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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Sew Practical - Peekaboo Heart Upcycle Pillow

Last week I talked about the haul I bought at Goodwill on a half-price Saturday.  This is one of the pillows I made.  I call it the "Peekaboo Heart" because the grey fabric in the center is "peeking" out from under the heart ribbon and the two side fabrics.  I found the idea from this pin on Pinterest from France.  However, because I don't read French and I don't recall seeing a pattern, I came up with my own.

I started out with this fabric I found at Goodwill.  While I bought it as a piece of fabric, it might have been a curtain someone cut up before donating it.

I also had a couple of fabrics I upcycled - a steel grey valance and cream curtains - both from my bedroom set.  These made the center piece on the front, as well as the back of the pillow.  Finally, I've had this pretty ribbon for a long time, probably because it is so wide and with the hearts, it's not easy to tie.

I also upcycled one of the pillows I bought at Goodwill by carefully cutting the cover and using the 18x18" form.  If you're following this as a pattern - here's what you need:

Front of Pillow:
Main Fabric "A" 2 pieces 7" x 18" 
Contrasting center Fabric "B" 6" x 18" 
Ribbon 2 pieces 18" each
Back of Pillow:
2 pieces Fabric "C" 13.5" x 18"
Pillow form

I like to make envelope pillows because I can easily remove the cover from the pillow and wash it.  In this case, based on the fabrics I used, this will certainly be a dry clean only pillow cover.  If you noticed, I also like pillow covers to fit more snugly.  That means that if I am making a pillow cover for an 18 x 18" pillow, my fabrics will generally add up on the front and back to 18" square (no extra fabric for seam allowance).

Because these fabrics are all dry clean acetate type fabrics, I used a needle for fine fabrics and zigzag stitches to prevent puckering and fraying on the seam allowances.  I also cut them with a pinking shears.  You might consider putting the zigzag in before you even start using the fabric if the risk of fraying or running is high.  You can also serge it for a finished look.   

Match up the 18" edges of one of the Fabric A pieces and the Fabric B center piece together, right sides facing, and sandwich the ribbon between them.  You can also use lace or another fabric instead of the ribbon.  If you do, you will want it somewhere between 2-4" wide (depending on how much of your center fabric you want to see on the finished pillow).  Sew the three down the 18" side, using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Next, repeat the process on the other 18" side of Fabric B - the other Fabric A piece right sides facing with the other ribbon sandwiched in between. When you finish sewing the two seams, this is your front (approximately) 18 x 18" piece:

For the back of the pillow, I cut up one of the curtains that came with my bedroom set.  Like the valance, the curtains didn't fit my window, so they made great fabric for a fancy back.  On each piece of fabric, I turned under one of the 18" sides by folding over 1/2" and then folding over another inch again to make a hem.  Using a zigzag stitch in a contrasting grey thread, I sewed over the top of the fold to make a hem.  When you're done with this step, you should have two pieces of Fabric "C" each with one of its 18" sides sewed under in a hem.

Now for the final assembly.  Take the finished front of the pillow, right side up, and lay the two back pieces on top of it, right side down, matching the raw 18" sides of the front and back.  You will see the back pieces overlap.  The wrong side is up so you should see the folded side of the "hems".  Those hems will be parallel to the front center fabric, so this is your view from the last picture after laying the back pieces on top:

Using a zigzag stitch, sew a 1/4" seam all the way around.  Clip the corners and turn right side out.  Ease the pillow form into the finished cover, taking care to push the form all the way into the corners. You're done!

I'm in a real pillow-making mood, so watch for more designs.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Upcycling Goodwill Challenge - Pillows!

I have been in a serious pillow-making mood lately.  I have a pillow obsession going on my Pinterest page - check it out.  While I don't sell pillows or pillow covers in my Etsy store, Pretty Pretty Cindy, I might someday.  I am starting to sell on Sundays on my Instagram Pretty Pretty Cindy account, so follow me there.  In the meantime, I need some pillows at my house!

I have been working on our master bedroom for a while and wanted to work in some pillows on our blue/green-gray bedding.  The bedding set came with two European shams, but I wanted throw pillows for color too.  But have you seen the prices of home decorating fabric, and worse yet, pillow forms? My pillow fetish could easily break the bank.  Goodwill to the rescue!

Last month I visited our local Goodwill store on a half-price Saturday.  For only $22, I brought home the following stash:

2 26x26" European pillows
2 18x18" pillows
2 14" round pillows
2 large pieces of fabric
Large scarf (it's that pink silk in the corner)
Minky baby blanket (not shown)

Obviously I bought the pillows for the forms, but not everyone is comfortable buying used pillows.  I pick pretty carefully.  Once you get them home and remove the fabric covers, you can always spray them with a diluted bleach solution and put them in the sun.  I was lucky these pillows (while ugly) were very clean.  I think the two pieces of fabric were originally a table cloth and maybe some curtains.  By looking in slightly different places for fabric and pillow forms, I was able to engage my pillow obsession without breaking the bank!  Here's the result:

For the two big pillows in the back I used the forms from the Goodwill pillows and the shams that came with the bedding.  Buying ONE pillow form alone in a 26x26" size could cost more than $22.  I made the pillow covers on the other four pillows.  Two of the pillows came from forms I bought at Goodwill and the fabric mostly came from Goodwill.  I didn't buy any new fabric or trim for these pillows.  Isn't that awesome?  These are also all "envelope" style pillow covers, so I can remove them to dry clean or just change for a different design.  

