Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Adding Trim to a Bed Skirt

Bed skirts are often plain and rather boring.  There are 3 basic styles of bed skirts- gathered, box pleat and kick pleat.  Custom details can be added to any bed skirt to add interest and to help compliment the rest of the bedding ensemble.
A few months back I made this kick pleat bed skirt for a designers client.  The client recently decided she'd like to have a flat trim added to the bottom.
Normally trim would be stitched on during the construction phase, but since this one is already constructed I thought it would be a great opportunity to show how trim can be added to a "ready made" (store bought) bed skirt with trim adhesive.
What you'll need:
  Fringe & Trim adhesive that dries clear and can stand up to dry cleaning
  Tailors chalk or other fabric marking pen

Decide where you want to place the trim.  In my case the designer specified 1" up from the bottom hem.
Using a ruler and tailors chalk, mark the placement line for the bottom of the trim.
Dab a line of glue on the beginning raw edge of your trim and turn the raw edge under 1/2"
Run a solid narrow bead of adhesive close to the long edges of the trim.
Place the bottom of the trim along the placement line starting on the back side and wrapping around to the front.

Put a few pins along the attached trim to hold it down while you work your way all along the lower edge of the bed skirt.
When you get to the other end of the bed skirt, wrap it to the backside just as you did at the starting edge, turning under 1/2".  Let glue dry completely, about an hour or so, remove pins and you now have a custom bed skirt.
Pin It

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Decorative Dog Pillow with Fabric Banding

Silhouettes of dogs are becoming quite popular and I can see why.  They're classic, cute and add a personal touch to any room in the house.  I thought it would be fun to frame this one out with a fabric banding.
I made the banding on this pillow 1" wide and I placed it along the crown of the pillow so it would be completely visible.   Follow along as I show you how to make and apply fabric banding.

What you'll need:
1 yard of fabric for the pillow cover
1 yard of contrasting fabric for the banding
matching thread

This pillow is 24"x24"

Step 1.  Cutting-Cut pillow front 25"x25",  Cut pillow back 26"x26", Cut 2 bias strips that are 2" wide.  Cut your bias strips twice the width of your finished banding.
  Instructions for cutting bias strips can be found here. http://sew-passionate.blogspot.com/2012/01/easy-bias-strips-and-covered-welt-cord.html

Step 2.  Preparing banding- After stitching your bias strips together, press the seams open.  Press up 1/2" along the long edge of your bias strip.
Now press the other raw edge to meet up with the first.
Step 3.  Banding placement-  I pinned  my dog silhouette to the front of my fill to find the "crown" of my pillow fill.  The "crown" is the part of the pillow that is flat and can be seen when looking at the pillow from the front.  I marked the crown edge with a couple pins.
Then I measured to see how far from the outer edge I needed to mark for my banding.  In my case it was 3 1/2" from the raw edge.  Using sewing chalk or a pencil, draw a placement line 3 1/2" in all the way around your pillow front .
Step 4.  Stitching the Banding to the Pillow-  I always start at the bottom right corner when adding banding to a pillow.  Place a pin in the exact corner of your placement line.  Cut the end of your bias strip straight across and place the edge right in the corner.  Top stitch along the outer edge of the banding with the banding barely over your placement line.

