Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pleated Pillowcase Skirt

It started with another garage sale pillowcase...

... and ended with some red one-inch squares leftover from my cathedral window quilt. I ripped out the pillowcase edge and set it aside for the waistband. The skirt is constructed from the remainder of the pillowcase slit open lengthwise. The buttonhole maker on my sewing machine no longer catches the feed dogs, so I had to get creative with snap and hook & eye placement. I think I'll wear this to Fourth celebrations! I'm not usually one for high waists and tulip shapes, but this is quite nice. :-)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pleated Evangeline Apron

God bless the Frist Museum! I've gone thrice now for inspiration, and every time I go it takes a bit to recover from the sensory overload!

Here are a few pics from my sketch book.

A note on sketching: one of my friends commented how she'd like to learn to sketch. I told her what I learned in art education classes, that everyone can sketch, draw, paint, sculpt (and dance and sing, for that matter!) but too often we compare our work to others' or whatever we consider idealized, and we don't realize that EVERY person has an individualized style. We cut ourselves short because we see ourselves as flawed when in reality we are working in our own personal style.

Inspired by the techniques seen at the Frist, I started playing with pleats and came up with an apron/pinafore for Evangeline.

I used my bias maker for the first time! I also used scraps from one of the fat quarters I received in Sew, Mama, Sew's fat quarter swap! I used a scrap of muslin, ironed it into half-inch pleats, then sewed the top edge in place. Next I made bias tape and covered/topstitched it over the raw edges. Finally I made a sash, pinned and sewed it, then fitted the straps and sewed in place. I am looking forward to many more fashion experiments inspired by the couture exhibit, both for me and for Evangeline!

Bells and Whistles Muslin Dress

I made a version of Simplicity 2363 and I looooove it! (Lots of other people do, too! Got lots of compliments the first time I wore it and surprised many people that I made it!)

The above photo was included to show the fit, though the details are washed-out

I didn't have fusible interfacing, so I basted a layer of lining into the bodice. The rest of the garment is made of pre-washed unbleached muslin with vintage trims at the sleeves and hem. I did not make the neckline as deep as the pattern called for, nor the sleeves quite so long. I took an extra snippet of lace and zigzag stitched it in place as if it were a locket or brooch. After trying on the dress, I realized I'd prefer it cinched at the sides, so I ripped an inch of side seams and added in one-inch wide "ties", except they snap closed instead of tying. I also made the hem much deeper than usual--about four and a half inches were folded up, pintucked because of the A-line, and stitched under one of the trims. I call it "Bells and Whistles" because of all the little additions that gussy up an otherwise ordinary fabric!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quilt Tops

The following is a reference photo for my trees baby quilt. I still need to cut five white rectangles and sew many seams, but I needed to see it all laid out, and I thought you'd like to see it, too! (I stood on a chair to take this picture, so the perspective makes it look off-kilter.)

On the other end of the spectrum, I have finished the top for Anna's Maverick Stars! Not surprisingly, it came together quickly since it's my first foray into machine piecing. Each center square is eight inches wide.

I think I will call it "Anna's Throwing Stars" because it will look sweet thrown over a chair or thrown around shoulders when you snuggle up for a movie. Next step is basting together the layers and start (hand) quilting!

Monday, June 21, 2010

What To Wear?

Poor dolly! Evangeline finally has something to cover her muslin nakedness.

Created from three pieces of white floral print: dress (top of sleeves on fold), front neckline facing, back neckline facing. Sage satin ribbon from my stash.

And I put some garage sale finds to work! Presenting the Two Pillowcase Twirly Skirt (with side pocket!)

Pocket side

Twirly photo taken with Photobooth(R)

I sliced each pillowcase lengthwise and sewed them into one giant rectangle. Then I chopped off the top, turned down a channel for 1-inch elastic and inserted. Using a piece of the leftover fabric, I made a pocket and sewed it into the open side--my first pocket!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lumbar Support Pillow and Cover Tutorial

For Father's Day I made a lumbar support pillow and cover. From start to finish, I took three hours. Hopefully you can do this quicker!


