Saturday, January 16, 2010

Valentine's Pillow

I bought three quilting magazines recently. I read through them. Then I read through each of them again. Then I paged through and looked at the pretty pictures. I scrutinized the quilting. I perused the ads. I looked through them before bed. I've had each of them several weeks now and have probably gone through each of them 8 or 10 times. I feel that I've gotten my money's worth.

I decided that I wanted to make a Valentine's pillow for my Grandmother. She doesn't really need any pillows, but I just gave her a quilt for Christmas, so I needed another idea. A pillow seemed relatively easy - a small-scale project. I got a pillow form and decided to make a removable case so that I could make other cases for other holidays.

I had originally picked out a pieced and quilted design (it was a heart with flowers coming out the top), then I saw this quilt in one of my quilting magazines. It's
an applique design, which I haven't done much of. However, one of the blocks seemed like it would make an excellent Valentine's pillow, without being TOO heart-y or red-and-pink. I had ordered some Steam-A-Seam, which I had seen a lot of and tried out at a quilt expo that my quilting friend CJ and I went to. It's pretty easy to use. It's sticky on one side, so it doesn't move around when you're trying to cut out the fabric to be appliqued. After positioning it on the background fabric, it permanently irons on and doesn't need to be additionally sewn on around the edges. I was skeptical of this last bit and planned to sew around the edges anyhow. Turns out that I didn't need to. They're totally glued down. Turns out that's a good thing because most of the pieces are pretty small. If I'd had to zig-zag around the edges, I think I would have lost some of the definition of the shapes or the edges would have looked frayed.

The only problem was that the hearts in the pattern are larger than the sheets of fusible web. I had to do the hearts separately as two halves, then stick them together on the fabric. The stickiness of the fusible web helped immensely, but when I tried it the first time, I cut two of the same side of the heart. It's only sticky on one side, so that wasn't going to work. It was also slightly difficult to get both ends to line up because the web can distort slightly as you pull on it. That doesn't seem to have affected my finished product, though.

Here's my end result. I echo quilted around the heart (which took WAY longer than I thought it was going to. Who knew it was so time consuming to go around a heart over and over? I made tiny little loop-d-loops inside the heart around the strawberries. It sort of makes the strawberries, stems and leaves look puffed out, which I like. The stems are a very tiny little weird slanted zig-zag that my machine does. I didn't have any green embroidery floss and didn't want to buy a whole thing of it just for this project.

The ruffle was sort of a pain in the ass. I had originally envisioned it as being entirely red. However, I was using fabric I had purchased as remnants for the entire project and the red piece I had was too small. If I had made the ruffles narrow enough so that I could have made the correct length, they would have been much more narrow than I wanted them. I decided to use the rest of the blue remnant as well. I like the way it turned out color-wise. I also was reminded why I don't often sew ruffles on things - the gathering and the sewing and the pinning and the resewing... it's a bit irritating.

All-in-all a success.

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