The 18” quilted pillow semi-failure

I rarely make something for the first time and end up with perfect results, and this 18-inch quilted pillow is certainly no exception. I have a ton of vintage fabric and decided to make a large quilted pillow for my couch because you can never have too many throw pillows. I am a largely self-taught sewist, so if any of you pros out there have some suggestions, leave me a comment!

 

To make the pattern, I cut a flap off the top of a box of beer and found it was four inches wide. I cut it into a four-inch square and decided that if I made the pillow five squares tall and five square wide, I would end up with dimensions of 20 inches by 20 inches before any seam allowance.

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I randomly picked 25 different patterns of polyester knit fabric and tried to cut the 25 squares with expert precision.

 

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After arranging the squares just how I wanted them, I sewed them together in strips of five with a ¼ inch seam allowance.

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To join the strips together, I pushed the seams in opposite directions and sewed the strips together.

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I decided to use some fusible interfacing to back the both sides of the pillow. This is where it all went wrong. Instead of putting the interfacing on the back of the quilted piece after I sewed it all together, I should have bonded the interfacing to each individual square. Since I was working with polyester knit, it stretched in different directions and all my squares looked crooked. So much for my super-duper straight squares.

I decided to try and straighten the mess by top-stitching on either side of the seam and pulling the squares back into position as I went. It helped a bit, but black thread was probably not the best choice. Next time, I’ll go with something that blends a bit better. Still, it’s not a complete throw-away.

 

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After the top stitch. Meh.

For the backing, I chose some vintage bark cloth and backed it with the interfacing as well. I dug up an 18-inch zipper to install along the bottom. I basically stink at installing zippers. I’m more of a snap and button person. I cannot figure out the zipper foot that came with my machine to save my life, so I winged it with the regular foot.  However, for my skill level, I think it turned out OK.

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After the zipper was in place, I sewed the backing to the front and trimmed the inside corners so that when the pillow is right side out, they will be pointy instead of the fabric bunching up in the inside of the corner. Here is the end result:

 

 

Did it turn out to be 18 inches? No. It’s about 17 ½, but when I stuffed an 18-inch pillow insert into the cover, it plumped out nicely. So the first run was not terrible, and I would definitely make more of these in different sizes.

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Five new bags for fall

I decided to take a short break from gathering more supplies and turn out some new stuff. It was a short break, because I feel like I need to get as much second hand shopping in as possible before winter sets in. Here’s what I came up with last week:

I combined all the different bark cloth and vintage linen I had and came up with this beauty. The San Diego Transit patch on the front flap sort of matches the vintage Wembley necktie I used for the strap and interior pocket, but that’s where the matching stops. My friend said the pattern on the front looked like Brussels sprouts. I’ll take that as a compliment.

I made a bag a couple weeks ago with a flower pattern made from vintage buttons on the front flap. It sold almost immediately, so using buttons as embellishments is my new jam. Pink and green floral patterns rule this bag. Recognize that fern pattern on the sheet I used for the liner? I think everyone had a set of these sheets at some point. My mom sure did.

I went with a secondary colors scheme on this one. First, I found that tan, green and purple fabric at the Salvation Army. It was also half price, so that was a bonus. The very next day, I found the vintage chenille band letter from 1939 in an antiques mall. I knew immediately that I had to combine these two elements with some matching fabric. Here is the end result.

I recently made a red, white, and blue bag that featured a vintage towel for the front flap and it was big hit. So I decided to follow it up with another bag with a patriotic color scheme. I had this sweet clip-on tie that I decided to use the bottom of it for the front pocket. It had a small flaw on the lower left, but hey, the awesome pattern makes up for all that. The top of the pocket is red corduroy and has a black pearl snap closure.

But the cherry on top of this bag is the new old stock bowling patch from the bicentennial. I believe all the fabric is from around 1976. There seems to be abundance of red, white, and blue polyester out there on the second hand market. I suspect there are tons more hiding in closets waiting to be made into something. I’ll be looking for it.

I make a lot of bags with really loud colors. It’s kind of a thing. On this one, I tried to tone it down a bit. Just a bit though.  The front is made from a vintage towel. I’m trying to find more vintage towels and do the same kind of thing. It really puzzles me why they don’t make towels like this anymore. I guess they went away just like colored bathroom fixtures. Now we live in a land where all the toilets are white.

The tie I used for the strap is really interesting. I bought a ton of vintage ties from Northern Scout Vintage on Etsy and this is one of them. There is a thunderstorm complete with lightning bolts over a cityscape printed on the tie. Bonus points if you can tell me which city this might be because I have no idea.

For the rest of the fabric, I combined neutral tones such as the vintage 1950s bark cloth on the back and the USMC camo fabric for the liner with yellow fabric for the side of the gusset and under the front flap.

Thanks for swinging by my blog and checking it out! If you have any ideas about color schemes or just sewing in general, leave me a comment. I would love to hear from you.