Sunday, April 29, 2018

tutotial for envelope pillow cover, beginning sewing class project

As promised from my earlier post this week, here are the instructions I provide with my envelope closure pillow kits for Pinners Conference. The handout is made to accompany the instructions I give in person during the class, so the written instructions are very simplified. I provide more direction in person.
Be sure to sign up early for my next class in November 2018 in Arizona because this class has always filled up online in advance. Registration should open in a couple months.

Our fun Bright fabrics were from Premier Prints and they were a huge hit! Everyone loved them. You can get matching fabrics and many more from Shop Fabric dot com.

One reason I love this simple pillow cover, is that it is so easy to swap out your couch pillows any time you want with any material that you come across. You are not limited to anything, if you see a fabric you want, you can use it! As your mood changes you can swap the pillows out and not feel like you are spending so much money on store bought pillows. Plus, it is such a satisfying feeling to make something yourself!

Here is the print out that is pretty basic. It is missing some info because I make my pillow kits as simple as possible. We only have an hour to sew up these pillows, and with a class of 30, many who are beginners, I try to do a lot of the prep work beforehand to save the class time for just the sewing. I like to serge the edges and I also mark the blue fold lines in advance.
I will add a few comments here to go along with the instructions, and hopefully you'll be able to make your own envelope back throw pillow from scratch.

This makes a pillow cover that is a 19" square finished size. It will fit a pillow form that is 20" perfectly. I love to get my pillow forms at IKEA, they have them at any fabric and craft store as well.

Click on image to enlarge to original size.

To start, you need to cut your fabric into one long piece, 48" x 20".
Next, to make your blue fold lines, eyeball it and mark with a water soluble pencil/pen 19" in the center. The two sides do not need to be even, I usually do about 14.5" on each side. You can do 16" and 13", it doesn't really need to be exact. The two sides will overlap in the back.

In STEP ONE, I had already finished the short edges with my serger and then we folded down 1/2" to hem each side. But if you do not have a serger, Then you will need to measure and fold the short edges down 1/2" and iron. Then fold down another 1/2" and continue to HEM as stated in STEP ONE.

In STEP TWO you will bring the hemmed edges to the center so they overlap using the blue marking you make earlier for your fold line.

In STEP THREE, we are finishing up the raw edges. When you have fraying edges the fabric will continue to unravel so sewing a zigzag stitch will keep the frayed edges form unraveling anymore and prevent your pillow from coming undone. When we zigzag here you want to stay in the 1/2" seam allowance with your needle. If you cross over your original stitching then it will show when you flip your pillow right side out. As you zigzag down, the needle will go to the right and the left, back and forth on it's own. When the needle zigs to the right side, you want it to go off the edge of your fabric just barely, and when it zags to the left, you want it to be on the fabric.

Before we flip our pillows to be complete, I show the class how to fold over their corners so that they will poke out and be pointy, and we do not need to clip the corners. I think clipping weakens the points and try to avoid that if possible. This is tricky and hard to explain but showing it is easier.
Fold over the seam on the corner and as you hold it in place with your finger and thumb you flip your pillow right side out. It should lay flat and your pillow is done.

***If you would like to try and make a pillow cover with an invisible zipper, you can see my tutorial for how to complete that HERE in this post.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Premier Prints fabric for throw pillow sewing classes

A couple weeks ago I headed south to San Diego, California to teach a few sewing classes at Pinners Conference. This is always a great event, you should try to attend in a city near you, there are quite a few now to choose from across the country full of classes and hands on projects. Sewing is something I am passionate about. I love when people get excited about something they've made that I've taught them. I have learned a lot from the Pinners classes I've taught.

Friday April 13th was my first two classes, back to back. The first one was a super simple envelope throw pillow cover. The second was a reversible fabric bucket. Saturday April 14th I taught the basics of sewing rope into coasters.

I promised I would post the directions for each project for reference here by the end of the month and I will get to those in the coming days. But first I wanted to give a shout out to Premier Prints fabrics and their bright prints that were perfect for the pillows and reversible buckets. Everyone loved them and had a hard time choosing one for their pillow!

I was so grateful to have my favorite fabric company, Premier Prints, sponsor my first two classes. This is the fabric I use all the time for home decor projects like pillows,curtains, and chair cushions. I have used it numerous times with clients and my local sewing classes for our projects. I've always been impressed with the selection and the affordable price of the home weight fabric. I was excited to share this fabric with the participants of my classes because I love it so much! To see all the bright fabric prints come to life in their final projects and their excited faces just can't be beat.

Our bucket class was a smaller class this time. We had plenty of time to go over each step and make sure each bucket turned out perfectly. It was a nice break from the pillow class that sold out and the rope coaster class that sold out for Saturday. This is one of my raffle winners, she got a bucket full of treats to eat throughout her day at Pinners.

I like to use my bucket for holding a plant in my entry way. It's also useful to keep fabric scraps in, and candy, and office supplies, and toys, and every other little thing you want to corral.

The sewing room at Pinners Conference always has low walls so that people walking by can watch and see how the sewing machines work. The low walls make it hard to keep my voice from wandering outside the area inside the room, and the surrounding classes going on are always huge classes with 100+ attendees so their loud sound with larger speakers carry into my class. My voice is always strained by the time I'm done teaching. Listen and you can somewhat hear the other classes going on in the video above.

