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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The I-127 Corridor Sale

As we took off down the road from Fayetteville, TN a rainbow materialized across the highway. I took this as a sign of good luck for the I-127 Corridor Sale that runs from Alabama to Michigan for four days every August. We drove toward Chattanooga where we would follow the road north. I knew we were close to the action when traffic slowed to a crawl. We have a yard sale strategy we call “stick and move.” My husband, Rad, will drive by at a creep, while I scope out the scene. If I see some premium junk, we find place to stash the F-150, hop out and survey the scene. There’s a lot to see and I was looking for fabric, old neckties and vintage sewing notions.

 

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the good luck rainbow

 

After seeing things like deer heads hanging from a telephone poll, cow skulls, an old hippie and tons of rusty bikes, we decided to ease on down the road and search for something to eat. There weren’t many restaurants on this leg of the trail, but we stumbled upon the Lone Oak community center and volunteer fire department combined into one building. And they had chili dogs and sweet tea. A woman played the piano in the large dining area, plus she was taking requests. We passed through the industrial kitchen, scored some hot dogs, corn bread and tea before someone informed us that there was also a book and quilt sale down the hall.

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hot dog with chips and tea

 

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The Lone Oak hot dog mess hall

 

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just a pile of cow skulls

 

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animal heads on a telephone poll

 

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a tree that is ready for Halloween 

 

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rusty bikes for all ages

 

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just in case you’re in the market for an animal hide

 

I found a Bargello book for a quarter before passing into the quilt room. A woman sat at a table and asked me if I wanted to purchase a raffle ticket for a huge quilt that hung from the ceiling. I explained that I lived in Michigan so I had no way of picking up the quilt if I were to win the raffle. “Well, we’ll mail it to ya!” she said. Who can argue with that? Wish me luck. I also scored some sweet high-quality corduroy for two bucks a yard. The woman who sold me that raffle ticket measured it out by stretching the material from her nose to her finger tips and I walked out with a sack stuffed full of good quality fabric for about ten bucks.

 

 

We plugged on up the road without much luck after that. Second-hand fire arms and rebel flags began to dominate the stops we rode past, and since I am certainly not in the market for those items, we cut over to Nashville and began a new quest for craft beer and fried chicken.

Here are a few more photos from the trail:

 

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good quality junk this way

 

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creepy antique dentist chair

 

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everything you need to start up a diner

 

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old photos of people you don’t know

 

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piles of merchandise

 

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potato field