We're often asked for more projects that can be done by beginners or used as projects to help teach someone to sew - especially a child. Wish granted. We have three wonderful pillow projects we've dubbed Xtra EZ. Not only are the steps themselves just that: extra easy, we've also made sure there are specific techniques that help build a beginner's sewing tool box. This pillow shows the tools and tricks to create a simple patchwork design and illustrates the most basic of pillow closures: the envelope back. You'll also find links below for the coordinating ponytail bolster and the perky pom-pom pillow, both of which have other fun, Xtra EZ tips to learn.
This Sew4Home exclusive design allows you to create a beautiful chair cushion with fancy accent piping and nice square corners but without any beads of sweat forming on your brow. There's no side gusset; we use box corners instead. And the piping is attached as individual strips, so there are no trickhy corners. You'll be sitting pretty in no time. These easy cushions are designed for chairs with a solid back that can't accommodate the more traditional ties used to secure most off-the-shelf chair pads. Our solution: gripper fabric on the bottom to keep the cushions from sliding. Of course, you could use them on any type of chair as an alternative to dangling ties.
Outdoor living means outdoor events, which mean outdoor sitting – often on "non-chair surfaces." From summer concerts to Shakespeare in the Park, when the weather turns wonderful, activities move to more natural venues. These beautiful, wide open spaces can offer an auditorium made from a soft green meadow. Actually, they're more likely to offer a lumpy field of damp grass. For portable comfort, bring along your own stylin' set of round seat cushions. We used water-resistant rip stop nylon on the back and pretty outdoor polyester prints on the front, and they come with their own handy nylon drawstring duffle. Toss them on the lawn to keep your pants dry and your bum comfy.
Commemorate Dad's day with a set of cool plaid pillows, featuring appliqués that celebrate his family, his interests, or simply his name. We used a very classic red plaid from Pendleton for the back of each of our pillows, white cotton duck for the fronts, twisted cording around the edges, and black felted wool for our appliqués to create the look of vintage silhouettes. The only thing missing is an Irish Setter at Dad's feet and leather patches on his jacket sleeves.
Sew4Home Creative Director, Alicia Thommas was pondering a pillow one day, as she is often known to do, when a thought struck her. "This poor little pillow's so plain," she mused. "It needs a new look, a fresh take, a ... new wardrobe!" Thus was born a Sew4Home exclusive: the Pillow Jacket. It’s like an outfit for your pillow. The jacket slips over a complimentary fabric-covered pillow to create a new and unique, layered look. This pinafore version of the Pillow Jacket makes an adorable nursery accent.
We're always thinking about new ways to use all the great decorative stitches available on our Janome machines. This pillow features them in a unique way that makes ordinary piping pop. You start with jumbo half inch piping, which requires a wide fabric strip as a wrap. This fabric strip becomes the base for two rows of bold decorative stitching. We used the full 9mm stitch width available on our Janome Skyline S5. When wrapped around the piping cord, these stitches create a striking embellishment that beautifully frames the entire pillow.
In Ancient Egypt, pillows were a sign of wealth and prestige and were often used to carry ornamental items, such as precious jewels. The amount of money a family had determined the number of jewel-covered pillows on display. Similarly, the Romans used pillows to present precious items to a bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. A page would be selected to bring in pillows laden with gifts during the ceremony. Royal families would present the couple with crowns brought in on a pillow. Today, the pillow continues as the traditional way to transport wedding rings down the aisle, usually in the shaky hands of the bride's or groom's youngest male relative. This pretty version is made from intricately woven ribbons.
Grandma Anna was a waste-not-want-not kind of gal. In her tidy bungalow was a narrow closet she used to store her sewing supplies. It didn't contain much in the way of pristine yardage and packaged notions, but she still had plenty to work with - each item carefully organized into a small paper sack or recycled tin can. She would cut the "still good" parts from well-worn clothing, squirrel away every fabric scrap, snip off buttons, and hoard embroidery floss in lengths as short as 6". The amazing thing was how she could take these cast-off bits and pieces and turn them into something so very sweet and pretty. We're taking a page from Grandma's book with our set of five little mix-and-match pillows in natural tones and textures.
We did quite a bit of searching to find out where/how prairie points got their name. In doing this, we discovered quite a bit about prairie dogs, the ecosystems of Kansas prairies, and even Prairie vodka. However, the history of these cute little triangles in the world of sewing and quilting seems a bit vague. There was one posting about their possible start as a trim on undergarments in the mid-1800s. If you are a prairie point historian, leave us a comment and let us know the real scoop. While we're waiting, let's make a few prairie points to create a very unique edge for a pretty pillow. We use charm pack squares to make things quick and easy. There are 32 points around the edge; including clever mitered corners, which we show you how to make. And, we added three along the back as buttonhole accents. In case you were wondering, prairie dogs are considered to have one of the most sophisticated communication systems in the animal kingdom.
Things that are six sided: snow crystals, the cells of a honeycomb, the Tam Tam (a six-sided matzo cracker) and this delightful star-shaped pillow. Completely proving 1) not all pillows need to be square, and 2) you'll need to get a magnifying glass or microscope to make sure I'm telling the truth about the snow crystals and honeycombs. Our thanks to Hawthorne Threads for helping us find a great pair of new fabrics to produce a fresh, spring-into-summer look.