Home, sewing, tutorial

comfy sews tutorial: sunburst pillow tutorial

[Re-posting this tutorial I orignally posted on Luvinthemommyhood/Versus blog a couple weeks ago.]

How about a Comfy Sew for your home?  Maybe something for on a chair, your couch, or your bed?  Well, today I want to show you a really fun pillow to make.  It’s made of really soft and pretty linen with a sunburst of pintucks!  Simple and elegant and modern.


1/2 yard linen (or any solid color fabric would really look stunning as well), you may need up to 1 yard depending on what size pillow form you use
one pillow form 14×20 – the one I’m using is actually from Target, it’s a travel pillow (you’ll find them right next to the regular bed pillows, the best part is that they’re under $5)
thread, pins, etc.
Cutting the pieces:
  • main front piece 20″ wide by 16″ tall (this is cut a little tall for the pillow form, but it’s to leave room for the pintucks)
  • envelope back closure pieces: 14″ tall by 16″ wide, 14″ tall by 12″ wide
Additional measurments for a 12×24 pillow form:  front piece 24″ wide by 14″ tall, cutting down to 12″ tall after pintucking, back closure pieces 12″ tall by 18″ wide, 12″ tall by 9″ wide.
Measurements for a king size pillow 20″ tall by 36″ wide:  front (36″ wide by 22″ tall, cutting down to 36″ wide by 20″ tall), back closure pieces 20″ tall by 26″ wide, 20″ tall by 14″ wide.
Also, I thought I should add that the smaller you cut your pillow sizes the firmer fit on the pillow form.  I usually like a really snug and tight fit, so I often cut my pieces smaller than the pillow form just to get that nice tailored look.
*** I just want to note here that the photos I’ve taken for this tutorial are from making a king size pillow cover, but the technique is the same no matter what size pillow form you use.
Making the sunburst pintucks:
Using the edgestitching foot on your machine (or even your regular sewing foot – you’ll just have to be a little more precise) sew the pintucks.
Take the pillow main front piece and make an angled fold in the fabric, WRONG sides together.  Press.
Stitch fairly close to the fold.  This is where the edgestitching foot comes in really handy.
See that little metal piece sticking down from the middle?  That’ll be where you hold the fold up next to, and it’ll give you a really nice straight pintuck without worry about wobbles.
Again, if you don’t have a machine with that foot, a regular foot will work just fine, just try and make your stitches as straight as you can.  Press pintuck towards the top.  Repeat pintucks by making radiating lines from one side of the pillow (you choose which side – no need to be technical here).
(this seam looks wobbly here, but it’s just the nature of the linen, once it’s pressed it lays flat and smooth)
Just keep making angled folds to guide where your pintucks will be (I did 5 pintucks per pillow), don’t worry about placing them in an exact place, it’s meant to be more abstract.  If you’re not comfortable doing that, just use a water soluble pen to mark the lines where you’ll be folding (just be sure that your water soluble pen still comes out once you’ve ironed over it).  Trim the pillow top down so it measures 20″ wide by 14″ tall.
Making the pillow back:
Feel free here to use whatever pillow closure method you prefer.  I really love a good invisible zipper on a pillow, if you want to try one out, I highly recommend Sew Katie Did’s Invisible Zipper Tutorial.  The easiest and quickest method (and the one I’m showing you here) is an envelope style closure, easy to sew and pops off quickly for washing.
Take one envelope back piece and press one 14″ side over to the WRONG side by 1/2″, repeat.  Stitch close to the fold.  Repeat for remaining envelope back piece.
Assembling the pillow:
Lay your pillow top RIGHT side up on your table.  Place the wider envelope back piece RIGHT side down on top, aligning the raw edges and having the hemmed edge facing the middle.  Next, lay the remaining envelope back piece RIGHT side down, aligning the raw edges.  Pin.
Sew around entire rectangle using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Serge, zig-zag stitch or leave edges raw.  Clip corners.  Press again, insert pillow form and you’re set.

This also could easily be sized up or down to fit the pillow form of your choice. Now go sew some comfy stuff!

Thanks again Shannon for having me over to duke it out!  Be sure to stay tuned to Luvinthemommyhood for lots more of Comfy Sews vs. Cozy Knits!

Holiday, Home, sewing, tutorial

vintage hankie pillow cover tutorial

  guest posted on Elsie Marley with this tutorial a few weeks ago…

It’s a sweet and simple project you can create in time for valentines day.  This would even be a great project for a beginner or for a child who’s fairly comfortable using a sewing machine.

