Monday, January 24, 2011

Simple patchwork pillow DIY

Patchwork anything has always stressed me out. What if my cuts aren't straight enough and the whole thing comes out crooked? Do I really have to iron all those tiny seams? Will I go crazy trying to lay out the pieces and find a pattern I like?

Well, it was time to grab the bull by the horns! Last year I dreamed of patchwork pillows bringing pattern and texture to our living room. I saw Joel Dewberry's Deer Valley fabric and thought it would be perfect. I then sat on this fabric for over a year, people! I wasn't confident enough in my sewing skills to dive in, and I practically have a panic attack before I cut into fancy fabric, not to mention the whole patchwork-freak-out thing.


I have two tired pillows on our sofa that have held their own since, oh, 2008. I made them with a friend using her scrap fabric and her sewing machine back when I was still dreaming of getting my own sewing machine. We've been wanting something fluffier and with a washable cover, so I used one of these guys for a trial run patchwork slipcover makeover. The other one will be slipcovered in something cute and end up in my office.

Enter this tutorial for a 'disappearing nine' patchwork pillow for beginners. Never one to settle for a set pattern, I of course had to mix it with this tutorial for an envelope pillow (@5min mark) so I could make the cover removable and avoid completing New Year's goal #1. (Have you ever watched/read The DIY Dish? Those twins crack me up. Nice clear ideas though!)


Right, so I measured my pillow and decide to make a cover exactly the same size as the pillow itself because my old pillows are f.l.a.t., but I think when I do the mega-fluffy new ones I'll add an extra half inch to compensate for the poof. There really wasn't any wiggle room left with my flat pillow's cover in the end.

I have a few of the Deer Valley fabrics, but I can't decide on how to organize squares of multiple fabrics, so I settled on using just the wide stripe pattern for my pillow. It turns out that I'm completely obsessive-compulsive with matching the stripes up both on the back opening and getting them to be "correct" on the front panels. I need to start using more non-directional fabric...I should add that to my 2011 goals.


So I started with nine square cuts (1) to be my front. Then I spun some around (2). I started trying to envision how they would look as 4 large pieces, spun around...and I rotated them some more before running off to sew it all together and then returning and using my rotary cutter to slice through the middles (3). Now you see my four panels (4). I spun these around for a few minutes and then committed to a final layout and sewed the sections together. This process took me forever because of my aforementioned obsessive behavior with the stripes. Jiminy cricket, somebody get me some solid fabric!!

I then hemmed the ends of my envelope backing, lined up those stripes, and stitched my back pieces together. I put the wrong sides together, did a 1/4" seam, trimmed the corners and flipped it out (!). Presto!



I'm all sorts of proud about how the lines and seams came out straight. Finally! Sewing slow plays off! I plan to leave this little guy for the chairs and the big ones will go on the sofa....when I get to them. I have four other patterns from the Deer Valley line to integrate into a real patchwork of patterns. Part of me is all sorts of stressed about how to patchwork them symmetrically enough to satiate the perfectionist in me! I have a few ideas, though!

PS- I probably won't send you a patchwork pillow cover, but you can still sign up for Craft it Forward 2011!


C N Heidelberg said...

Your pillow looks great!! I just did a baby quilt with the disappearing 9-patch technique. I like how it looks super-complicated while being easy. It was my first quilt that wasn't just squares. The only trouble was that I handled and fussed with the quilt a lot while I was tying it and a couple of the seams I'd cut through started to unravel a little on the edges of the quilt!

Kelly said...

Yay - this turned out great! You are so brave to start out with striped fabric.

Barb said...

Nice job!! Did you know that the Amish intentionally throw a mistake into their quilts because no one is perfect except God? Any mistakes.....consider yourself Amish!

Juliette said...

Barb I love that! But is it a mistake if it's intentional? Either way, I like that concept and will try to remember it!

Allison said...

O.K... so I've been trying to get over here for days now to tell you how fantastic your pillows turned out... I'm totally inspired. Can't wait to see the rest!

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