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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Valentine Heart Pillow

I found a pin on Pinterest that tried to replicate an Anthropologie pillow and this is my take on the same idea.  It's the basic Envelope Pillow Pattern in a neutral cotton fabric, with ragged edge hearts on the front panel. It's so easy to make and looks so fancy!

First, you MUST wash the base cotton fabric BEFORE cutting it or sewing the hearts on it.  You will also wash it after you sew the hearts on in order to create the ragged effect, but you don't want to find out after the pillow is complete that the cotton shrinks and your pillow form doesn't fit. Only after you wash the fabric proceed to cut it for the size pillow you want.  You can see the various sizes on the Envelope Pillow Pattern.  Mark the front panel of the pillow with pins so you know where to place the hearts. (The Envelope Pillow pattern uses a single piece of fabric for the pillow, so you need to figure out exactly where the front of the pillow is.)  You can do that in the third picture on the tutorial when you fold the fabric to make a square.  After finding the front panel portion, be careful as you sew the hearts not to sew on the "back" of the pillow.  

Now for the fun part - cutting each heart individually.  I did this without a pattern, but unless you are looking for uniform size hearts, you can't really make a mistake.  Cut a small square of your fabric, fold it in half, wrong sides facing with the raw edges to the left.

Starting at the bottom left corner (with the raw edges), cut diagonally up and to the right.

As you get to the right folded edge, curve back on the top to the left, turning the fabric in your hand.  Finish the curve with another diagonal (which will be the top center of the heart.

Open the fabric to see the finished heart. Easy!

Again, it doesn't matter what size hearts you cut.  Some of mine were thin (steeper diagonals) and some were fat hearts.  No matter how many hearts you decide to place on the pillow, be sure to take the time to arrange them and pin them on so you can see how they fit.

Now you're ready to sew. I used a contrasting brown thread so I could get the primitive look.  You are sewing these onto the right side of the pillow fabric, with the heart fabrics also right side up.  Leave a bit of a seam allowance so you have some fabric to "rag".  And take your time making those curves with the sewing machine, turning the fabric frequently.

This is what it looked like about halfway through sewing the hearts.

Once the hearts are sewn on, make some small perpendicular cuts around the hearts in the seam allowances, being very careful not to cut the seam.  This will help start the fraying process.  Wash the pillow and run your fingers over the raw edges of the hearts to help fray the fabric.  Don't worry if it doesn't immediately fray - it will over time and washes.

Finish the back of the pillow following the directions on the Envelope Pillow Pattern.  Insert your pillow form and enjoy your perfect handmade one-of-a-kind Valentine's pillow!


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cool Stripes Afghan

It's been a while since I posted crochet work, but this one was worth the wait.

Yes, this is my favorite yarn, Bernat Blanket Stripes.  It comes rolled like a cake in these cool colors - this set is "Tiny Teal." I know I've said this before, but I LOVE this yarn!  It is so nice to feel the soft cuddly chenille-feel of this yarn as you work with it.

Believe it or not, I just used single crochet, alternating between the front and back loop. I chose to just keep going when the color changed even if it changed in the middle of a row.  If you would prefer more even stripes, you can cut it at an end before the color changes, but I thought that defeats the purpose of a single skein with multiple colors.

I wanted a blanket that would go with some new pillows I made and be big enough for adult use.  This blanket is about 33" x 60", and includes a single crochet border in the cream color. I used just a little less than 4 skeins. Please note this yarn is exclusive to JoAnn Fabrics.

It is nice and warm!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Upcycle Denim Rag Pillow

I'm working on getting some color into my living room and I'm starting to integrate some blue with the red.  This is probably one of the easiest pillows I will make and I love it combines so many techniques I enjoy - upcycling, rag quilting and pillow making!

I made a 16x16" pillow (front only) using a single pair of 30 x 32" blue jeans that belonged to my son.  I was able to recycle enough denim to make 2 pillow fronts.

First, I cut all of the seams off the fabric.  You can use seams, but for this project I just wanted the raw fabric.  I cut 9 6x6" squares and arranged them so I mixed the color hues.

Constructing the denim side of this pillow was a little like constructing a rag quilt top.  Start by matching the squares on the sides, WRONG sides together.  This is different than you normally sew seams, but these are ragged seams.  Sew three rows of three squares each, side by side, using a 1/2" to 5/8" seam allowance.

After you get the three rows created, you can care fully pin them, WRONG sides together, and sew the horizontal seams.  When sewing over the vertical seams you already made, it's fine to push the seams to one side or another and sew over them.  You are going to "rag" them anyway.  The important thing is to get the horizontal rows lined up correctly.

Create the heart with a 5x5" piece of red fabric.  I cut all my hearts free-hand by folding the fabric in half horizontally.  Holding the fold in your left hand and starting at the bottom, cut around the folded square in a half-heart pattern.  Here's a couple of pictures of the technique from another project.  The first picture shows the cut starting from the bottom center point with the fold on the left, and the second picture shows the same fabric flipped so the fold is on the top right as the heart is cut out.

Here is the one I cut for the pillow.  I used a disappearing fabric marker to trace about a 1/2" inside the heart and then pinned it to the center square.  I followed the line in sewing the heart to the denim square so I can also rag the heart itself.

Now you're ready to make the back of the pillow.  I used some plain utility canvas and cut 2 12" x 16" pieces.  (Be sure to wash canvas fabric before cutting it so if it shrinks, it won't mess up your finished product.)  I turned under hems on one of the 16" sides on each of the fabrics - one on the right side of the fabric and the other on the left.  I only turn under about 2" total on each hem, so when you match these with the front cover, there will be about a 4" overlap where the pillow can be inserted.  See my tutorial on making envelope pillows for a better description of sewing the back of an envelope pillow.  I used a decorative stitch in a red contrasting thread.

Once you are done with the back pieces, pin them to the front cover with the WRONG sides facing.  You are going to make ragged edges around the pillow.  Sew all the way around the pillow, attaching the front to the back.  This is what the front will look like after all the seams are in place.

Time to "rag" the seam allowances.  I recommend using a spring-loaded snipper scissors in order to save your hands, but you can use any pair of scissors.  Make little perpendicular cuts into the seam allowance on every seam on the front of the pillow, including the side seams and around the heart.  Be careful not to cut the seam itself.  Where the seams intersect, be sure to cut parallel to the seam so any seam allowances that have been sewed down are free.  This is what the front of the pillow will look like "ragged":

Run the pillowcase through the wash to get the rag effect really going.  Then insert your pillow form in the back.