Amy Butler's Midwest Mod Zinnia Pillow
Amy Butler's Midwest Mod Zinnia Pillow was a challenge but I love it. Let me jump right into it. I wanted to do something different with this pattern. It looks amazing in quilting cotton but I wanted to try to make this pillow more traditional to give it a different audience and show its versatility. I picked a cotton velvet that is delicious. My hope was that this more traditional fabric coupled with a more modern pattern would be a middle ground between modern and traditional, be appealing to both parties and maybe gather in some transitional, vintage and eclectic fans as well. That being said this pattern was a dozy but perhaps you can learn from my mistakes and take away the same or better finished pillow and avoid the pitfalls.
The velvet, while dreamy, is difficult and thick. I recommend cutting the back of each petal from coordinating broadcloth to reduce some bulk. I could not add the pleat on each petal due to thickness and also could not add the 3rd round of small petals due to bulk (it simply would not fit under my foot). I also wish that Amy had included the circle patterns and not just instructions to draw them. I am clumsy when it comes to drawing circles so I found an embroidery hoop that was about 15 in. but it was a little small and so was my pattern piece. It didn't mess up anything; it just would have been nice. Also, I pinned all the petals in the center to sew the 2 circle together which helped keep them out of my way. The velvet shifts a bunch so having the broadcloth on the back will help with that. The shifting really got in my way when I was tacking down the petals. I used my walking foot a lot to help with the shifting of the velvet. Most of my issues were due to bulk but just the sheer number of petals was a little disheartening. They were all small so it didn't take as long as I thought to sew them up. The finished product is definitely worth it. Some trouble also occurred with making the fabric buttons, but I used needle nose pliers to straighten the prongs a bit and was able to get the fabric to hold. But our glass buttons would also look incredible.
I must admit I am even more impressed with this pillow in person than on the pattern picture. It is gorgeous. Even my husband has admitted that it is a beautiful pillow. Though I would not talk anyone out of using velvet just not exclusively; I would recommend a linen or silk instead if going for a less funky- more subtle look. This pattern, once freed from its retro inspired roots is a perfect addition to an elegant, traditional living room, French colonial family room or even a Tuscan retreat!