  • Foam pool noodle, about 2.5 inches in diameter
  • Small saw or bread knife
  • Batting (I used leftover poly) cut in two 28x9 inch pieces
  • Muslin square (or other fabric you don't mind getting rid of), 15 inches long/wide
  • Cover fabric (I used wool suiting): one 20x22 inch rectangle and two 3x36 inch rectangles
  • Three-quarter inch elastic in two 18.5 inch pieces
  • Odd scraps of fusible interfacing
  • Odd scraps of fabric for decoration
  • Notions: rotary cutter, self-healing mat, ruler, scissors, needle/thread, iron, sewing machine, straight and safety pins, stickers or tailor's chalk (optional)
Notions and decorative fabrics

Cover fabric, elastic, muslin, batting, fusible interfacing, foam pool noodle and saw

Lumbar Support Pillow Instructions

1. Using the saw, cut two nine-inch pieces off your foam noodle. Brush the "crumbs" off the ends and set aside.

2. Measure and cut your batting rectangles. Precision is not required :-)

3. Roll your noodle pieces in batting. If rolled tightly, no adhesive is needed.

Rolled noodle diameter recommended by my favorite licensed massage therapist

Perfect pairing not necessary!

4. Fold your square of muslin in half and sew two sides closed, leaving one open, creating 1/2 inch seams. Turn out.

5. Slip your batting-covered noodles into the pouch. Noodles ought to have some "wiggle room".

6. Turn down the top of the muslin pouch and pin closed.

7. Stitch the opening closed with noodles inside.

Congratulations! You have a lumbar support pillow!

Lumbar Pillow Cover Instructions

1. Iron scraps of fusible interfacing onto the fabric pieces you want for your design.

2. With the long side horizontal, turn the top edge of your pillow cover down about 1.5 inches and pin in place. Turn the lower edge up about 1 inch and pin in place. Wrap your cover around your pillow creating an envelope edge at the bottom. Flip over.

3. Mark the edges of where you want your design. I used stickers! You may want to use tailor's chalk or pins.

4. Cut out your decorative pieces and play!

My design

5. Pin design and sew together as a separate element from the pillow cover. Then sew onto cover between stickers.

6. Go back to the edges you turned down on the cover, and tuck the raw edges up to the fold you created. This ought to give you an upper hem approximately 3/4 inch and a lower hem approximately 1/2 inch. Sew both.

7. For the straps, match one piece of elastic to one long rectangle.

8. Fold each rectangle in half lengthwise and pin. Optional: pin one piece of elastic to one folded end.

9. Stitch each rectangle closed using a 1/8-1/4 inch seam.

When creating this tutorial, I used 2.5 inch wide rectangles rather than 3 inch rectangles. Yours will be a bit wider.

10. Turn out the tubes of fabric and run elastic through them. If you attached your elastic to the tube when creating it, place a safety pin at the free end of the elastic to keep from losing it!

Retrieve your chopstick when turning out the straps!

Don't forget to secure your elastic ends!

12. Sew elastic to ends of tubes to secure elastic and close off ends.

13. Wrap pillow around cover and pin where fabric naturally falls. Situate envelope opening as you wrap.

So far, so good! We're almost done!

14. Remove pillow and lay cover flat.

15. Open cover. Turn raw edges down about 1/2 inch and pin, repeating on both sides.

16. Re-fold cover and insert straps about 3/4-1 inch into the cover. Pin together tightly. Fabric may be too bulky to get pins through, so work carefully and pin as close to straps as possible. Do the same for both sides. You will be closing off the end and sewing the straps in all at once.

17. Sew each side closed. Sew a second seam about 1/4 inch beside the first for extra durability.

18. Reinsert pillow and decide whether to create a smaller opening for it. Pin sides such that the pillow can slip in and out comfortably but will stay securely.

19. Sew a straight line where you last pinned. Optional: for a quilted look, sew seams at intervals between where you pinned and where you stitched the straps in place.

Completed cover back, sans pillow

20. Insert pillow into cover and try out in your chair of choice! This pillow and cover worked well in office chairs, cars and kitchen chairs.

I hope you've enjoyed my first tutorial! Please feel free to ask questions or let me know if anything can be better explained!