Before you get to the next corner, place a pin in the exact corner.  This helps mark exactly where your sewing machine needle will go down  and where you will pivot your pillow to turn the corner.
Top stitch all the way up to your pin without crossing it.  Pause with your needle down, lift your presser foot, pivot your pillow, and  lower the presser foot again.
Continue top stitching and turning corners this way until you are approaching the final corner where you started stitching.  Pause a few inches from the final corner with your needle down and cut the end of your bias strip off 1//8" past the corner.
Tuck this 1/8" under and top stitch to the corner taking a few back stitches to secure and end your stitching.
Push this top layer of banding out of the way and begin top stitching the inner edge of your banding.
Before you reach the first corner, again, pause with your needle down.  Push the banding over to the left, then fold the left banding over the it forming a miter.  You may need to fold more under to form a perfect miter in the corner.  Put a pin through the 2 layers at the corner to keep it secure until you stitch around the corner.
Stitch up to the corner, leave needle down, lift presser foot, pivot around corner, lower presser foot and continue stitching around the other two corners this way.
When you approach the final corner, pause with the needle down.  Keeping the 1/8" folded under, fold the end under diagonally forming the final mitered corner.  You might have to put more pins in this one to keep the end secure until you stitch it.  Back stitch to secure.  With needle down in the inside corner, pivot pillow again and top stitch along the diagonal part of the mitered end.  This keeps it secure and flat.

I always go around and stitch the rest of  miters to keep them flat.

Step 5.  Pillow construction-  You can find the remaining instructions here:   http://sew-passionate.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-sew-basic-pillow.html

Fabric banding is a fairly easy detail that you can add to any of your pillows to give them a custom look.  I always cut mine on the bias because they tend to lay flatter and turn corners better than if they were cut on the straight grain.  
What will you do with Fabric Banding?
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and stay tuned for more Custom Tutorials.
Pin It

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Linen Pillow with Added Flat Flange

A few months back one of my designers found a really cute wood sofa that just needed a little re-styling.  She painted the wood frame black and bought some linen fabric to redo the seat and back cushions.  She also wanted two rectangle end pillows for the arms.  We decided to do an added flange instead of welt around her cushions.  They came out so stinking cute!  Unfortunately this was before I started this blog, so I don't have pictures of the finished sofa with the seat and back cushions.  But  recently she called to say she needed me to make the arm pillows a little bigger.  I was happy to oblige her and thought this would be a perfect time for an added flat flange tutorial.  So follow along as I re-make these arm pillows for her adorable wood sofa.

As I said, she used 100% linen!  After much discussion and factoring in that she has several dogs that she has rescued over the years and they LOVE to take full advantage of her comfy furniture, we decided it was best to pre-shrink the linen.  This way she can take the cushion covers off and throw them through the wash.  We also discussed the fact that all the wrinkles from washing might not press out.  She was OK with this possibility.  Turns out we both loved the look with the wrinkles.  It gave the cushions a more relaxed and natural feel.  Here's a picture of the finished pillow.  I took pictures of it with some of my pillows since I wouldn't have an opportunity to snap pictures of it on her sofa.

So the new arm pillows I made were to finish at 23 1/2"x17 1/2" with an added 1/2" flat flange.
I cut my fronts 24 1/2"x18 1/2" to allow for a 1/2" seam allowance.
I cut my backs 25 1/2"x19 1/2" ( I always cut my backs 1" larger than my fronts.
For the 1/2" flat flanges I cut my fabric on the bias.  I cut my bias strips 2" wide.  You can find instructions for bias strips here:  http://sew-passionate.blogspot.com/2012/01/easy-bias-strips-and-covered-welt-cord.html
Just make sure you cut these bias strips 2" instead of the 1 5/8" for covered welt.
Step1.  Flat Flange
Once your bias strips are cut and sewn together, fold them in half along the long edge and press.  Pin every 6-8".
Starting at the center bottom of the pillow front, pin the flange to the pillow.  When you get the the corner fold under 1/2" just short of the corner by 1/2".  Clip into the seam allowance of the flange and pivot around the corner and form another 1/2" fold under.  This forms what is called a butterfly corner.
Continue pinning the flange in this manner all the way around your pillow front.
Cut the ending flange edge 1/2" past the center of the pillow allowing for a 1/2" seam to join the 2 edges.  Unfold and open up the flange and stitch this small seam.
Finger press the seam open and fold the flange in half again, pin to pillow front.  Stitch all around the 4 sides of the pillow, pivoting at the corners.
Step 2.  Zipper
You can find the instructions for attaching the zipper in this tutorial: http://sew-passionate.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-sew-basic-pillow.html

