Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Making it Sew Complicated!

Our youngest niece, let's call her Browneyedgirl, has a birthday this month as well. As part of her present I'm doing a cross stitch piece that I hope she'll like. (The other part I know she'll like and it ties in with the theme in the picture.) Now, considering how young she is, I realised that a cross stitch in a photo frame would be pretty boring for her. So I decided to liven it up a little.

She has a plush toy named Buddy that she adores. I'm not aiming to replace him, but am hoping this is something she'll like to cuddle, look at, throw around, or perhaps even Buddy might use it for himself. A pillow. Only problem is, I'm not much of sewing-type person and had no idea how to attach a cross stitch to a pillow. I figured maybe I could sew it on with a nice border to help frame it. But, I really couldn't find a pillowcase that looked as good as the picture I had in my mind.

Once I found this webpage, I thought all my problems were solved. I went to the fabric store and had great fun picking out materials for the pillow, but then realised my sister-in-law, Alaskagirl, would probably want to wash the pillow at some point. So, I changed the plan to making a pillow case to go over a small pillow, instead of a stuffed cushion like the pattern wanted me to do. Luckily they had smallish 12"x16" pillows for sale at the shop. :) Score!

Also having NO idea how much material to buy, I ended up with far too much. Oh well, plenty for future products, in three different materials no less since I bought another pretty print to make a test pillowcase. Fortuitously, near the register were a bunch of felt rectangles, so I grabbed one in the only colour that would look good with the material to act as a substitute for the cross stitch part of the equation.

All set. Easy peasy. Right? Wrong! When I typed in the numbers in the pattern maker to allow the pillowcase to be long enough to fit the pillow, it was now two inches too wide. Bugger. So, we were going to have to reverse engineer the pattern. Now, here's where it gets complicated. Not only were we changing it from a tuck cushion pattern to a pillow case pattern, but also making it an Australian-style pillow case.

Australian pillowcases differ from the American ones I've seen in one very basic way. American pillowcases are like a three sided sheath that's a little longer than the pillow, and the excess length you tuck under the pillow when placing it on the mattress. I'm forever chasing my pillow out of the case. I'm used to Aussie pillowcases which have a flap on the inside of the pillowcase to hold the pillow in. Kinda like an envelope when you tuck the back flap inside the envelope to hold the piece of paper inside. (but this flap is stitched so that it remains inside the pillow.)

E.G. This is the flap on the one we made.
I also figured this was a safer way than buttons or press studs or other types of fasteners to keep the pillow in the case.

Finally after much deliberation, swearing, measuring, miscommunication, arguing and generally having a good time working on a project together, Alaskaboy and I had a pattern all worked out. We shared the cutting out and the fusing of the webbing binding stuff. Again, a whole lot of swearing went on because the only iron we have is this and the actual ironing surface isn't even as long as my hand. Took forever! But finally we got it done.

Alaskaboy is a much more patient and steady handed person than I, aka anal retentive and great with fiddly little shit that I do NOT have the patience for plus near enough is good enough for me, so he got the job of sewing it all together. Besides he'd already done a few little test runs on the machine and knew it's quirks. (Aren't I lucky, he cleans AND he sews!)

And this is our finished product.

I couldn't help grinning like an idiot when it was finished and kept remarking in a gleeful kind of voice. OMG, it's so pretty. And we made this. And Oh wow it's so cool! I couldn't figure out why I was so excited over a dumb pillow. (Especially when we forgot to hem one of the side pieces despite allowing enough material TO hem it. Oh well, we'll know for the actual pillow. Hooray for a test run!) Then Alaskaboy said, "It's because you created something!"

"But you sewed it!"

"So? We both still created something."

"Oh, wait, yeah I did create something. I had the original idea, picked the materials, helped adapt the pattern and helped in the assembly."

"Exactly!"

It may be just a stupid pillow, but it's my stupid pillow. I'm betting that stupid grin and glowing feeling I had is even better when it's my own stupid book I hold in my hands one day. For now, I'm enjoying this creation buzz. And looking forward to actually cutting out and doing all the fusing stuff for Browneyedgirl's pillow tomorrow. I'm really worried now whether the two contrasting materials I got will work together. {fingers crossed}

Hopefully, Alaskaboy will have time to sew it over the next few nights and we can send it off to arrive time for her birthday. :)

3 Nibbles:

Amanda said...

It's cute! You should definitely be proud of yourself. I really want to get a sewing machine- I have one at home, but not here, and I miss it :)

alaskagirl said...

Ok, maybe I shouldn't read your blog. Just ruined the surprise!

As a sewer, I can say you did a good job! And I know how hard sewing those overlapping flaps can be. I think Browneyedgirl will like it. Might be a good car pillow - we could use one.

To sum up, nice work!

cmae said...

There's such a thing as a pattern-maker?!

The pillow looks awesome!