Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pillow Covers {Tutorial} + Giveaway!

Whew! What a fantastic Christmas! For us, it was simple and sweet and just downright great. I usually dread this time of year for a variety of reasons but this was so nice that I might not cry come next December.

So what about you? Excited for New Years? Did you get any sweet home bar furniture to spruce up the place for your next party? I'm totally digging this pink one:

Any good sewing things? Tell ya what, just incase there was something you wanted but didn't get, I'm giving away a gift certificate to CSN stores so that you can get whatever it is your little heart desires! Just comment at the end of this post and tell me what was the best "thing" you GAVE this year. (Totally doesn't have to be a "thing" - you know what I mean!)
Contest open to US addresses only. Sorry Charlie, CSN rules. I'll announce the winner next year.... January 1st!
And now onto the (crazy easy and mega fast) pillow cover tutorial!
Fabric - can be same, contrasting front and back, whateves
All the normal sewing machine stuff
Pillow form - measure that ahead of time so you know what size to make the cover.
Skill level:
Totally beginner. Way fun and good for instant gratification.
A friend recently asked me to make three linen pillow covers as a Christmas gift to her sister. Oh linen! I love how it looks but it is a tad bit high-maintenance with its wrinkles and wiggly edges. I chose a 100% linen of medium weight.
Since I like a nice soft cushy pillow, I back my pillow covers with batting. I first cut my batting to the exact size of the pillow form (18" x 18" in this case). This is probably the most important step if you are using linen because the batting (I use Warm and White) holds its shape better than the crazy wiggly linen. Perfectly square batting will ensure you will end up with an evenly-shaped pillow cover.
Exhibit A: Batting.
Next - cut the front of the pillow cover the exact same size. (18" x 18")
For the back (envelope closure), cut two panels 18" x 12". (Or if using a different size pillow form, make sure that the panels will overlap by at least 4")
(If you are in a real hurry, use the selvedge edges as the "hemmed" edges and sew around the raw edges when making your cover. So for example, cut the selvedge at 18" in length and put that in the middle - NOT on the outside - when we start stacking all the layers.)
Now we stack.
First - batting.
Next - front - right side up
Finally - panel one raw edges lined up on the left and panel two lined up on the right - right sides down.
Hemmed/Selvedge edges in the middle.
(psst- I have a more in-depth tutorial here with better pictures should you need a little more visual guidance.)
Stacked? Edges all lined up nice and neat? Let's sew, daddio!

You will probably want to pin just to make sure everybody stays in place. I also use a walking foot for this since there are a lot of layers and room for a lot of shifting about.

So you sew about 1/4" all the way around. For linen I did almost 1/2" since it tends to fray. It really doesn't matter - just rock it out. Make sure you catch all the layers all the time. You'll know if you didn't once you turn it right side out. :) --And don't worry, you can totally go back and fix it. No biggie.

Ok, so you have sewn all the way around. No need to leave an opening for turning since that's what the envelope closure will do.

Turn that puppy right side out and you can be done at this point. Totally less than an hour, right?!

Should you choose to dress it up a bit (and also help the pillow to stand up straigher), you can sew a little "faux piping" around the edge.

Just sew all the way around it again, this time on the right side. By using your walking foot and making it as narrow as possible (1/4" is fine), you can have instant piping! (Should you want to do the real deal with piping, check out my previous tutorial.)

Ok, so like an hour and 2 minutes? Easy peezy!

Don't forget to comment for the CSN Giveaway! Happy New Year if I don't check back in this week. You never know...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pregnant Quilting

Well, it's the week of Christmas! I have been very blessed to have a lot of commission orders since summer. T-shirt quilts, the circle quilts, adoption quilt, and some random magic show props and pillow covers. Whew!

I love quilting, the process of it all, but I do not enjoy basting a quilt whilst pregnant. Crawling around the floor is not a fun pasttime as is. Add a placenta and two people are miserable.

Enter the rag quilt! Now I don't have one of those fancy-schmancy die cutters so it does require a lot of patience in snipping all those raggy edges. HOWEVER! There is no basting and no binding. (I'll always love you, binding, but you are a little rough on the fingers.)

Not to mention how handy rag quilts are in using up charm packs. When I first started my quilt mania 5 years ago, I started buying charm packs of all the spectactular new lines out at the time (Flea Market Fancy, anyone?!) without really having a plan. I was studying for a board exam, hating life, and desperate for a creative outlet. I hadn't touched a sewing machine in years but throw some beautiful fabric in front of me and cha-ching! Gazillions of charm packs are sitting here looking at me for half a decade pleading to be used. Well used you shall be, my pretties.

I just finished up a rockets and robots rag quilt with David Walker fabric. Once it is washed and ready I'll post pictures of that too. I know, try to wait paitently. Both will be in the shop for all your frantic New Years shopping. I kinda misplaced my camera Thanksgiving and didn't get things ready for Christmas. Good timing.

May the peace of our Lord touch you this special time of year. A very blessed and Christ-centered Christmas to you and your families.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17