Pillows, Talk (and a Living Room Sneak Peek)

The living room is coming along swimmingly, but, also slowly. If I had my druthers I'd devote all my time to working on various creative projects - a constant /design/make cycle - with the welcomed interruptions of spontaneous road trips, late-night campfire chats, house guests, and music-making all sprinkled in. As it stands, I have a job.  Thus, any projects I take on require a lengthy time-table and sporadic investment during non working, eating and sleeping hours. I realize it might sound like I'm just voicing what we all already know - everybody's working for the weekend after all - but I think it's different. There are probably many people who are content, even happy, to work a job with a consistent schedule that holidays, weekend adventures, and real life can be planned around. I don't want that. I want a melting pot in which work, family, projects, community, and adventure all simmer together creating something robust and flavorful. Perhaps naively I'm hoping blogging will aid in that pursuit.

So pillows.

It was tedious (which I guess I'm discovering is my m.o.), but after finishing the pink living room wall I decided that updating my throw pillows was the next most pressing design component worth tackling (really, my motivation was slipping and I just needed to get something done quickly to keep me going. I also didn't want to put on real clothes or leave my house). I raided my onsite fabric stash and draped some fabric over bare pillow forms to get some ideas:  

There are plenty of really helpful tutorials online for making throw pillows. I always follow this one from Design*Sponge. However, it took me a couple baggy and sad pillow attempts to realize that despite what the instructions say DO NOT start with your fabric an inch bigger than the pillow form. This time around I cut my fabric to the exact width of the forms and they turned out perfectly plush.

The racing stripe pillow was the easiest so I started with it. I only had a 7" black zipper on hand and thought I could somehow mystically contort my 20" pillow form through the 7" opening. Unfortunately, after a large fissure formed I had to exercise some aerobic maneuvers to hold the bursting seam shut while simultaneously sewing it closed with one hand and trying to keep the bulging stuffed pillow out of the way of the needle and presser foot with the other (no picture). 

Then I moved on to the diagonal pink and white pillow and sort of made up the process as I went. I started by cutting an 18"x18" square of pink fabric, folded it in half on the diagonal, pressed it with an iron and cut down the line. I did the same with a square of white fabric and officially had my necessary pieces.   

Though I've been sewing for around 15 years I have no presumptions of being a seasoned seamstress. It's a craft I don't actually enjoy all that much and is personally an activity overwrought with screwups, constant troubleshooting, and the overuse of my seam ripper. However, I keep doing it because of the satisfaction and accomplishment derived from the finished product (also, it's cheap).

To construct the pillow I sewed one white and one pink triangle together along the diagonal. I opened my newly created square and ironed the seam flat on the inside. Then I repeated the steps for the other set of pink and white triangles. Once I had two squares (each side of the pillow) I put them right sides together carefully lining up the diagonal lines as best as possible.   

I don't have any great photos of the zipper installation process, but I just followed the instructions that came with the zipper (the instructions on the Design*Sponge tutorial are also good). After finishing the zipper I quickly sewed the remaining sides together, flipped the pillow right side out, ironed all of the seams, and stuffed the pillow form inside.

Next I made the black and white pillow. Brace yourself because I got really creative and changed up the diagonal. Starting with a black square of fabric I used my measuring tape to determine my angle. After cutting along the line I placed some white fabric beneath the black and cut the necessary shape to return it to a square. I sewed those two pieces together and lazily decided to make the back of the pillow solid black. I connected the two squares with a zipper, sewed the remaining side seams and done.

I'll skip the step by step on the last pillow because I'm already boring myself. Like the others it was basically cut.seam.sew.done.

Finally some closeups: