Monday, July 2, 2012

DIY Throw Pillows

Recently, I became obsessed with whites. White walls, white floors, white lights, white accent pieces...the list goes on. I am inspired by the ambient settings found in such places like the picturesque scenes in the Pottery Barn magazine.

I used to think whites were so blah, until I realized how they could bring a room together; making me feel calm, serene, collected, and peaceful.  I knew I had to bring white into our living room, and since we painted less than a year ago, that was out of the question for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to paint a room, but I hate to waste money on something that’s been done so recently.
Then, it hit me!  I had wanted new pillows for a long time but never found any I liked.  I thought I wanted browns and oranges, but this was the perfect place for me to bring in white!  I searched so much for pillows in my original colors of brown and orange without luck that I decided not to even attempt to look for white pillows.  I knew I wanted to make them.

The end product.

How did I do it?!
Finding the perfect fabric is so important to me.  I am all about texture.  I love the way leather feels cool when you first touch it, the softness of a chenille blanket wrapped around my feet at night, worn wood of a coffee table that’s been saturated in natural oils, the coarse grains of burlap wake me up, and the perfect amount of silkiness in Sateen Beech sheets put me to sleep.  I needed something just perfect for me.  I found muslin.  I hadn’t worked with this fabric before and really enjoyed the soft feel of its natural, earthy, texture.  I purchased a 2 yards of “whites”:  ecru and natural. 

I really love 3D flower patterns on pieces  The wedding dress I dreamed of getting a few years ago had the entire bottom covered in big modern flowers.  I settled for a less modern look and think it worked out well!
Back to the pillows…

I kept seeing the pretty flower patterns from designs on Pinterest and knew I wanted to make a large flower on one pillow.  I also wanted to make two more pillows.  I started off with ruffles and writing.  I wanted to write on one and put lines of ruffles on the other.  I took to my sewing machine.

After finishing the ruffled pillow and showing it to my husband, I decided to scrap that idea since it really didn’t fit our joint style at all.  My husband is very modern so I drew up a picture of chevron print, to which he approved.

Here’s how I did the 3 pillows.

Pillow 1:  Flower

1.      Measure the pillow size you want (I went off an existing pillow I was going to cover) and cut 2 pieces of equal sized fabric leaving about ½ in on each side for stitching and any mistakes.

2.      Sew your zipper if you would like to use one for easy cleaning, if you don’t want a zipper then skip along to the next step.

3.      Cut 20-30 three inch diameter circles and 20-30 two inch diameter circles.  I traced the bottom and top of a glass onto my fabric and cut the circles out individually.

4.      In the center of one of your pillow fabric pieces trace a circle.  I used a plate.

5.      Fold your large circles in half, even make a little tuck if you want for depth (see picture) and pin in place.  Do this around the entire circle to make your first row of petals.  Sew with your machine using the basic stitch.

6.     Place more of your large circles folded in half inside your sewn in circle of petals’.  Keep doing that and gradually move to the smaller circles you cut.

7.      To Sew your pillow together, pin it inside-out and use a basic stitch around the edges of the 2 fabrics, leave an opening to hand stitch after putting in your stuffing if you did not insert a zipper.
FINISHED!  Now you have a beautiful flower pillow!

Pillow 2 – Chevron

1.      Follow steps 1 & 2 above.

2.      Iron Under Wonder, a fabric adhesive, to the fabric you want as your chevron color.

3.      Freehand draw or use a pattern to make zig-zags aka chevrons on your fabric.  You can write directly on the under wonder.

4.      Cut your chevrons and peel the Under Wonder paper off your fabric.  Your fabric should be slightly sticky or shiny pending on the Under Wonder you used.

5.      Space your chevrons on your pillow and simply iron them in place when you have them set.

6.      Sew your pillow together as described in step 8 above.
FINISHED. Now you have an awesome chevron pillow!

Pillow 3 – Words

1.      Follow steps 1 & 2 from your flower pillow.

2.      In Microsoft Word, type out what you would like to have on your pillow.  Print that.  I used words from our wedding vows!

3.      Place your print under your fabric.  If your fabric is light, and you can see your words, proceed to trace them.  If it is not, you can try putting white graphite paper under your printed paper and trace that directly onto your fabric.  I know this works for dark wood signs, not sure if it’s the same on fabric….
4.      Sew your fabric up as described in step 8 from your flower pillow.

5.      Now you have pillow with whatever saying you would like!

If sewing intimidates you, you can easily do pillows 2 & 3 without having to thread a needle.  All you need is some pre made pillow cases, extra fabric and under wonder for the chevron pillow and a fabric pen found at many craft stores for the words pillow!
Give it a try!  Dream big and make something you will cherish in your home.

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