I found this amazing mid century piece on Craig’s list, and the only thing I needed to do was make pillows.
You may ask yourself, “How hard can it be for a girl who sews to make a pillow?” And I will tell you, my friends, it is HARD. These pillows need to be perfect. I will not be bringing a craft project into my living room. I will proudly display my work, so I will not stop until they are right.
I drew out a map of how I was going to cut the covers out of the fabric, determined how much I needed, and purchased the fabric. You can read about that process here.
Then I sat with the fabric in the house. The bolt was so expensive that I was afraid to cut into it. I measured everything again. I decided in the end to cover the cushions in muslin first. That way, if the foam starts to kind of deteriorate, it will be “contained”. In case of spill, there will be one more layer of protection. It was great practice and let me know where some of the challenges would be.
I studied my drawings and mulled the hole thing over for a LONG (long) time before I took my Ginger scissors to the fabric. The crux of the issue lay with the piping. In an ideal world, I would make one whole pillow, see where I needed to do some tweaking, and then move bravely ahead with the whole set. But the pipe is cut in strips on the bias, so I needed to cut ALL of the squares out, ALL of the sides out, and then I could start cutting the bias strips. Doing all the pillows at once has been frightening.
I drew a template for the big squares out of heavy weight craft paper. I used a straight edge quilting cutting tool and a rotary cutter. It took foh- evah to cut each square, because I was lining the pattern up and cutting each one so that it was straight plus ran along the lines of the weave wherever possible. I needed to cut out the top, bottom, and sides for each of the 8 cushions. It took days. I stacked them all up and built piles of pieces for each pillow. (At one point I really pushed, because we were having house guests come to stay, so I thought I could get these ready before that. What a joke.)
I also sewed a back edge piece with an invisible zipper in for each of the bottom pillows. Then, I began the chore of making piping. MILES of piping (9.55 yards for the bottom alone. ) I cut and sewed pipe for days, then I went to the store and got more thread.
Finally- finally, I sewed one pillow! It’s okay, but that’s all. Here is what I learned.
- It’s too big. The sides are probably about right, but the top and bottom surface could be maybe an inch smaller. (that seems like a lot!)
- The corners need to be clipped. The pipe is actually making a tight corner, but because I have not clipped the seam allowance, it takes a long time to round the corner.
- I need to zig zag all the edges. (That may take a month.)
- I also need to do the zippers differently. These are upholstery zippers, so I thought they were “right”. In fact, they are white which is not great. And as far as I can tell, I don’t need upholstery specific zippers. I was careful to do an invisible zipper, but when the pillow was made and the foam was stuffed in, the whole thing was pulled a little bit more than I had anticipated. The fabric is thicker than garment fabric, so it just doesn’t “sit” they way I had anticipated. I will go back and do an overlapping placket treatment instead. Yep, I will pick out all the zippers and make that panel different. (That may take another month.)
All in all, I am still wildly excited about how the project could look in the end. I will forge ahead. “Miles to go before I sleep.”
© 2005 – 2014 Kathy Lewinski & Susan Cornish