Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I May Have A Scrap Problem... Pillow Cover Tutorial!

Hi, all!

Well, better late than never - I didn't get my tutorial written in time to post this earlier (I actually had to make another pillow cover to take some pictures!) but it's done now!  First, though, let me share with you this week's blocks for the Gypsy Wife quilt...

This block is called Old Maid's Puzzle, and it's the last of the "named" blocks in the book.  As before, these blocks are made out of Kate Spain's Latitude batiks, and I love the colors!  The rest of the blocks are designated as "filler" blocks, so this is definitely a milestone!  I'll need to figure out how to divide up the rest of the blocks in the book over the next few weeks.  


And now for the tutorial.  I had so much fun making a wide variety of pillow covers over the past few weeks, and they are a great way to use up scraps and orphan blocks!  I'm sure there are many ways to make them, but I'm going to share how I do it.  Try it my way or experiment until you find what works for you!

First of all, create your pieced top.  Standard pillow form sizes are 14", 16" and 18", and I usually make my pieced top about 1/4" larger than the pillow form size.  I like my pillows well-stuffed, and making it slightly smaller than the pillow form size will give you a well-rounded pillow that isn't loose in the covering.

Sandwich your pieced top with a piece of batting, and a backing if desired.  I like to use Warm & Natural batting, which is dense enough that it doesn't stretch or pull, unlike some other battings.  Because of that, there's no need to use an additional backing inside the pillow.  If you do need a backing, a simple piece of muslin is sufficient.  It doesn't need to be fancy!  I like basting spray for these, but pins work as well.  

Next, quilt as desired!  I chose to quilt this in straight lines because the pattern made that easy without extra marking.  You might choose to do cross-hatch or grid quilting, or even free motion quilting.  It's all up to you!  

Trim any excess backing and batting off your quilted piece, squaring it up as needed.

Here you can see what the back of my piece looks like - the Warm & Natural really looks almost like felt.  You could also use a piece of fleece as batting, which wouldn't require an additional backing piece either.  If you do use fleece, though, be sure it doesn't show through your block!  

Your next step will be to cut two pieces for your pillow back.  Each one needs to be the same width as your quilted pillow front, and 22" long.  Fold each of them in half so that you have a piece the width of your pillow and 11" long.  Press the fold.  

Now lay your pillow front face down with the top up at the top of your worktable.  Take one of your backing pieces and lay it with raw edges against the bottom and right edges of your pillow top.  Pin from the corner about 2/3 of the way to the left along the bottom.  (If you are more precise than I am, and your backing piece is exactly as wide as your top, go ahead and pin all the way to the corner.)

Now lay the other backing piece on the top, matching up the top and right hand edges and pinning in place 2/3 of the way across the top and at the overlaps on the side.  If your backing pieces are the same width as your top, go ahead and pin the left side the same way as the right side.  If not, flip it over to trim the pieces to the correct size.

See!  This is what happens when you cut all your pieces at the beginning - quilting almost always makes your front smaller than it started out.  So it's time to trim!

Lay your ruler on top of the pillow top and trim the backing excess away.

Now that it's all the same size, finish pinning around the top.  Be sure to catch the ends of the overlap so they don't get folded under when you are attaching the binding.

Now let me explain about the binding!  I REALLY hate piping.  My grandmother used to make beautiful pillows, and she put piping all around the edges.  Hers were always perfect.  Mine, not so much - I can't ever get nice corners with it.  So it kept me from making pillows for a long time. But after I started quilting, I got good at binding - and I realized that pillows could be bound just as easy (or even easier!) than finishing with piping. EUREKA!!!

So make your binding and sew it to the back side of the pillow cover.  I like to start on the bottom of the pillow so that my join is down there too.

After you finish sewing the binding all around and joining the ends, trim the corners.  Pull the binding back and trim just the pillow, not the binding.  This will help your corners lay nicely.

Sew down the binding on the front of the pillow cover...

