Beautiful bohemian pillows: Tutorial!

5.31.2011

I've shared inspiration and ideas before from Anthropologie and other places for beautiful work-of-art pillows--so small, but they have such an effect on a room!

When I was in a productive, scrap-busting mood the other day I made a couple of Anthro-ey pillows from my pile of pretty-colored scraps.  I did a tutorial for the Orimono pillow a while ago, and am happy to share another tutorial for a pretty appliqué one!

Here's the inspiration:

And here's a tutorial to do this yourself!

  • Collect your pretty fabric scraps and leftover pieces...
  • Cut a square 1" bigger than your pillow in both width and length.  I like my pillow covers to fit snugly, so for my 18" pillow I cut a 19" square.
  • Cut out shapes that you want to appliqué on.  This rose print was a lovely home dec silk that my mom made a dress for me out of years ago.  I still have the scraps and was able to put them to good use!  I didn't have enough full roses to do more than one or two big stems, but I framed the pillow using the edge pieces and made a nice border out of it.  Arrange the shapes as you like.
  • Pin your shapes down.  Lots of pins!  You could use spray adhesive on the back of the fabric first in lieu of pins, but I didn't feel like going outside to spray...


  • Note: My pillow fabric, that woven stripe, was rather thin, so I reinforced it with a layer of quilting fabric I didn't want.  You can use muslin or whatever you like, but this extra layer will make your pillow last much longer.


  • To the machine!  Sew your shapes down.  I recommend a zigzag stitch.  Go all the way around your appliqués.


  • Great!  Now, you'll be ready to put on the zipper and attach to the back side of the pillow, if you have it done.  Again you'll need a square 1" bigger than your pillow form, and you can choose to make it plain or fancy.  I wanted to maximize my pillow stylings since I don't have room for lots of pillows but I did want to try out multiple Anthro pillow looks, so I did a fancy back.  I'll show you a tutorial for it soon!
  • Attach your zipper.  I'm using an invisible zipper.


  •  Open the zipper a few inches so you can reach your hand through, and sew the other three sides of the pillow.


  •  Clip your corners...


  • Press the three side seams flat, as much as you can.


  •  Turn right side out, and put on pillow!


As I said, tutorial for the back side (and for other super cool pillow styles) coming up soon!

Summery weekend! Farmer's market and Anthro inspiration...

5.28.2011

Happy Memorial Day weekend!
Hope you're all having a good holiday weekend.  It's been beautiful here during sunbreaks, then it rains... but this is still sort of the unofficial start of summer!  So I've been enjoying it as such.

The farmer's market in my hometown has begun already, and I'm out visiting my parents today to work on wedding dress stuff.  My mom picked up some lovely things at the farmer's market this morning...
Have you ever had fresh, seasonal asparagus?  It is unlike anything else... I've heard asparagus is really only in season for two short windows in the spring, and the stuff you get at the grocery store is just a replica.  Not like these fresh, tender little stalks... we ate them fresh chopped up in a salad!  So tasty!
It's also a good weekend to think about my summer wardrobe.  My mom just got some new fabric that reminded me of an Anthro dress from last summer, so we went to their website to explore.  And I found all these lovely pieces I hadn't seen yet... it's been a while since I drooled over their website.  How about some of these dresses...
LOVE this ivory/aqua one.  Maybe something I could wear to my rehearsal dinner...

And these lovely tops!!

These two could be upcycled from vintage table linens...
 The little chambray top is so cute!!

Aaaaah.... summery.  Anthropologie love.  What are your faves this season??

What are you doing to celebrate this weekend?  Hope you are having a good one!

Sewing Circle: Make your own swimsuit

5.27.2011

Hi, readers!
I can tell you're getting ready for summer--I got this Sewing Circle question from a reader the other day!

Here's the question from Sarah K.:

Q:  I have been sewing off and on for a few years so I'm pretty comfortable doing complex things, but I don't draft my own patterns. Recently I have been looking for patterns for bathing suits and haven't been able to any. I was just wondering if you knew of any out there, or could give tips on drafting my own pattern (outside of using an existing suit).

A: Great question, Sarah!  Most of the big pattern companies don't have many swimwear patterns.  I did some searching and found some, but also keep in mind what you'll need to make a good swimsuit.  The fabrics and materials you use really matter.  You'll need:
  • Ballpoint needle (size 11 is a good general-purpose size)--slides between the fibers rather than breaking them--important on knits
  • Stretchy fabric (swimwear stretch or lightweight other)
  • Nude tricot lining
  • Thin swimwear elastic (usually 1/4" wide)
  • Coordinating nylon thread
  • Depending on the style, a bra hook closure set
  • (Optional): Bra cup pads or underwires if applicable, also sold at JoAnn, etc.
Here are some of the cutest!

BurdaStyle has several super cute ones, some of them free!

These are all Kwik Sew, from Fabric.Com (and all under $10!):

I also found these Kwik-Sew patterns on PatternReview, for under $12:

I also found this blog tutorial for a simple bikini!  If you want to try your hand at sewing on swimsuit spandex  without dealing with a pattern to start out with:

And of course, if you don't like any of the patterns that are meant for swimwear, you can always adapt an underwear pattern and bra pattern.  Those aren't a walk in the park to find, either, but BurdaStyle has some of those too.

Hope that helps, Sarah!

Readers, what tips do you have for Sarah?  Have you found any great swimsuit patterns?  Have you had success or struggles making your own swimsuit??
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