Home Decor: July 2012 Archives
It is hard not to be attracted to Valori Wells Jewels for the Home Pillows with such an eye catching photo on the pattern envelope. I had to make someof Valori's pillows for myself because I am a pillow fanatic. I need more for my bedroom, living room, nursery and my 3 yr old's room. Any of these pillows would be perfect because there are 11 to choose from and I love mixing prints. With so many pillows to start off with you might think it would be hard for me to decide which would be the inaugural pillow. However, the bird appliqué pillow drew my eye and I had a plan. I wanted to make this pillow to go with some others I had planned from the Sew4Home Nursery collection. I thought a selection of animal pillows would work great for my new nursery but this pillow could easily work in an office, older kid's room or guest room. Since I would be parking my bird appliqué pillow in the nursery I used the same print as the glider I recovered and chose a complimentary knit for the bird.
I chose a cotton knit for the appliqué for several reasons:
1) This cotton knit is really soft and the different texture of the knit on woven would be interesting for the baby
2) I loved the colors together
3) I don't see appliqués in knit very often and when I do they look amazing.
4) I have a TON of knit scraps that need to find a purpose
Using a knit for your appliqué is not that different from using a woven. Make sure you have the right side facing out and don't stretch. I used Heat n Bond Lite. Trace the appliqué design on the paper side of the fusible and then iron on the fusible to the WS of the knit fabric. Then cut out the bird and before removing the paper, decide the perfect placement. Make sure you place your bird at least the a seam allowance's distance away from each edge then iron in place. Use a satin or zig zag stitch around the edge of the bird to secure it in place and for added detail try a contrasting but complimentary thread color (I used chartreuse).
The next modification I made was to add a zipper closure instead of the envelope back. I did this simply because the pillow would be used in a kid's room and I didn't want to redress my pillows all the time. To simply add a zipper, lay your zipper along the bottom edge of your pillow fabric centered and mark the zipper stops on your fabric. Then pin your front and back pillow pieces together, RS facing, along this bottom edge. Stitch using a regular stitch until you reach the first mark then switch to a basting stitch until you reach the second mark then switch back to your regular stitch. Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end and right before you switch to basting and again when you switch back to regular stitches.
Press your seam open and line up your zipper with your marks and pin in place. Using a zipper foot stitch your zipper in place. Flip your pillow to the RS and open the basting stitches using your seam ripper. Stitch up the remaining sides of your pillow (RS facing) making sure you leave your zipper open for turning. Clip your corners and turn your pillow RS out. Press if needed.
I encourage you to try all Valori's pillow from this pattern. They just look like fun. She gives instructions on how to customize each to different pillow sizes. I can't wait to try some on floor pillows as well as Euro pillows for my bed and the guest room!
Find Valori's printed fabrics here
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I have had the idea for a pintuck pillow in my mind for some time and seeing it come to fruition is very exciting. It is even lovelier than I had pictured in my mind and I want to share the How-to with you. You can customize this style to fit any pillow size and any shape. My pillow is a 20'' square, knife edge pillow. Here's what you will need to get started:
1 zipper to fit pillow cover
Cut front pillow piece to 1'' longer than your finished pillow, i.e. if your finished pillow is 20'' cut the length at 21''. Cut the width to 4'' wider than your finished pillow (1'' for the seam allowance and 3'' for the 6 pintucks). Cut the back pillow piece to 1'' longer and wider than your finished pillow. Set back piece aside.
To mark pintucks, place a pin at the center of your front pillow piece and then mark at ½'' intervals 1'' apart according to the illustrations above. Pinch your ½'' marks together and stitch on the RS to create pintucks using 1/4'' seam allowance. You will make 6 pintucks in all. Press right hand 3 pintucks to right and 3 left hand pintucks to the left. Insert your zipper along the bottom of the pillow using Holly's instructions making sure the pintucks face the correct direction as pressed above when sewing in the zipper. Once your zipper is inserted, open it a little and then sew up the remaining 3 sides of the pillow using ½'' seam allowance. Trim corners and turn pillow cover right side out and insert pillow.
While I made my pintuck pillow out of home décor twill fabric but you can make yours out of lightweight quilting cotton as well. Just be sure to lightly interface to make your cover more durable. You can also opt to make your pintucks smaller using my twin needle instructions here. I don't recommend this method of adding pintucks for any fabric thicker than quilting cotton; the results will be bland and not as noticeable as the fabric gets thicker. You can try adding a contrast band for your pintucks.
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If I were to suggest one tool to beginners to sewing it would be,hands-down, a rotary cutting tool. This must-have tool completes similar tasks but doesn't replace a good pair of shears but what it does do with save you tons of time and hassle. I currently have 2 sizes of rotary cutters, a 60mm (which I have had for about 7-8 years) and a 45mm. I love having both sizes and recommend these 2 sizes once you have tried the rotary cutter and see what it can do for you. First, let's start with the larger, 60mm, rotary cutter. I use this as my default cutter and it is especially handy for long, straight cuts. The 60mm is great for home décor, apparel and some quilting. The larger blade means that is can cut faster which is especially great for long, straight lines. The 45mm is much smaller and more nimble than the 60mm. It is great for quilting and some apparel. I especially love it for cutting out the tight curves of the hills in my current quilting pattern (Denyse Schmidt's Hills n' Hollers) and for some neckline and crotch plackets and other tight, curved areas. Having one of each size rotary cutter means that you can jump from one to the other to fit the project, to get you out of a tight spot, or down a long straight away.
There are 2 other items that go with a rotary cutter. The first is imperative, a cutting mat. Otherwise you are just going to cut up your table and dull your blade faster. Most cutting mats self-heal so they will last you a LONG time. I have had mine for 7-8 years and it still looks and works great. Keep them out of direct sunlight to avoid curling and buckling. The second item is less imperative but no less handy, a transparent ruler. These are especially great for cutting straight lines with your rotary cutter (you can use it as a guide), for truing up your fabric and cutting bias strips. The clear ruler can help you see your fabric patterns, determine if your patterns pieces are on grain and can help you line up markings. You can also purchase specialized blades like pinking blades or chenille blades.
Caring for your blade is easy. Make sure your clean out the lint from your cutter often and replace (or sharpen) your blade as soon as you notice the cut start to deteriorate (skipped areas or having to go over a line several times) this will save you a lot of time and hassle. Also, when working with a new rotary cutter or blade run it over a scrap piece a few times to get the blade moving well; they can be stiff at first. A rotary cutter may seem like a bit of an investment in the beginning (because you need the mat and ruler to go along) it will pay for itself in time save and hassle with in the first month if not sooner. You will love it!
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