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My Spiral Valentine

January 27, 2013

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. When I was growing up, it was a family holiday, so it's never had the baggage and pressure of being a couples day for me. Even now, as a married lady, I tend to think of Valentine's Day as an occasion to tell all the important people in my life that I love them. No need to booby trap it -- just enjoy the love!

Decorating for holidays is always fun -- when I find the time to do it. This year, I'm determined to add some Valentine cheer to the house, and I'm starting with pillows. This project is simple and girly, and lets you play with color. I'm using red and pink taffeta on a black antique cotton velvet base, but you could easily customize the color scheme for any time of year or decor.

My pillow form is 14 inches square, so to start with, I cut two 14.75 inch squares. My seam allowances are 1/4 inch, so that leaves a little wiggle room for the pillow to fluff out.

Once my squares were cut, I used a dinner plate to trace a centered circle on the front pillow square. Since I used a black antique cotton velvet, I used a silver paint pen to mark the circle, but any tracing implement will work, so long as it leaves you a clear line to follow when the stitching starts.

1-Valentine-Pillow.jpgHere's my circle traced out. The image is brightened up so you can clearly see the marking.

2-Valentine-Pillow.jpgOnce my pillow front was marked, I set it aside and grabbed my taffeta. In the pink, I cut 1.75-inch-wide strips on the bias, and in the red, I cut 2-inch-wide strips, also on the bias. For the 14-inch pillow with a starting circle of about 11.5 inches, I cut roughly 11 yards of bias strips. If your pillow is larger or smaller, you'll need to adjust those amounts.

3-Valentine-Pillow.jpgOnce all my bias strips were cut, I set to ruffling the two colors together. I simply set a narrower strip on top of a wider strip and put them under my presser foot stacked together.

4-Valentine-Pillow.jpgI used a seam ripper to ease my strips into gathers as I stitched to create a ruffle. This is one of those things that you get better and better at the more you do it. I tend to make one tuck every three stitches or so, but your rhythm may vary. Note that if your gathers are tighter, you may need to cut more bias strips.

As I hit the end of one strip, I just set the next strip under it with a little bit of overlap and kept going -- no need to seam together all your strips (though if you prefer to do that, feel free). The key here is to avoid having both the top and bottom strips end in the same places. I staggered my pink and red strip lengths so I was never trying to overlap the next pieces for both colors at the same time.

6-Valentine-Pillow.jpgOnce all my bias yardage was gathered into a ruffle, I started stitching it to my pillow front, using my circular marking as a guide.

7-Valentine-Pillow.jpgAt the end of the circle, I let the ruffle overlap the starting point just a bit ...

7a-Valentine-Pillow.jpg ... and then continued stitching, moving the ruffle slightly inside my first circle and continuing around in a slightly smaller circle.

8-Valentine-Pillow.jpgI continued to stitch in ever-smaller circles, slowly spiraling inward. Here's the pillow with three rows of circular stitching:

9-Valentine-Pillow.jpgThe stitching continues into the center of the circle. Here's what the stitching looks like on the back side:

10-Valentine-Pillow.jpgAs my circles tightened into the center, I finished off the rosette by folding in the raw edges at the end.

To conceal the last bit of stitching and add a little sparkle, I put a rhinestone button in the center. You could put any number of other things here to finish off your spiral -- a fancy pin or applique, feathers, a fabric pouf or bow -- it's up to you!

12-Valentine-Pillow.jpgOnce my front piece was complete, I set in a zipper at one side, joining the front and back pieces.

13-Valentine-Pillow.jpgThen, with right sides together, I closed off the square (keeping the zipper open for turning), using 1/4-inch seam allowances. Once the square was turned right-side out and the pillow form was in place, voila! Festive Valentine fun!


The spiraling ruffle technique can be used on many other projects, from handbags to hair clips. What colors and fabrics will you combine to create something totally unique?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on January 27, 2013 11:31 AM.

Crochet Granny Squares was the previous entry in this blog.

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