03 October, 2011

Bringing Autumn in

Autumn has arrived, and what better way to celebrate than bringing it indoors? I purchased three 22" pillows at the second hand shop, with no other idea in mind than to decorate with them, and that's just what I did!

I hadn't had any inspiration jump out at me until recently on Pinterest when people started pinning these cute scrap pillows!

These cute pillows were done by Allison over at Cluck Cluck Sew
She offers a tutorial (and there's even a pattern) but I didn't know that until after I had made my pillow.

 I basically just looked at the photo and said, "YES!" then ran off to collect the supplies I'd need to make it on my own. Even when I was little I've always been the one to try to figure something out without reading the directions... much to my piano teachers' chagrin. In that respect, I am sooo like my mom, God rest her soul.

I was in Cork on Monday and dropped by Hickey's Fabrics just for a look around, when I spotted quilt batting. My mind was made up. I had to make my pillow look all quilty. As soon as I got home from Cork on Monday I ran up to my sewing room and locked myself in for the next 3-4 hours measuring, cutting, stitching, arranging... until it was complete! I must say, I am pretty pleased with the result.

First, I ironed and cut out my white fabric (which I had already pre-washed, ages ago, and which is actually off-white/cream) for the background of the design/the front of the pillow. After that, I cut out the quilt batting about 1/2" all the way around and pinned it to the white fabric.
What followed, ladies and gentlemen, was so fun. I should preface by saying I've never really played with free-motion sewing until recently, but my oh my it was a blast!! I "stippled" the entire front of my pillow. Last week I read this tutorial on how to free-motion quilt and I was inspired. You could say that that tutorial was partly what inspired the look of my pillow... I love the internet sometimes.
My stippling definitely looked better toward the end, after I had gotten the hang of it. My stitches evened out and I started to really "get" how to move the fabric.

Once the front was all done, I laid the whole piece flat on the floor and started cutting out leaves from felt, cotton, and flannel to make up the top of my tree. I cut out one leaf freehand (out of felt), then used it as a template for the rest of the leaves. I placed them as they were cut out - I didn't have any real pattern of colors or anything. When I felt like I had enough leaves, I stood up and looked at it, rearranged some of the leaves, then pinned everything down.

Then, since stippling the background was so much fun, I decided to go ahead and practice my free-motion sewing on all the leaves and the trunk. I can't say it's perfect, but on the other hand, that was certainly not the point. I wanted to give it a bit of a whimsical feeling. I even "carved" our initials into the trunk!
I used different colors of thread on different colors of leaves (yellow leaves got orange or red thread, etc) to add a little dimension to the tree.
After I had sewn everything down, I cut the batting (and everything overhanging the white fabric) to fit the original measurements and sewed on the back cover. I was silly and forgot to think about cutting my stripes to match - but hey! I made the back cover out of an old, unloved curtain and used the original hems to save myself a little work.
Hooray for upcycling.

The end result? The perfect autumn accessory, and I'm sure, something I'll pull out year after year.

What are you crafting this season?


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