Monday, 25 March 2013

Hey ho skip to my Lou

Spring may not have sprung in quite the way we would expect - but I do seem to have shrugged myself out of my sewing hibernation.  Goodness me - since coming back from holiday I have been in a stupor.  Haven't been able to apply myself at all.  However, my neighbour telling me her foster-child has a birthday soon has got my creative cap on.  With a blue and red bedroom to match in with, I've rummaged through my fabric stash and run up this little pillow.

With the exception of the 14" Ikea pillow inside, the outer is up-cycled.  The red fabrics were cut from pretty dresses I have found at car boot sales for next to nothing (I set my buying limit at £2 - but will only spend this if the dress contains a lot of fabric - more usually 50p or £1), and the denim and check background were once my husband's shirts.

You can find such great detailing on girl's dresses.  I loved the beautiful embroidered hem to this dress.  It's been perfect to make the back envelope opening of the pillow.  The dress was lined - and I cut out a piece slightly shorter to back the pillow and give it more sutstance.  Best of all - it came ready hemmed!   Another little baby dress was cut into for the letter L.  That had a pocket on it with pretty ribbon and broderie anglaise - which embellishes the letter with no effort whatsoever on my part.

This was so quick to make up - and entirely sewn together by machine.  I began by cutting out the red check front as a 14" square.  Realising I'm out of Bondaweb, I grabbed my shearing scissors instead.  There wasn't really any planning involved - apart from knowing I wanted to include the name Lou.  I simply drew the letters straight onto the fabric and cut just inside the lines.  The hearts are random sizes as I folded the little scraps I had left over in half to cut them out.  I couldn't resist adding another piece of the gorgeous embroidered hem to the front.

To hold everything in place I sprayed each piece lightly with temporary adhesive spray.  I love that stuff with a passion - it really is magic, and worth every penny.

I won't pretend that the sewing is neat and precise - it's far from it.  In fact I went a little mad with the machine.  What was going to be a simple whizz around to secure the pieces, turned into a random stitch-fest.  I didn't want to fasten off thread for each shape, so I zig-zagged, and scribbled my way around the pillow using a variety of stitches.  I mean - when else do you ever use any of these stitches?  When I first started going a bit manic with the machine, I thought I'd ruined it - but - I like how it's turned out.  I'm particularly fond of the hearts - where I put the machine into reverse and whizzed to and fro for a zig-zag effect.  I also really like the normal zig zag stitch going randomly over the top.  I'll definitely be doing this again.....  not only is it super quick.....  it's fun too!

The two little gem stones were applied using my "JML gem styler".  Another bargain car boot find - it has been great to add a bit of bling to makes - but sadly I am now nearly out of "stones", and haven't been able to source any. (It was those or a button, as they were needed to disguise a bit of the fabric I'd rucced up by mistake).

Once the front was finished, I layered it up with the envelope back in place and stitched around the very edge to secure.  Then I completed the pillow by adding a binding.  I cut 2" inch strips from a shirt back.  Normally for a pillow I fiddle about with a narrow 1 3/4" binding - but though this denim was soft, it was thicker than I'd normally work with, and so I stuck with the 2" for ease.  I really enjoy adding binding to work, and it is very simple to add a mitred corner.  For my tutorial please click here.  Rather than hand-sew the back in place, I held it down and whizzed around again with the machine.  Okay - so up close it can be seen - but..... it took moments, and anyway - after looking at the work on some of the extortionate pillows on sale in John Lewis - I'm not going to let it bother me!

Sew there we have it .....  a no-fuss, no pins, no tacking, machine zapped pillow complete in around 2 hours.  A unique personalized gift - and for next to nothing too.