I'll post how I made these pillows, but I will admit that I shamelessly copied designs I found on Pinterest.  

The best part - this isn't even using the whole Goodwill haul!  I still have other pillows and was able to recycle some of fabric from the Goodwill pillow covers.  Upcycle!

More pillows to come.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sew Practical: Drawstring Backpack

I have a stash of home decorating fabric and have been wanting to make one of these for so long.  There are plenty of patterns on the internet for drawstring backpack bags, so I won't claim this one is unique, although I used ideas from several different patterns.  I'm going to provide the entire instructions here, but if you get lost, the closest one to mine is Skip to My Lou's drawstring pattern.  I also should explain that I was on such a roll during the making of the first bag that I forgot to write everything down or take all the pictures.  So, I had to make another bag - shown below.  Here's what I used to make a 12.5" x 16" lined bag:

2 13 x 16" pieces of Fabric A (outside of bag)
2 13 x 16" pieces of Fabric B (lining)
2  3 x 12" pieces of Fabric A (casing) 
2 3 x 12" pieces of Fabric B (casing)
2  2 x 3" pieces of Fabric B (tabs)
4 yards of cord cut in half (I used 3/16" nylon coated)

You can use any cotton fabrics, although I like using the heavier home decorating fabric, especially for the outside of the bag.  You can also line your bag with a more water resistant nylon fabric, which makes it great for swim gear.  The cording you can buy at a hardware store.  You can also use ribbon (especially if your bag is lighter weight cotton), or you can make your own straps from fabric.

To begin the bag, you start with the smallest fabric details and work up to the larger bag.  On this bag I decided to go fancy and make pockets for the inside.  (I didn't include fabric measurements for pockets above.  Just cut rectangle of outer fabric to whatever size you want your pocket and add 1/2" to length and width for hems.)  I made 4 pockets, including some with Velcro closures and one for my sunglasses.  For each pocket, hem all four sides of the fabric before you topstitch it to one of the large (16"x13") lining pieces.  I sewed the pieces of the Velcro on the inside of the rectangle pocket and the other on the liner fabric, respectively.  I also sewed a button on the outside of the pockets for decoration.

On the 2 x 3" pieces, fold the long sides over to the center so they slightly overlap and sew a seam down the center of the long side with a zigzag stitch.  Repeat with the other 2"x 3" strip.

Pin the 13 x16" pieces of Fabric A right sides together.  Fold the 2 x 3" tabs in half with the short ends together, and pin each one between the 2 large outer fabric pieces, up 1" from the bottom of the long sides.  Keep the raw edges together. 

Sew on three sides, keeping one of the shorter sides of the fabric completely open.  I used a zigzag stitch throughout because home decorating fabric tends to fray. After ironing the seams, turn this "outer bag" right side out.  The top of the bag is the end with the raw edges.

Now you are ready to sew the 13 x 16" Fabric B pieces with the right sides together.  This time, however, leave a 3" gap or hole in the bottom short end for turning the bag inside out later.  When you finish with the lining pieces, you will have both long sides completely sewn, the short end at the top of your bag will be completely open, and the other short bottom of the bag will be sewn closed except for a 3" gap in middle of that end.  Iron the seams, but keep this "liner bag" inside out.

Next, make the 2 casing pieces by matching the 12 x 3" fabric pieces together, right sides facing. Use one of Fabric A and B to make each casing.  Sew three of the sides, leaving one of the long sides completely open.  Trim the corners, turn right side out, and iron.  These are the casings from the first bag I made:   

Now fold each casing on the long side so the liner fabric is on the inside of the fold.  Here are the casing pieces I made for my second bag.  The one on the left is already folded in half.  These will be the casing for your drawstring and they attach to the top of the bag.

Center each casing piece along the top of the "outer bag," matching the raw edges together.  The length of the casings is shorter than the width of the bag, so there will be 1" gaps between the ends of the casings and the sides of the bag.  Center and pin the second casing to the other side of the "outer bag."  You are now ready to slide the "outer bag" with the casings pinned into the "liner bag."  The "liner bag" is still inside out, but the "outer bag" should have the right sides out as you slide it into the liner bag.  All raw edges should be aligned.  The right sides of the fabric will be together, but all you will see is the wrong sides of the fabric (see picture below) 

Sew all the way around the opening, sewing together the "liner bag," the casings and the "outer bag."  When it is all sewn up, it will look like this (you are looking into the top of your bag.)

Flip the bag to the bottom and you can reach in and pull out the "outer bag" through the hole in the bottom of the "liner bag."

Once you pull the bag completely out through the hole, you should see the right sides of the fabric like this:

Pull the casings to open the bag and push the liner into the bag. It should look like a real bag without the drawstrings! Now you are ready to thread the cording.  Take the first cord and thread an end through one of the tabs near the bottom of the bag.  Continue up along the outside edge of the bag to the ends of the casings at the top of the bag.  Using a safety pin on the end of the cord to guide you, thread the cord through the back casing to the other side of the bag.  Continue around the bag through the other casing, guiding it through the casing back across the top of the bag to the side where you started.  As the cord comes out of the casing, guide it back down the side of the bag and back through the original tab.  The ends of your cord should now be together, and you can tie the ends in a knot so it won't slip out of the tab.

Repeat the process with the other cord on the other side of the bag.  Each cord will go through the casings from opposite directions.  This is a picture of me threading the second cord into the back casing with the other cord already in place.  You will probably need to burn the ends of the cord after cutting them to prevent fraying.

And that's it!  It seems complicated, but it really is simple once you get the hang of it.

Happy sewing!