Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A quilted pillow, "What not to do"

Hi guys, I've missed you!! As promised, I have the quilted pillows for you. It is not a comprehensive tutorial because I assume you know something of sewing, especially how to make a pillow.  Since it is one of my first adventures in quilting, I didn't want to make it sound like this is how it's supposed to be done. I have a lot of "what not to do's" in here. I learn by mistake most of the time. I might have gotten a little lengthy with this one so I hope you can visit for a bit.

First of all I used the "strip piece method" I think it's called. I cut my fabric in 2 1/2" strips.Then I did what I often do, fly by the seat of my pants. I just wanted to get this made quickly. I didn't have instructions to go by and with the little experience I have in quilting, I just made it up as I went along. (*Remember I said I was going to tell you "what not to do".) This is one of the first things of "what not to do".

After sewing the strips using a 1/4" seam allowance. (Supposedly) I cut them into 2 1/2 " pieces and sewed those together with another set of squares. When I opened them up after stitching, I had 4 small squares altogether making a block.

At this point I had to figure out how I was going to piece this together to "look" as if I planned it. So I made some blocks using the ticking and the red check, and some blocks using the toile and red check. Sorry I don't have a pic of the toile and check before construction but it was the same technique as you see below with the ticking and check.

I was careful to make sure I matched my 1/4 " seams together and pressed them going in opposite directions so that the seams would go together nicely. (Please keep in mind this is NOT a tutorial on how to make this pillow, just how I did it.)
One trick I have learned to speed things up when you sew these blocks is to "chain them together as you see in the picture below. You just snip them apart after your done sewing.

Since 2 1/2 + 2 1/2 = 5, I cut (8) 5" squares of the brocade print fabric to use as blocks in each of the four corners of the 2  pillows.  Well, you quilters are cracking up at me right now aren't cha? Another lesson in "what not to do". When you sew with 1/4" seam on pieces that are 2 1/2" you should have 4 1/2" squares. But I accidentally  used 1/2" on some of my seam allowances creating an even bigger problem. The picture below shows the difference in what I cut originally and the size I actually needed the square to be. So I cut all 8 pieces AGAIN. (Trying to hurry, remember?) "What not to do". 

 Can you see the difference in the sizes. I just used the smaller one as a guide to cut the 5" one to the proper size.

I was finally on somewhat of a roll once I got the pieces cut the right size and stitched together.  Ilaid out the blocks in the pattern I wanted then stitched them together. Keep in mind, I was making (2) pillows so everything I say here is double the work. I mention this so you will know why it took me so long to put this post up.

After piecing the squares together I decided to use the ticking fabric for the border. It turned out nicely I think, but could definitely be another "What not to do". You should plan all these details out before you start. It could have been a disaster if I had not had enough fabric. Another thing I didn't do before I started...check to see how much fabric I had or would need. "What not to do."
I again used 2 1/2" strips to border the pillows. As you see in the pic below I cut the strips after I aligned them with the quilted fabric I had just made. No measuring for me, no sir. That would take too much time and planning. (Say it with me..."What not to do")

Then I pinned the strips to the quilted fabric and stitched it using a 1/4" seam allowance. I keep referring to this 1/4" seam allowance in a somewhat sarcastic way. It is important to make sure you use the correct seam allowance. If you use say 1/4" on some of your strips and accidentally get a call and try to sew while on the phone and then sew some strips with a 1/2" seam allowance you might have some problems. Actually you WILL have problems. I have pictures of that but I think you get the point and I am still not sure how to move these pictures around so well.  It has taken me 2 days for what I have so far.

As you can see in the picture above it is looking like something now!!! Yeah! I was so relieved when I got to this point. Now to figure out a back. (what not to do.) I should have already planned that out.

I found some linen in my stash and thought it would work nicely. It just wasn't the color I wanted. You can't really tell in this picture but it had a yellow hue to it. I decided to tea/coffee stain it. Well since I don't drink either of those, all I had was PERO. (Google it) So I mixed this up and soaked my fabric in it to give it more of the color I wanted. Sort of.

While that soaked I prepared my "quilt top". I layered the quilted fabric, some batting (that actually had shiny stuff in it from when I used the batting as snow in my Christmas village one year) and some plain white batiste scraps from my stash. Hey isn't that how quilts got started? Ladies were using scraps they had leftover. Don't judge! AND I just gave you a recycling tip. If you don't have batting go look in your Christmas decorations.

Once layered I had to "quilt" them together. Now here is where I really had to fly by the seat of my pants. I did not know what I was doing and I am definitely not showing all the pictures I took.  Some of you that quilt might never come back to my blog again. This is all I'm going to show you. I will say, I did get to use the stitch on my machine that looks like hand quilting. I did this because I was trying to hurry, but this stitch has several steps to it and takes a while. It frustrated me to start with. But, after I realized it was going to take a while, I just settled in and stitched away and stopped trying to hurry. It was quite therapeutic. Isn't that what this is supposed to be anyway.

After I dried my stained fabric for the back of the pillow,  I sewed the front and back together. I am assuming you know how to make a pillow. I left an opening for the stuffing. The stuffing came from the old pillows I showed you in my previous post.

And VOILA. It was quite satisfying to finally finish them. I hope to cover my couch (which would make a great blog post) or get a new one (I vote for that) to put them on soon. This has been a rather lengthy post and I don't know that anyone would be able to follow these directions to make one of these pillows. I have discovered doing a tutorial is a lot of work and takes a lot of planning and time. Hmmm I thought it was a good idea, but until I get a little better at this I'm going to put that on my list of "what not to do"

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