Monday, October 13, 2008

Pillow Tutorial

As promised, here are the directions for the repurposed curtain pillows.  I will preface this online tutorial with the fact that I am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants seamstress.  I've taken a lesson or two, but I just do what works, so it may not be very traditional.  I've heard it described as kamikaze sewing... that's about right!  

First, trace a square out of tissue paper that is the size of the pillow (add one inch on all sides for seam allowance).  Lay your curtain out on a flat surface and position the tissue paper square over the fabric so you're sure to get the part of the pattern you like on the front of your pillow.
Cut out the squares and cut the same size square out of your backing material.  Pin the "right sides" together (that's the pretty side that you want everyone to see when the pillow is done, the ugly sides are what you will see the whole time you're working on the pillow.)  Once you've pinned the squares, put them aside for a little while and grab your piping materials.
Next, you'll fold the material you want to use for the piping on top of it like a taco.  (Note: if you use a material that is striped for the piping fold it at a diagonal, it's prettier.)  Pin the piping and make a straight stitch as close to it as possible and leave the flaps one inch long. (You may have to switch out your sewing foot till you find one that will let you sew really close to the piping.  Again, there may be a name for these different feet, I sure don't know it!)  Be sure to make enough piping to go all the way around four sides of your pillow and about 3 inches extra, just in case!
Finally you'll get to start putting the pieces you've worked so hard on together!  Here's the fun part, but you'll have to be really careful because it's also the most important part to making sure your pillow turns out correctly.  Grab the pinned squares you've put aside and the piping.  Position the piping so that the rounded part is towards the inside of the square and the flaps are one inch away from the outside of the square.
Stitch right next to the piping all the way around three edges.  (In the picture above I would want to stitch just to the right of the rounded piping and one inch from the end of the flaps.)  You'll leave one side open to stuff in the pillow form.  When you get to the corners be sure you backstitch to make them secure.  You may also need to cut a little notch out of the "flaps" of the piping so that it will turn the corner.  In the picture below you can see the 45 degree angle that I cut out of the piping flaps so it would turn.  When you're done sewing, cut the excess fabric (maybe 1/2 inch) all the way around.  This isn't absolutely necessary, it just looks better.
Here's what the inside of my pillow looked like before I flipped it inside-out and ironed out the wrinkles.
After you've flipped it inside-out and ironed it, stuff your pillow and get ready to finish off the fourth side.   This part is not that hard, and if you do it right it will be hard to tell that your piping ends on this side.  Cut the piping short on one side but make sure that the material is longer on this side.  The other side will need just the opposite: longer piping and shorter material.
Fold the longer-fabric end to hide the frays and insert the longer piping end.  Fold the fabric over the piping and tuck it all inside the pillow and pin it in place.
Ta-da!  A finished loop of piping all around your pillow!
Now pin the opening where you stuffed in your pillow.  Be sure that you fold the fabric on both sides of the piping so that there are not any frayed edges sticking out.  Hand stitch this small section and you're done!

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