Tulip pillow, and more pillows!

Here is my Jessica Jones, Outside Oslo pillow, with orange piping. I’ve been in a sewing frenzy the last few weeks–all thanks to my magical zipper foot. I was so inspired by Margaret’s beautiful piping that I finally gave the foot a whirl. I also made these cushions using Marimeko fabric, and brown piping.

Fireworks Pillow

Is there a support group for people with a pillow problem? I made more. I confess. But I couldn’t help it. Inspired by Brigit’s post about Jessica Jones’s Outside Oslo fabric line, I ordered a couple of yards (but I chose her Amusement Park line instead).  You can buy the fabric at JCaroline Home. Or, better yet, you can order a chair cover made of Jessica Jones fabric that fits the IKEA Poang chair. Which seriously tempts me. Even though I’ve sworn off IKEA after its insidious circular floor plan left me on the brink of psychological breakdown. So no Poang for me! Even with the nifty chair cover.

VW Bug Pillow

Tell the truth: are you focusing on the VW bug pillow or are you coveting the vinyl chair held together with lime green duct tape? Sorry, but it’s a one-of-a-kind treasure that only the luckiest few can possess.

Summertime may not be optimal for freezer paper stencils–using an iron in 90-degree heat can be a wilting experience. But well worth it, of course. (Here are step-by-step instructions.) This VW bug pillow follows the VW bus pillowcases I made earlier this year in a series I’m now calling Vehicles I Have Known and Loved.

For the VW bug pillow, I used a pattern for an envelope enclosure. Beige linen in the front, groovy cotton print in the back, and orange piping.

Next up for the vehicle stencil series is the true love of my childhood . . . the 1974 mini Winnie (that’s Winnebago, for the uninitiated). Long before I grew up to own a vinyl chair, I longed for this camper.


One-Hour Pillow and Other (Small) Adventures

I curbed my craftiest ambitions this week after one of the fabric-painted robot tees that I made last week emerged from the washer: a smudged, sorry schmatte. What happened? I swear I followed directions (I think). And still here is this mottled t-shirt-now-dust rag. Tragedy. Or at least, very minor disappointment.  

Moving on: I’ve been meaning to make a pillow cover with some of this flower print I bought at a yard sale. I had a 22 x 22″ pillow insert, low goals, and about one hour, so I stuck with an envelope-style enclosure. I (more or less) followed the instructions at Cottage Magpie, which I thought were very good with excellent, helpful photos. I’m actually really proud of the piping (which I bought pre-made–so why the pride?). But the piping was fun to sew (zipper foot!) and it gives the pillow its essential pillowness, I think.

My other small adventure: sewing covers for the ugly blue mattress and pillow that came with the IKEA doll bed I bought for my neice and nephew. (Why does IKEA favor retina-searing shades of blue?) I also sewed a doll blanket to go on top. (For Boston locals: I bought the big polka-dot print from Fabric Corner, a sewing shop on the corner of Mass Ave. & Mill Street in Arlington, which has a lovely fabric selection & kind, friendly staff.) Following Brigit’s doll quilt post, I just sewed regular seams and turned inside out (although I added a layer of quilt batting and didn’t do the quilter’s knots).


But my biggest–and tiniest–achievement of the week? Figuring out how to do that tricky little stitch to close up seams. The stitch is sometimes called an invisible stitch, which makes it impossible to visualize, right? Whereas when the stitch is called a ladder stitch (visual here), it loses all its terrible mystery and becomes possible, and really not that hard.

Freezer Paper Stencils: VW Bus Pillowcases

Punch buggy. (Or in this case, Punch bus.) Spring is here & so is the VW bus parked outside my house. (The sign in the window says: Hippies Use Backdoor.)

So in honor of the reappearance of spring and VW buses, I decided to give some old white pillowcases new life. Plus I wanted to make something for my 11-year-old who is easily embarrassed by T-shirts proclaiming anything, let alone T-shirts homemade by his mother, so I figured pillowcases were a safe zone, free from 5th grade peer review.

I cut a stencil on freezer paper from an image of a VW bus that I downloaded online. As I’ve mentioned before, freezer paper stencils are wicked easy & satisfying. Here is the complete how-to. To trim the pillowcases, I bought a half a yard of Happy Camper fabric from the Monaluna Circa 60 Beach Mod line for Birch Fabrics (available at Fabricworm). I should’ve bought a yard, but I was too cheap ($8.25 for half a yard!). It’s organic, alas.

 (The print is darker than how it appears on Fabricworm.)

No room for error. The pressure was on! I sewed the fabric directly onto the existing pillow trim (I split the seam for the trim–but not the rest of the pillowcase–to make it easier to sew). For the edge that you see on the outside of the pillowcase, I folded 1/4″ of the fabric, ironed, and sewed as close to the edge as I could. For the hem inside of the pillowcase, I folded 1/4″ over twice to completely encase the raw edge. Not sure if this is the best way to add trim, but it looks decent and adds a pleasing weight to the end of the pillow.