I thought of these pillows one day after I saw some of my vintage hankies.  Their colors were perfect for valentines day and I thought they would add a little bit of character to an empty chair or sofa.  My mom had given me a few of the hankies and I had collected a few from local estate sales.  If you’re not sure where to get vintage hankies, I suggest looking at estate sales, etsy, or ebay.  They’re usually in pretty good condition and will be durable enough to add to a pillow  After all, they were originally intended for nose blowing!
Now I’m sure there are some enthusiasts who would never do this to a prized vintage item, but for me I’d rather have them out on display where we can enjoy them more, instead of stashed in a drawer somewhere. 

Let’s get started!

1/2 yard linen or base fabric for making the pillow cover
1 vintage hankie (wash, iron, starch)
1/2 yard heat n bond lite (available at Joanns, even pre-packaged at walmart)
thread, sewing machine, pins, etc.

I’ll give measurements for both a 16″ pillow form, but of course feel free to adjust these as needed for your particular hankie/pillow form.

Cutting the pieces:

top 16″ x 16″

for envelope back:

cut one piece 16″ tall by 14″ wide, and another 16″ tall by 11″ wide
Attaching hankie:
Apply heat n bond lite to the hankie using manufacturers directions.  Fuse hankie to pillow cover top, centering hankie. 
The next step can be potentially tricky, but you’ll need to sew the hankie down to the pillow cover top as close to the hankie’s edge as possible. 
Depending on how your particular hankie is shaped/hemmed, you might have to take it really slow and lift the presser foot and turn as you go.  You could alternately used heat n bond ultra (which requires no sewing to ensure the quality of the bond), however it will make the pillow more stiff, so I’ll just leave that up to you!
Finishing the pillow:
Next you’ll want to hem the edges of the envelope back opening.  Take one piece of envelope back and press the long side over by 1/2″ towards the WRONG side of the fabric and again by another 1/2″. 
Sew close to folded edge.  Do this for both envelope back pieces.
Then place the pillow cover top facing RIGHT side up, on top of that layer the larger back piece RIGHT side down on top, aligning raw edges.  Then place the smaller envelope back piece over that, also RIGHT side down.  Pin.  Sew around entire perimeter using a 1/2″ seam allowance. 
Serge or use a zig zag stitch around edges to finish them off so they don’t fray in the wash, clip corners.  Press.  Insert pillow form and enjoy!
Home, tutorial

modern tealight holder tutorial

{Just re-posting this here in case anyone missed it, previously shared my tutorial on Melissa’s blog the Polkadot Chair}

I thought I’d share an idea that’s a little something different than what I usually do. 

We’re at the point where I can keep a candle around and it won’t get eaten or destroyed, and I wanted something to put on my dining room table for Thanksgiving this year, or any holiday for that matter. So here’s a fun woodworking project that you could definitely accomplish on your own (or for more fun, make it a project with your hubby)!

 All you need are a few basic tools and a few supplies:
1 2×4 piece of quality lumber (I used oak from my local home improvement store)
power drill
220 grit sand paper
1.5″ spade bit
tea lights
1.  Cut your lumber to the length you desire.  I know a lot of home improvement stores can cut lengths of lumber for no charge, so just ask.  Or you could use your own chop saw or borrow a neighbors.  I cut mine to different lengths because I wanted to make some as gifts.  The long version is 30″ long, medium is 15″, and the single square one is 3.5″ square (yes, I should mention that even though lumber says it’s 4″ wide, it really means that it’s about 3.5″ wide – so just keep that in mind).
2.  Drill tea light holes.  Mark your spade bit depth.  Using a piece of blue painters tape.  Mark on the bit how deep you want the drill bit to go, that way when you’re drilling, you’ll drill until the tape is level with the wood.  This will make all your holes the same depth. 
Mark with a pencil where you want your holes to be.  I actually just ‘eye-balled’ all my markings and went for it, but I think you take the length of the piece and divide it by one more than the # of holes you’d like.  Remember measure twice and drill once!  Now with your spade bit attached to your drill, drill the holes.

3. Lightly sand down any rough areas with 200 grit sand paper and wipe off any sawdust.
4. Stain using manufacturer’s instructions.  I used a Gel Stain and wiped it off fairly quickly so the stain didn’t penetrate the wood too much.  I wanted to be able to see the grain of the wood still.  Let dry, pop in your tea lights, and enjoy!  Don’t worry if the depth of the holes varies a little, I ended up putting a little folded piece of paper underneath some of the tea lights to make them level with the wood, just do what works for you!
That’s all!  I think it would look beautiful with any color tea lights and even the white tea lights for a non-seasonal look.
ps. Just thought I should add to make sure to keep small children away from burning candles and matches and never leave a burning candle unattended, but you already knew that.  🙂