Step 3.  Clip, Turn and Stuff
Clip the corners diagonally 1/8" away from the stitching.
Turn your pillow right side out and press.
Stuff with your pillow fill, pushing the seam allowances towards the back of the pillow.  This makes the flange stand up more.
Aren't the butterfly corners cute!  They're even cuter on the boxed cushions that were made for the sofa because the boxing makes them stick out more.  Next time I swing by this designers house, I'll have to snap a few pictures so you can really get the look of this sofa and pillows.  The wrinkles of the linen turned out to work with the look.  She actually preferred the look of the linen with the wrinkles and  I have to agree with her, the wrinkled linen did have a really neat look to it. Pin It

Easy Bolster with Gathered Ends and Covered Button

Bolsters make great decorative pillows for chairs, sofas and beds.  There's so many different elements that you can add to make them eye catching.  The options are endless.....Contrasting banding, trim, ruffles, shirring, and buttons are just a few.  Today I'm sharing a fairly easy one that looks a little fancy, but really it's one of the easiest to make.
This bolster measures 29" x 9".
What you'll need:  bolster fill (either foam, polyfil or down), 1 1/2 yards of fabric, 1 zipper, 2 buttons, thread, 2 yards of welt cord, tufting needle (or large needle), tufting cord or very strong thread.

To cut the main piece of fabric for this pillow, take the diameter of your pillow x pi, in this case 9x3.14=28 1/4".  This is the circumference.  Add seam and zipper flap allowance of 1 1/2", so 29 1/2" is what it will take to go around the pillow with a zipper.
Since my pillow is 29" long, we will add 1/2" seam allowances.  So my first cut is 30 x 29 1/2".

Our next cuts will be the end pieces.  They are just long rectangle pieces that are gathered up in the center.  Our diameter is 9", divided in half= 4 1/2".Add 1/2" seam allowance and 1" hem allowance(just to be safe)=6" this is the width of our 2 gathered piece cuts.
So we cut 2 pieces at circumference plus 1"= 29 1/2" x 6"

Cut 2 scrap pieces 1 1/8" wide x 4" long.  These will be your zipper stops.
Cut 2 yards worth of bias strips for the covered welt.  You can find the instructions for this here:  http://sew-passionate.blogspot.com/2012/01/easy-bias-strips-and-covered-welt-cord.html

The very first thing I always do when I make a pillow is serge the edges of the fabric that will be sewn along the zipper.  This ensured you will never have frayed edges and string getting caught in your zipper.  So serge the edges that are 30" long.
The first step in constructing this bolster is the zipper.  I use zipper by the yard.  Here's a great source for zipper by the yard.
<iframe src="http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=sewpass-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B003JNZOGA&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>

You can use a regular zipper and still follow the same directions, it's just a lot easier when you use zipper by the yard.

Step 1.  Zipper
With a 1/2" folded under, stitch a zipper stop to the end of your zipper.  Stitch along both sides of the zipper teeth as close to the zipper teeth as possible.

Lay one of the serged edges of your main pillow piece on top of the zipper aligning the edges.  Stitch along this edge along the zipper teeth stopping short about 5-6" from the other end.

Take your second zipper stop and line it up with the second end, fold 1/2" under and see where you need to cut the extra zipper off.  You want the zipper to lay under the zipper stop by at least 1/2".  Cut excess zipper off.
With 1/2" folded under, lay the zipper stop over the end of the zipper and then align the serged edge and stitch the last 5-6".  Turn it right side facing up and this is what it should look like.
Extend the fabric over the zipper teeth and crease with your fingers.  Stitch with your zipper foot on the left side of the zipper to form the zipper flap.
If using zipper by the yard, separate your zipper slightly and attach the zipper slide.
Stitch the remaining serged edge to the other side of the zipper, as close to the zipper teeth as possible, making sure the zipper flap is pushed out of the way.

