Monday, March 1, 2010

Colorful Tree Pillow

J. and I went to Barnes and Noble last weekend and I got lost in the crafting section. I flipped through so many books and got lots of good ideas. This pillow was one of them. I did this on Saturday, my busy busy busy day.

I can't remember what book I saw this in but I loved it. I have no idea what material the author used or how she he she he she (Oh, for goodness' sake, what do I say here so I don't sound sexist?) put it all together. This is how I did it.

I cut out 2 pieces of linen, 25" square and set them aside.

I made myself a template like the one above, saving the middle cut out piece to use for the center petal in the leaves. The leaf measured 4" from top to bottom and about 2.25" from the outside edges. The thickness of the leaf is 0.5". The bottom of the leaf is a little more rounded than the top, which comes to a bit of a point.
I used 12 different colors of material but I had to double up on one of the leaves. So I guess I should have used 14 different colors.

But after we went to Barnes and Noble, J. and I stopped at Joann's and I had an 18 year old male complaining the whole time over how long is this going to take????

To which I answered, as long as it takes. He hates answers like this. But I was treating him to Coldstone Creamery after Joann's so he couldn't complain too loud or too long now, could he?

Making a short story long, decide how many leaves you want and get twice the number of colors.

I used heat-n-bond to adhere the fabric to the linen, but you can use whatever adhesive you like. Just follow the manufacturer's instructions clearly.

Unlike me.

The first time I used this, I adhered the heat-n-bond to my ironing board cover. Not pretty.
Remember I told you to save the center cutouts? Here's where you use them. Make yourself a smaller tear drop shaped template for the center petal and use it to trace and cut out the petals from the pieces you've saved. My petal measures about 1.25" top to bottom and 0.75" across.

Don't fuss too much with getting the perfect shape. Remember, this is handmade.
I placed the leaves on the pillow so I could figure out where to mark the tree trunk. I used a disappearing ink marker for that job.

Using brown thread, sew curved lines along the tree trunk shape, overlapping and intersecting one another. I sewed about 16 lines for the trunk on the left and 23 lines for the trunk on the right. Numbers aren't that important. Sew as many as you like until you get the fullness you want for the tree trunk. Or you get sick of sewing lines. Like I did.

It's not a perfect tree trunk but wait until you see the next picture.

Hideous.
I wasn't expecting the material to bunch up like that. Oops.

Before I panicked and threw the whole thing out, I ironed it. And you know what?

It came out fine.
After sewing the tree trunk lines and ironing it, I ironed on the leaves and petals, placing them wherever looked best to me. I wasn't sure how long that heat-n-bond would last so I decided to sew a line in the center of the leaves.

Good thing I did. By the time I finished the pillow, one of the leaves had already started to unstick.

But I like it. It gives it a three dimensional look and I think that the leaves will start to fray and get all ruffly over time.

Kind of neat.
My sewing machine makes some fancy nancy stitches so I used one that looks like the veins on a leaf in the center of my petal. But if your machine doesn't do that, a simple line would work too. Anything to keep it attached to the pillow top.

After sewing on all the leaves and petals, pin the two linen pillow pieces together, right sides facing each other. I stitched a 0.25" seam allowance around the outside of the pillow panels and left enough room at the bottom to stuff in my pillow. I found a 24" pillow at a discount store for $2.99, took the ugly cover off and used the pillow form inside.

Pin your opening together and edge stitch along the bottom to close it up.
The finished pillow. Nice, don't you think?

*Just found out I saw this project in Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. Check it out - it's a great book!

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