Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall Colors Pillow


Despite the pregnancy-related-nausea flashback I experience every time I get a whiff of a cinnamon scented candle, I love Autumn. I mean...who doesn't love the fall? After a summer filled with traveling and adventure, back yard barbecues, crispy chlorine hair, and icy air-conditioning, fall with its promise of new boots and haircuts, open-window-weather nights, soup, and...coming home, is welcome indeed.

My favorite thing about fall is the way the changing angle of the sun makes everything look a bit more golden and intense. Fall colors don't have to be just burnt oranges and reds. It's that turn towards richness and deepness that evokes the feeling of fall.

Here's a little project to help bring some of those colors inside, and feather your nest a bit for fall. Plus it will provide something for your idle hands to do during those brisk evenings curled up on the couch.


Fall Colors Pillow
Pillow Form (any size you prefer, I recommend using feather)
Upholstery Weight Fabric (enough to cover pillow front and back plus extra for overlap etc.)
Various Fabric Scraps (for applique)
Card Stock or Stiff Paper
Embroidery Floss
Embroidery Hoop
Aluminum Foil
Needle + Thread
Sewing Machine

Create Your Applique Design
1. Measure your pillow form. 2. Sketch a design that will fit onto your pillow. I used a piece of paper roughly the size I wanted my design to be, and then folded it into fourths to guide the placement of my shapes. You can use anything that inspires you. Trace or sketch a shape and then repeat it. It's up to you. 3. Once you have your design sketched out, you will draw each element from it onto a piece of card stock or other stiff paper, and cut them out.

Create Appliques
1. Place card stock cutout on the piece of fabric you'd like it to be made from. Pay close attention to which direction the eventual piece will face and cut accordingly (if shape is directional). 2. Cut fabric out leaving a 1/4 inch allowance around the shape. 3. Place fabric, right side down, with card stock centered on top, on a piece of aluminum foil. 4. Carefully fold aluminum foil up around the edges of the card stock so that the fabric wraps around and forms a sharp edge. (Note: If your design has any concave angles, you may have to clip the fabric to 1/8 inch so it will smoothly fold around card stock.) 5. Iron edges of shape. 6. Remove fabric from Aluminum foil and remove card stock. You should have a perfect fabric shape, with nicely tucked under edges...ready to sew!

Sew Appliques on Pillow Front
You'll need to cut your upholstery fabric to a workable size. Using the measurement of your pillow form, add an inch to the height and width to get the front piece measurement. For the back, you will take the width of the pillow, divide it by 2, and then add 3 inches to it. Cut 2 back pieces.

For example:
My pillow form was 25"x 14". So the fabric piece for the front of my pillow was cut to 26"x15". For the back, we will cut two pieces that will overlap to form a opening to slip pillow inside. Since my pillow is 25" wide, I divide that by 2, giving me 12.5, and add 3, giving me 15.5. So you will cut 2 back pieces, each that size.

1. Arrange fabric applique pieces on front fabric piece where they belong. 2. Pin each piece securely in place. (Note: depending on the size of your embroidery hoop, you may need to pin applique pieces on as you go, moving the hoop in between to accommodate larger designs.) Place in embroidery hoop. 3. Using regular all-purpose thread, blind-stitch each piece into place. You'll want to pull your thread up from under the design, catch just the very edge of the applique, and then go straight down through the fabric with the needle. Then bring it back up again a centimeter or so away and do it again. The idea is that the stitches won't show from the front.

Embroider Appliques
1. Select desired color of embroidery floss, and thread your needle. You will need at least twice the length of the design perimeter for each row of embroidery. I embroidered my appliques with 2 rows each. 2. Using a Split Stitch, sew a row of embroidery around applique. Continue with as many rows as you wish, and knot the floss when you are finished.

Construct Pillow Case
1. Locate the edges of the back pieces that will overlap each other to form pillow opening. Fold raw edge in 1/2", then fold it over 1/2 again. Pin in place. 2. Stitch along the pinned edge. Repeat for other back piece. 3. Place Pillow Front wrong side down on flat surface. Place one back piece, right side down, on top of front piece so that the sides line up. Place the other back piece right side down on the other half so that its sides line up and it overlaps the other back piece in the center. Pin in place. (Note: if you want to trim with pom-poms, simply insert and pin them between the front and back layers before you sew. Just make sure they face in towards the center like in the photo.) 4. Stitch around the entire pillow using a 1/2" seam allowance. Finish seams as desired. 5. Clip corners to within 1/8" of stitching. 6. Turn right-side out, and insert pillow form.

I won't lie...this project takes a little time, but it's not difficult. It's a good one to stash away and work on here and there. I hope you love it.

Happy Sewing!

More of me here:
My Sparkle


Bloom said...

Well you never cease to amaze, Danielle. Can I tell you my favorite part of the pillow? The pom poms on the sides. Oh boy do I love pom poms! How do you do that part?

Joan said...

I love the pillow but man o man...I'm not a seamstress and it looks like I have to know what I'm doing?! Maybe I will make it a project with my mom so she can help.
Thanks for sharing your talents and creative genius with us, Danielle.

Christina said...

Thanks for the tutorial - I loved the applique how-to!

Emily Anne said...

Even your "How-to" post is cute enough to frame!
Love the pom-poms; love the pillow.

Katrina said...

Puh-leeze.... this is NOT ugly! Your skills amaze me.

Rachael said...

Ooh! I've always wanted to learn to applique, and I was totally bummed because my quilting teacher is going to do a session on it but it's during my yoga class. So now I can enjoy yoga without applique guilt, thanks to your fabulous tutorial!

Trina said...

Foil! Pure genius! That's exactly the tip I needed for a Christmas project I have planned.

Alissa said...

What a great post. Informative, pretty and to the point. Love it.

Woodengirl said...

OK, Danielle, that foil trick...I have never seen that before. Genius.

Really cute fun pillow. I love it.

lori said...

Oh, Danielle, you are AMAZING! I've been anticipating a post from you on here and you certainly didn't disappoint!