, I realized that the next time, I'm making the placket wider and aligning the buttonholes perpendicular to the fabric edge. Not that there's anything wrong with Summerset's tutorial. It's great, as usual. It's simply a matter of personal preference and will also give me the opportunity to use some of the one of a kind buttons in my stash.

The buttons I chose are a pale green, sort of a jade color that works well with the Asian theme. Yes, even though they're on the back of the pillow, I'll know they're there. This picture shows the layout of buttons and buttonholes (with optional cat tail accessory).

When planning, I allowed for a 1-1/2" flange. This is a design change I added to give the pillow more "presence". I also changed the thread color to red when sewing the flange.

As the photo below shows, Smudge approves.

One down, two to go. Then I'll start making duplicates for easy bedlinen changes.

On a tangent: As one of the pictures above shows, Ghost is my sewing room helper. She has her own perch on top of the Wall of Sterilite, complete with her own fleece blanket. Her fur continues to fill in. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems to be a slightly lighter shade than the rest of her pelt.


Gwen said...

Very stylish! Oh, and I have some of those optional cat tail accessories in my sewing room too! ;)

Christina said...

What a perfect project to break in the new machine. And Smudge is well aware of her role in breaking in the new pillows, I see. Ghost seems like a great sewing room helper :)