November 11, 2012
Bits and Pieces
Anyone who sews, quilts and crafts knows that you can never have enough fabric. When I have lots of yardage hanging around I am inspired to combine them in interesting ways but if I have to know exactly what I need to go and purchase , "creative block" sets in.
Pillows are one of the items I've been working on and the thin cottons that I use in my aprons is too wimpy. The home decor fabric is nicer but alas, also more pricey. Recently I discovered discontinued samples and remnants. They are small but force you to combine pieces in interesting ways.
I am going to attempt my first tutorial about how I have transformed these small pieces into a pretty nice pillow. The largest pieces are usually no more than 16" x 16" so if I keep my seams narrow I can use a 16" x 16" pillow insert. TIP: The insert fills out the pillow much better if you don't allow ANY extra room. More on the insert later. I selected a blue/tan pattern for a base and just placed two tan blocks on top of it. But, before actually sewing down the pieces I added a tree graphic from the good old reliable Graphics Fairy.
I'm not super techy and I just insert my graphics onto a word document. I always create a text box first and then insert the graphic. This gives me extra room for others to fit. If you don't want the text box to be seen you can make it go away by selecting NO LINE for the box. I try to use as much of the space as possible before I print onto Lesley Riley's Transfer Artist Paper. This is more costly than other papers I tried but well worth it. It is so easy to use and doesn't leave a plasticky surface.
After printing, cut as much of the unnecessary paper away from the graphic as possible. Always remember that you will get a reverse image. So if you have text or the design will be affected, ALWAYS flip the image before printing. I have done this a number of times and completely wasted a sheet of transfer paper. (I have even been so stupid as to iron it onto the fabric thereby wasting the fabric as well.)
Lesley's TAP paper is so easy to use. Just have a good hot dry iron and remove the paper while it is HOT. Slowly peel it back and if it doesn't pull away just give a little more heat. Here is my image below. The other block was created by enlarging a section of the same Graphics Fairy image.
The squares needed a little more so I added some stitching for a little "boost". A FRIXION pen is great to give you a guide for stitching because after you have finished you can erase it with an iron or even a hair dryer!
Now stitch the whole top to the backing fabric which is another nice co-ordinating dark blue 16x16 sample. I used the Frixion pen again to draw my seam line because I want to get the corners rounded nicely. I found that if I square the pillow off too sharply the corners don't get filled with the insert and look like little "ears".
After trimming the corner excess, flip the pillow cover to the right sides and shove in the insert. I don't leave the opening any wider than absolutely necessary since I have to stitch this up by hand for the neatest appearance. The pic below may look weird. In order to ease the work of pushing the insert into the cover try slipping it into a plastic bag. It makes it slippery. After getting it inside just pull and tear the bag to get it out from around the insert. My mother taught me this trick when upholstering cushions. (Thanks, Mom.)
Stitch up the opening by hand and VOILA! When I have more fabric for the backing I prefer to make an envelope closure on the back so you can slip the insert in and out whenever you like and eliminate the hand sewing. For a tutorial click to go to CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT's blog who is an inspiration for me to try this blogging thing.