...and then it's done!  Wasn't that simple?  No turning, no pushing out the corners, and they're beautifully sharp.

Here you can see both the back and the front.  You should have about a 3" overlap on the back, which ensures your pillow form won't be showing through a gap.

And here's what the finished pillow looks like with pillow form!  Super simple, they make great gifts, and they use up stash, scraps, and orphan blocks!  A winning prospect all around!

I hope you'll share your own creations on a Whoop-Whoop Friday sometime soon!



Monday, October 16, 2017

Make-A-List Monday - Christmas is Breathing Down My Neck....

Hi, all!

Whew!  Made it through last week, and I'm still alive!  I've still got a big deadline this week, but at least there aren't as many things also clamoring for my attention.  Do you have weeks like that - when there are so many things that seem to have the same amount of urgency?  Fortunately there aren't so many of them, but boy they're fun when they come!

Let's take a look at last week's list and how it went...

1.  Work on the t-shirt commission quilt; specifically, nail down the layout and start assembling.
Done!  I managed to finish assembling it this afternoon, and it actually lays flat!  Woohoo!!

2.  Update the information brochure for the quilt ministry.
3.  Prep decorations for the ministry booth at the women's event this coming weekend.
4.  Finish working on stock for the ministry booth.
Done!  Everything came together well, and we had a lovely booth with lots of visitors!  It was fun to share about the quilt ministry with some new folks...  and one of our members happened to have her spinning wheel in her car, so she showed us how to spin!

5.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up this week.
Done!  This quilt went to a woman who was moved into rehab this week...

This one went to a woman with lung cancer, going through chemo...

...and this one went to another woman also diagnosed with 
lung cancer.

This quilt went to a new baby boy!

We also gave a quilt to a young woman going through some hard times right now, but I neglected to get a photo of that one.

I've also been trying to walk each day, and I've taken some beautiful pictures out at the park. This is my favorite one from last week, taken on a very foggy morning...

OK, now that last week is behind me, I have to finish that t-shirt quilt so I can begin the next batch of projects!  Here's my list for this week...

1.  Finish the t-shirt quilt and deliver.

2.  Make another pillow cover - a match for one we sold this weekend (the customer wanted a pair!)

3.  And make one more pillow cover, a special request for a customer!

4.  Quilt a vintage quilt top for a customer.

5.  Cut out Nathanael's annual quilt.

6.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that come up.

I've got dozens of other projects to work on, but these are the most urgent for this week, so I'll start here!  Christmas is coming up so quickly - I've been trying to avoid actually counting the days but I can feel it breathing down my neck - can you?

So now the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?



Friday, October 13, 2017

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? Sweet Hearts

Hi, all!

Well, Friday has rolled around once again, and you know what that means - it's time to get our whoop whoop on!  I hope you're ready - I know I am!  Let's get started!

I've been busy making pillows this week for a marketplace at a women's event, and I've shared most of them, but I realized that I hadn't shared my three favorite pillows....

These pillows started with three pretty little orphan blocks.  All three had shades of pink in them, which helped determine the background fabric.

I looted my stash for some beautiful linen that I was hoarding - a pale pink, a creamy white, and a deeper pink that actually started life as an IKEA curtain!

All of them are quilted in a grid style, fitted out on the back with an envelope closure (all in the creamy white linen), and bound wth a beautiful tan, cream and white Modernist print.  They are so pretty together!  Soft and feminine, they'll be perfect in a little girl's room or in a "lady cave"!

Now, if you've been watching my progress with pillow covers and are starting to get the bug to make some of your own, I'm hoping to post a tutorial this coming week with the simple how-to's so you can join in the fun!

Can I get a whoop whoop??


And now it's your turn!

What's got you whooping it up this week?

What's making you do a little happy dance?

Share!  We want to dance right along with you -
And it's always more fun to dance with friends!

The party will stay open until Sunday midnight -

Hope to see you there!