Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Pillow Project Trial Run

Several years ago (I say 2, my sister says it's more closer to 4 years), my sister wanted to have some custom made pillows from Calico Corners. They are a lovely, designer/decorator chain with fabulous upholstery fabrics and trims. They also do windows. However, as I am, I felt the price they wanted to make the pillows was excessive. So, I told my sister I would make them for her. I made the euro shams seen on the daybed in my many photos from sheets and piping and figured fringe wouldn't be too hard. (In a moment of madness, I had also decided to make two bridesmaids dresses for my sister's wedding when we could find nothing to satisfy ourselves. That is just the way we are.)

But, time went by, and I thought too excessively about making these particular pillows too perfect and they didn't get done. Until now. In order to get over the worry of having her pillows not turn out, I decided to make a trial run. So I had this western, tooled, leather-look fabric in my stash. Of course, I did a bit of Internet research and turned up a lovely rug-hooking blog that had posted about making fringed pillows.

So, here is my post about making fringed pillows. I make my pillows sort of like an envelope, so the pillow can be removed and the cover cleaned, if necessary. (Gene, of the rug hooking blog, sewed his pillow into the cover.) So then I had to think about what size to cut the fabric. My sister had bought 18" pillows that were pretty stuffed. I had to think about the size of the overlap on the back of the pillow and how many layers of fabric I would be sewing through and if my sewing machine was going to be able to do it. I decided on allowing 1-inch for the seem, but because the pillows were so stuffed, to allow 2 inches more for that. So, I cut out a 21-inch square.

I knew that I wanted the two pieces of the back to overlap by 4 inches plus 1 inch for turning over the edge so I cut a piece of fabric 26" (21 + 5) by 21". Then I cut it in half so I had two pieces 13" by 21".

Next, attach fringe. I bought the kind that is meant to be sewn between the layers. The white string holds the fringe together until you pull it off. Don't do this until you are completely finished with the pillow.

Start the fringe on the bottom of the right side of the fabric. Usually, the fabric store will put a piece of tape of the fringe to keep it from fraying. See the paired loop in the photo below? I sew through it then carefully separating the fringed "pairs", I cut through it and the string on the bottom holding the fringe together (Then cut off the taped fringe. I don't want sticky stuff gumming anything up). Then, I zig-zag the loops at the top, to make sure it is held together. Pin the fringe to the right side of the fabric then overlap the fringe a couple of inches. Repeat the steps above before you cut off any excess fringe. If you want the pillows extra fringy, you can double the fringe all the way around the pillow but it gets pretty spendy. Try to sew the fringe to the fabric at the end of the looped ends as close to the loosened threads as possible. (If any fringe threads are loose, smooth them out flat so you don't sew them into the seam.) You don't want to see the bound threads when you turn the pillows inside out. But if you do, it is easy to fix. Just turn the pillows back inside and re-sew a little closer to the edge. That is why you want to wait until you are satisfied with the pillows before pulling the thread holding the fringe together.
Then, sew on the back pieces, right sides together one at a time with the folded over edge in the middle of the pillow. I usually reinforce the openings by sewing over a couple of times. Trim the excess fabric at the corners ( I didn't do this on my sister's pillows fabric because it was a loose weave and I had zig-zagged the edges). Turn the pillows inside out especially at the corners to make sure the bound fringe is not showing.
And there you go, easy, peasy pillows!

1 comment:

Richie said...

Gorgeous pillows! And did you really make the dresses on time? By yourself? I'm so impressed. Luuuv the fringe. Are you listed with or do you only do this for family members?