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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunshine Paisley Throw Pillow Tutorial

Ok, here it is. What I've been meaning to write and put up for ages. If I didn't have to keep doing that pesky schoolwork (five more weeks until graduation, five more weeks!), this would have happened a lot sooner.

Once I finished the five embroidered paisley squares (click for pattern), I knew I wanted to make a pillow out of them. I was worried though, because I didn't want it to get too "patchwork quilt." I didn't think that would go with the modern feel of my bedroom.

I wanted to do solid yellows and grays, but the quilt story nearby (Gracie Lou's--sooooo awesome!) didn't have any. This was perplexing. Normally, when I get an idea, there is nothing that can prevent me from doing that idea. I mean, small adjustments, they normally make the project turn out better. Large adjustments like substituting a print for a solid? I will normally not proceed. I think the saleswomen in the shop thought I was being completely unreasonable (although she was very perplexedly kind about it). Like, I had gone into a restaurant and said, "But, these green beans aren't green enough, I wanted more of a Christmas green, not so much an olive green. And I wanted them cut 1/4" longer. Do you have different green beans in the back?" (I did not ask for super-secret back-room fabric, FYI).

However, I did eventually find some fabric I liked. I'm still not sure about it. I think I would like it better with solids, but heck, it's done and it's cute and I adore the embroidery, which is really the point of this pillow. And, it's growing on me.

So, here are the steps if you'd like to make your own and show off your own embroidery. I love this idea, because embroidery just doesn't happen often enough, in my opinion! It's would be cute as just a patchwork pillow too, with regular fabric instead of the embroidery, so don't feel left out if you're not in the mood to embroider.

Sunshine Paisley Pillow

3/4 yard fabric #1
1/3 yard fabric #2 (Four squares of coordinating fabric cut to 5 1/4" and two 45" lengths of 1" wide strips sewn together to make one long length)
Five embroidered squares at 5 1/4"

Square of muslin around 20x20"
Square of low-loft batting around 20x20"
Cording approximately 72" long
Fusible interfacing (2 pieces approximately 13x19")

Step One: Embroider five squares with paisley in any color you like. Embroider within a 5 1/4" square. Once finished, cut to 5 1/4".

Step Two: Cut four pieces of fabric to 5 1/4" square. If your fabric is patterned, you may want to consider cutting the squares so the pattern is symmetrical (this may take additional yardage). Also cut two lengths of the sashing fabric (gray in my pillow) to 1 3/4" wide.

Step Three: Lay out your squares and determine where each square will go. Sashing only needs to go on the inside between the two squares. Pick up the middle squares, leaving the outside squares in place, and sew sashing on each side of the middle squares. I chain stitched mine (shown below). I didn't do mine as methodically, so my photos are slightly different.

Step Four: Once you've chain stitched one side of the three squares, trim off the sashing at the bottom roughly, leaving a tail (we will trim this more exactly later). Iron seams toward the sashing. Then sew sashing to the other side and iron seams again.

Step Five: Now, you need to trim sashing. This is easiest to do with a rotary cutter and clear ruler. Line up sides and trim off excess. Do the same for the other side.

Your finished square will look like this (with only one side done).

Step Six: Sew outside squares to middle squares/sashing. Iron and trim.

Step Seven: Sew sashing to top and bottom of middle row. Iron seams toward the sashing. Trim.

Step Eight: Carefully pin top row to sashing of middle row. I spent some time making sure the corners of the squares lined up exactly. I pinned every spot there was a seam. Sew. Do the same for the bottom row of squares. Iron.

Now your top is almost finished!

Step Nine: Cut two more lengths of sashing 1 3/4" wide. Sew sashing along both sides of square, iron and trim. Then sew along top and bottom. Iron and trim.

Your finished top will look like this:

Step Ten: Next is the quilting. I wanted something very subtle, so I used a very low loft batting. I also knew the back of this part wouldn't show, so I used a cheap muslin. Cut batting to 1 1/2" larger than finished pillow front. Then cut muslin 1/2" larger than batting.

Step Eleven: Pin layers together. You can use quilting basting adhesive spray, but I decided to use pins for mine.

Step Twelve: Quilt pillow. I did simple in the ditch quilting, making a sort of tic-tack-toe pattern along the lines of the sashing, stitching in the ditch along the squares.

Front of my finished quilting:

Back of my finished quilting:

Step Thirteen: Trim batting and backing along pillow edge. (I seriously need a new ruler. One of my kids stepped on mine and cracked it.)

Step Fourteen: Using the 1" yellow strip of fabric, make encapsulate the cording. This is a good tutorial of how to do this.

Step Fifteen: Pin the cording all around the outside of the pillow front, with the cording part toward the center and the raw edges lining up against the outside. Around the corners, clip to stitching so that the cording will turn around the edges, and make them as sharp turns as possible. At the bottom of the pillow, overlap the cording slightly and run it off the edge and downward, so that the ends will be caught when you sew and no raw edges will show (see photo in next step for more of an idea of how this looks).

Step Sixteen: Baste cording in place.

Step Seventeen: Cut 2 fusible webbing 1/2" shorter than height of backing pieces. Fuse to wrong side of fabric. Iron raw edge along top down, so that the raw edge touches the top of the fusible webbing. Then fold it down along the fusible webbing, so that the raw edge is folded in. Pin. Then topstitch. Do the same for both backing pieces.

Step Eighteen: Make sure the back pieces are the same width as the pillow. If not, cut down to fit. Then, pin first back piece on front, right side toward pillow front, with finished edge across the center of the pillow. Pin the second piece, layering over the first piece, with right side toward pillow and finished edge across center, creating envelop. (See photo in next step to see how finished back will look).

Step Nineteen: Stitch back to front. Trim corners. Turn. Insert pillow form. And that's it! You have a beautiful new pillow!

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  1. Anonymous12:33 PM

    Great tutorial and I love your choices! I think the print is perfect with the paisley. I much prefer it to a solid color.
    Paisley is one of my favorite patterns and yellow is a favorite color.
    This would make an amazing quilt if I were patient enough to do that much embroidery. Twelve squares with appropriate margins and borders would make a full or queen quilt, 9 squares would make a throw; 6 would make an adorable baby blanket!
    I found you via Craft Magazine! So glad I looked you up.

  2. Great creation..I love all the yello cushions..

  3. Good creativity and the design are so nice and beautiful.


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