Thursday, June 28, 2012

~ Anchored in Years ~

My latest project is here. You can find the pattern here.

I've called it Anchored in Happy.
It makes me happy.
And you?

I have been wanting to sew anchors for some time now, but they just had to wait their turn on "the list".

Red, Blue, Stripes, Dots ... what's not to be happy about?

In other anchor news ... yesterday was my birthday.  I don't think any of my children were privy to the fact that I spent part of the last week sewing an anchor ... and yet ...
D#2 gave me these precious anchor note cards to add to my collection and ...

D#3 gave me this fabulous necklace featuring ... guess what?
I felt the love (and way too many gifts) from each child + some other generous relatives and friends.

Please don't try to guess how old I am.

However ... this may or may not be a hint.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

~ Inspiration ~

I went to the beach over the weekend.

I walked on the Sand.

I inhaled the Surf.

I gazed at the Sky.

Then I came home and gathered together this pile of nautical goodness.

I'm sewing my brains out while still high on that ocean inspiration.

How about you?  What inspired you this weekend?
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Friday, June 22, 2012

~ Pillow Slipcover Tutorial II ~

To view the first tutorial where the piping process is explained, go here first.

So ... when we last left the piping on our pillow top ... we were done! With the piping part.

Now trim off both edges to meet the edge of the pillow.

Next: From the fabric you plan to back the pillow with, cut a strip as wide as the pillow.  From this you will cut two separate pieces.  Here's the formula for figuring out how long they should be:
1/2 of the unfinished pillow top's length measurement + 4"
So in this case I had 9 1/2" (half of 19") + 4" = 13 1/2".
(This will make a flap that overlaps.  If you want to measure exactly to do buttons and button holes ... well, that will have to be another tutorial.  This is the easy version with the assumption that all of your hard work is on the front and that is the side you will always have facing forward.)

On the bottom side of each piece (the width -- the 19" side) fold it over 3/4" - 1" and steam press. Then fold it again and press ... as shown above.

Because at least one of these seams is going to show, you want to sew them from the right side in order to maintain a nice straight line.  Pick a point on the plate to the right to use as a guide, sewing about 1/8" in from the folded edge to make sure to catch it all along the way.

I have often utilized decorative stitches from my machine on this step, however I avoid the satin-y stitches as they will pucker the hem. I did use a varigated beige thread here to mirror the varigated look of my piping fabric. Tres chic.

Now to the pinning.  Place your piped pillow top lying face up and top up (if that makes a difference.) Take the first hemmed piece (if you only 'decorated' one of them, that is the one to lay down first) and lay it with the right side down, with the raw corners matching the upper corners of the pillow top.

Now take the other piece and do the same.  Right side down, bottom corners matching.  The two hemmed parts with overlap in the middle.

Pin a few strategic places on this side ... on the corners and where the hems meet the edge.  Then flip it over and continue pinning on the other side because that is the side you are going to want to sew from, in order to be able to see the seam line made from the piping.

Attach your specialty foot and adjust the needle location. Using a regulation-sized stitch this time, sew around the entire square along that same stitching line.

Round those corners like a sleek sports car.

When you hit the corner where the two pieces of piping meet ...

... just sew in a curve moving effortlessly from one piece to the next.
Continue sewing until you meet up where you started and overlap some stitches.

You probably weren't expecting this but ... now you are done.  Turn that baby right side out.

As long as everything is in place and the flaps have been caught in the seam line (see above and below), there is no need for any trimming.  Let the excess fabric in the corners serve as additional stuffing..

Seriously ... you are done!

Depending on how rigid your pillow form is, the stuffing part can take some patience. This is why you don't want more overlap than I have suggested here.  Trust me.

Aaah ... aren't you proud?

If you would like your pillow to sport some soothing sand dollars like mine, go here.

Then ... follow my lead and recover every dang pillow in your entire house!

You know you want to.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

~ Pillow Slipcover w/ Piping Tutorial ~

In conjunction with putting this pillow pattern on my Etsy Shop, I wanted to publish this tutorial on making a pillow slipcover with a piped edge (which will be included as a link in this and other pillow patterns.)  I have made dozens of these.  Why buy a new pillow when you can slipcover an old one for a fraction of the cost? 
The pillow pictured above is called "Coastal Currency".
So ... assuming you have a completed this pillow top, or another of your own design ... or just a some fabulous fabric to cover your pillow ... here goes:

The square you are working with for a pillow top should be 1" larger than the measurement of the pillow form you plan to stuff it with.  The pillow above is for an 18" square pillow and I made the dimensions of the completed top to be 19" square.  If you are not adding piping, then it can measure just 1/2" more.

The piping I work with looks like this.  Because we are planning to cover it then it doesn't need any attached edge.  The point in covering it is that YOU apply the attachment in the very fabric you want.
This piping is 1/4" wide and my personal preference.  The measurements below are to cover 1/4" piping.
This stuff is very cheap.  I recommend getting it at Home Fabrics.  Sometimes the really thin stuff is behind the counter ... so ask.

Take the fabric you plan to cover it with and cut as many strips (selvage to selvage) and will equal the circumference of the pillow + a smidge extra. For my 1/4" piping, I cut my strips 1 1/4" wide.

Join the pieces with a diagonal seam.  For this 18" pillow, I needed only 2 strips.

Trim the seam and press it out.

Next is the matter of which sewing machine foot to use.  Most people will use a zipper foot, the idea being that you need to sew as close to the piping as possible.  My Bernina has this #12 foot, specially made to hold the piping in place while it is being enclosed.  No matter what foot you use, make sure to put your needle position to hit the right spot.

Place the cord inside of the strip and fold the strip around so the raw edges meet on the right.  You will be looking at the right hand side of the fabric. Start sewing from the top end.  

You can use a longer stitch for this, both to conserve time and to keep anything from puckering at this stage.

Your most important job at this point is keeping those pesky right-hand raw edges aligned.

Note that I am not using a giant basting stitch, but it's longer than a regulation one.

Once you are finished covering the piping, you will now join the piping to the front panel of your pillow.  Because this first corner involves the joined seams, I like to put it on one of the bottom two corners ... so start there. You will be attaching the piping to the RIGHT side of the pillow top.
Cut several snips into the seam about 1/4" apart.  Be careful not to cut into the seam line.

Hold the piping to the pillow top and the corner and form a curve.  Keep the raw edges of both aligned. Don't worry if some hangs off the top, you can trim that to meet the edge.

Using the same foot, needle position and stitch length as before, sew around that curve ...

... and keep sewing down the straight side until you hit the next curve.

Stop about an inch before and cut those same snips into the upcoming curve portion.

Keep in mind that your goal is NOT to square off the corner as much as possible. Once the pillow form is in place, the corners tend to "dog-ear" anyway, so feel free to round them considerably.

As you approach the final corner and see the clipped edge where you began ...

 ... clip the edge of the seam as before.

 Now, hold it down so that it curves.  You want to cross the other cord at a point that is a direct 45 degree angle line from the corner of the pillow top.

Keep sewing ... going over that bump is not nearly as difficult as it may seem.

Once you have come off the edge, cut the threads and take a deep breath.

The second half of the tutorial (contructing the "slipcover" portion) will be published in a couple of days.  I was going to make it into one long tutorial, but apparently Blogger was bored and only allowed me this many pictures.

Thank you for your patience.

Pillows can change your life.
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