Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Making an Accent Pillow with a Small Hand Printed Fabric Swatch

After working on greeting cards all week I was anxious to do some creative work that did not involve the computer. These days, that usually means sewing. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I've been wanting to do something with my green and white hand-printed fabric swatch. I decided to try to make a fairly short and slim table runner, which would save plenty of the original swatch in the event I wanted to eventually make placemats to match. I wanted to create a border around the hand-printed swatch with this really lovely handkerchief weight linen I had on hand. Unfortunately, like many of my projects it seems, I just could not get the runner to work to my satisfaction. The edges just would not lie flat. Perhaps that is an unavoidable quality of fabric, particularly linen, but when I'm trying to make a product that I would like to sell, I become more than a little picky.

So, in the heat of the moment, I cut the table runner in half, creating two approximately 16" squares that I hoped I could make two 14" accent pillows out of.

Here is pillow No. 1!

I'm basically happy with this effort. The pillow has both a mid-century modern and a country cottage look, giving it a very versatile appeal! The printed pattern was created using the largest stamp in my Modern Flowers stamp set. Sadly, that set is now sold out but I still have many other sets for your printing pleasure! In fact, I have a Mother's Day sale going on, if you need a last minute gift!

I think the linen, with it's high contrast light and dark threads, works well. And, what nice pointy corners this pillow has!

The pillowcase is backed in a deep impossible-to-photograph forest green cotton/linen. It has an envelope closure, which is not floppy and loose as this type of closure can sometimes be. Happy with that! Could not deal with a zipper this time around.

Even the inside is nice, with it's peachy "tea stained" muslin lining. I won't go into a full tutorial, but I used the "string quilting" method I talked about once before. Also used my fancy french seams from my dopp kit tutorial, so no interior raw edges! That is the forest green linen folded over to the inside to create the lovely and fully functioning envelope closure. All nice and tidy. 

You can see the inside front here and see where I "string quilted" the main center hand-printed fabric panel to the middle of the inner lining. Then, the linen panels were placed on either side, stitched and then top-stitched. 

But isn't there always something to ruin all the fun? In my haste and frustration with the original table runner project, I forgot that the printed swatches would need to be centered both down the middle (which I did) and top to bottom (which I did not do). I was so excited that they cut up into two even squares that were large enough to do something with that I didn't even think about it. But you can see that the top is ending with the dark green row of "flowers" and the bottom is ending with a light green row. It is still very even, in it's own way, but I'm trying to decide if this would bother some paying customer. These are the issues that, sadly, keep projects out of my shop.

But I hope that you, my faithful blog reader, will take something from this project. First of all, be careful every step of the way! Second, and probably more important, is that you can really make a statement with a small fabric swatch! It could be fabric that is hand-printed, antique or vintage, or perhaps a swatch saved from that favorite dress you had when you were young. The swatch used in this one pillow is only 6" wide x 16" long. If you were hand-printing, that would take no time at all!

I'll sleep on it (not actually ON the pillow), but this one just might make it because it's so spiffy! What's your opinion?

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