Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Making Artful Pillows: Step 1

I've heard many say that they are not good at sewing or "crafty" things. Making your own throw pillows is a great project and is so straightforward that even the most challenged sewer can do it. With that in mind I thought for anyone who may like to try but does not know where to start, I would put up a step by step guide. You really can do this and here is how.

The first step is theme and fabric selection. My theme for the last year has been the seasons. I wanted to have visual reminders in my home of the changing seasons. These are pillows that we have in our living room. I change them for each season. When choosing your theme it can be as simple as a colour scheme and once you have an idea of what you are going to do you need to consider your fabric choices.
One of my criteria was that I had to use fabric that I already owned(I have two huge plastic bins of fabric). Since I was trying to reflect the seasons with my pillows I thought about the temperature it would be outside and how that would reverberate inside. The summer pillows were linen/cotton blends, nothing thick, nothing that would induce a sweat if leaned upon. For the Winter series (pictured above) I wanted fabrics that had texture, that would be warm and nice to snuggle up to. I choose a red, thick fabric with a berry and vine pattern. It speaks to me of the vines that survive through the winter and adds that hit of colour that will keep my spirits up in the gray winters we have. The green is a dark, rich and sturdy fabric. The vine pattern echos the red and brings the evergreen colours inside. I will do two pillows in the green, one will have "Winter" and a north star embroidered on it. And for the cozy factor I chose the camel fabric. It is warm and neutral so it ties into the pattern on the red.
I make the pillows with an envelope back which lets me switch them out at the beginning of the new season and lets me clean them. Consider how much you may need to clean them when choosing your fabric. Do you have kids or pets? Will these pillows be used for naps or watching movies? I use pillows in 16" square format. So when you choose what fabric you are using you'll need a 16" square piece or whatever size pillows you choose. Keep in mind that using the square format is easy and keeps your sewing straightforward. You probably already have some throw pillows that may need a new look, you'd be surprised how easy it is to give new life to pillows you were tired of looking at. The envelope backs will need to be longer to cover the opening. So allow 4-6 extra inches on one side, and 8" on the other. I will have more precise measurements in the next step. Have fun choosing your fabric. I will post the next step in a few weeks.

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