Step2.  Welt
  With the raw edges lined up, lay the beginning edge of your welt to the main pillow piece where the zipper is.  Extend the welt 1/2" past the zipper and sew all the way around the end of the bolster, stopping a few inches from the starting point.
Fold the end of your welt 1/2" past the beginning edge and cut like this:
Using your scissors open up a couple inches of the welt seam to expose the welt.
 Fold 1/2' up on the ending edge of the welt and lay the beginning welt edge over it.
Clip the excess exposed welt so that they butt up against each other.

Fold opened welt fabric over the cut edges of the welt cord and stitch the final 2-3 inches.  Repeat on the other end.
Step3.  Bolster Ends
Serge one long edge of each of the bolster end pieces.  Then with right sides together lay the unserged edge over your end with the welt cord folding up 1/2".  Stitch getting as close to the welt as possible without running over it with your needle.
When you've stitched all the way around, simply overlap the ending raw edge over the beginning folded edge.
Repeat this on the other end of your bolster.

Step 4. Gathering Ends
In my original measurements, I allowed for a 1" hem along the serged edge of the end of the bolster.  Insert your bolster fill and check to make sure the strip will join in the middle of the round part when 1" hem is folded under.  If so, press up 1" fold all along this serged edge of the fabric.

Fold and pin the overlapped ends like this:
Using Strong thread and a needle, on the right side of this pressed hem, hand stitch in and out using a running stitch.  Make sure you have a large knot at the end.  Spacing your hand stitches about 1/2" apart, stitch all the way around and pass the beginning by a couple stitches.

Step 5.  Covered Button
Since I used a heavy velvet fabric for my pillow, I decided to use a lighter weight complimentary fabric for my button.  Thick heavy fabrics do not work well for covered buttons.  Lay your button front on a scrap piece of fabric and draw a circle that is 1/2"-5/8" bigger all the way around.  Cut 2 of these circles out of your scraps.
With needle and thread, do a running stitch all around the edge of the circle of fabric just like you did with the end of your bolster.  Again overlap by a few stitches and pull the thread to gather the circle up over your button front.  Keep this thread pulled taught.
Snap the back of your button onto the backside of your button front.

Step 6.  Tufting
If you don't want to bother tufting your pillow ends, you could just hand stitch the buttons on the ends of your bolster.  But I think the ends look way cooler when they are tufted and the buttons recede into the pillow a little.
I use a tufting needle.  Tufting needles can be purchased at most upholstery supply stores and they come in different lengths.  Mine is 18" long.  It should be registered as a lethal weapon because it is sharp!  So I'm always very careful with it and the minute I am done with it, I stick the sharp end into a wine cork.
Tufting needles have a large eye.  Here's a closer picture.

I use tufting cord.  Tufting cord is woven in such a way that once you pull on it to knot it, the twine locks on itself.  You don't have to use tufting cord, but make sure you use a VERY strong thread or cord.
Measure out enough tufting cord to more than double the length of your bolster.  Fold the cord in half and knot the folded end to your first button.
Thread the cut ends of your tufting cord into your tufting needle.  Find the center of your bolster end and poke your threaded needle through the end of your bolster fill.  Push it as far as you can into the pillow without the eye of the needle going through yet.
Now unzip your pillow and using a seam ripper or a small pair of scissors open up a small section of the seam of your fill.  I used a down feather fill, so I had to do this very gently to ensure a bazillion feathers did not end up all over.
Carefully stick your hand in this opening and find your tufting needle and feed it the remaining length of your pillow, making sure you have the needle exiting the center of the end.  Once you have your needle through to the other side, close your fill back up before attaching the last button.  Hand stitch the seam closed where you opened it up.  Zip your pillow back up and then attach your last button with a double knot pulling the buttons in as far as you like.  You might want to knot it a third time if you are not using tufting thread just to make sure this knot never comes lose.  Clip the tufting thread ends and you're done!
Not so hard huh?!

Pin It