There are always logistics that can get complicated with teaching and preparing for a large event like this, but I always get the best comments that make it all worth it. I was sent a message on Instagram a week after from someone who took the pillow class thanking me "... and that your class I took at pinner's has inspired me to start sewing!!"
Also, several people told me Saturday that my class was so well organized! This is a huge compliment because there can be so much confusion at the beginning of the class when people are in line and you are signing them in and distributing class kits and you need extra helpers to make it run smoothly and able to start on time. If you start late then the class is cut short and you need all the time allotted so you can get everyone finished without rushing. So organization is key!

I love the things I take away from each class, things that I take note of for next time to make it run even smoother and a great experience for every student. If you are reading this and you attended one of my classes, THANK YOU so much! I loved having you there! Do you see yourself in any of the photos?
Be on the lookout for the instructions for each class to show up here within the next week.

My wonderful friends who came to help! Couldn't have done it without them. My husband was my photographer and also a huge help setting up and my little guy helped thread bobbins in the machines Saturday morning!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

custom photo printed throw pillow from CanvasPop

Keeping with the theme of sentimental gifts from last post, this pillow is my new favorite! I got to choose an oil painting that my dad did and have it printed on this 18x18” pillow.  CanvasPop has the option to not only add your most beloved photos to a canvas print, but also to a throw pillow that you can display and cuddle with! What’s better than that?

My dad recently took photos of almost all the paintings and drawings he had done over the years and posted them for me and my siblings to see on our family website. There were so many pictures we recognized from hanging on our walls growing up and many from hanging in our own homes now. But there were also so many that I had never seen before. It was such a fun treat to see many from his college art school days.

I knew right away I wanted to add one of my dad’s art images to a photo throw pillow when CanvasPop contacted me. Deciding which image to choose was not so easy. I finally narrowed it down deciding on this cactus plant. For some reason the news of our family's upcoming move to Arizona had me leaning towards the pretty cactus blossom.

Here is the original cactus painting photograph. I cropped it to make it square to fit on the pillow.
It is just too pretty! And it means much more to me than any couch throw pillow because it’s my dad’s artwork.

Something I really love about this pillow is that the cover is removable with an invisible zipper. Now if you know me, invisible zippers are my go to and make everything better! The fabric of the pillow is
100% spun polyester and made in America. The construction is solid coming from a seamstress opinion, and again, I love how I can remove the cover to wash it if needed.

My dad recently asked me how an old man like him could get a pillow like this. I think it would be such a fun fathers Day gift to surprise him with one!
Check out the options for canvas prints and photo pillow covers for yourself on CanvasPop

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

custom gift idea for Mom

Every year around the end of April I get a little nervous and stressed about what to do about Mother's Day. It's never really been one of the days I look forward to myself, I haven't had a mom to enjoy in my life now for many years and I really am saddened by it. But luckily I have a great Mother in Law. She is the best lady I know and she really deserves everything that is good!

Shopping for something has never been what I like to do for the important people in my life. It's hard to find things that they can't just provide for themselves and flowers always die. I think a handwritten note is more loved than an item from the store. I know that I love that as a mom myself. I'm not a worldly person and not really a sentimental person so I don't keep a lot of things around, but I love notes and cards that say sweet things. I do keep those!

Right after notes and cards, I think that photos of loved ones are the next best gift. I love seeing my family hanging on my wall. It's important to me that I not clutter my house or walls with things that are not meaningful.

I've invested in several framed art and canvas prints for my walls and they are still one of the favorite things I see everyday. Those framed pencil drawings are beloved art from my dad. They mean just as much as photographs.
Canvas Pop has amazing affordable canvases that are great quality. I got this 16"x20" years ago and it's hanging in my dining room (turned sewing school!).  The canvas is 1" think and not too bulky. I would love another one soon with a picture of my growing boys. I need to drop hints for my husband...
It's not too late to get your mom a canvas print this year, and be sure to write her a hand written card to go along with it!

Friday, February 23, 2018

invisible zipper tutorial for a couch throw pillow

While making some couch pillows with an invisible zipper recently, I decided to take step by step photos showing you some of my tips and tricks. This is a tutorial I used for my Pinners Conference in Arizona in October 2017. It is from the Keynote app.

I prefer using a regular zipper foot when sewing invisible zippers because it allows me to get closer to the teeth. My invisible zipper foot is very nice but sometimes if I don't buy my zippers from the fabric store in town, and I order them online instead, the teeth are slightly too large and get stuck as they slide through my invisible zipper foot channels.
The tutorial is using a regular zipper foot so that anyone can insert it with their regular zipper foot.


Supplies needed for one pillow cover to fit an 18"x 18" pillow cover:
2(two) squares of 18" fabric (finished pillow size will be approximately 17")
1 invisible zipper 20" inches long

It is not necessary to iron your zipper teeth open flat, but if you do that and it will help you not have to hold it back so much as you sew. I personally do not iron my teeth, it doesn't make a difference to me. I have sewn in a billion (it seems like it) zippers and I just don't bother anymore.
BUT I feel as a beginner, you should iron and it will make it less complicated for you if this is your first ever invisible zipper. Don't use super hot heat on the iron, these teeth are nylon.

I'm going to have you pin both sides of the zipper down before sewing the zipper. Once both sides are pinned it will keep the zipper from flipping and turning. Plus it does safe time for you if this is your first time.
After you have sewn a pillow or two, you will begin to see how you can adjust and make it easier for you.
I usually don't use pins at all when I sew these pillows. It gets easier and as you gain more sewing experience you will also find ways that are best for you!

TIP: There is a pattern on the zipper tape, shown below, between lines 2 and 3, this is a chevron pattern. Between lines 1 and 2 is a different woven pattern that you will want your needle to sew down. Anywhere in this pattern, between the lines, should suffice. If you sew over line 1 towards the teeth your zipper will not close and unpicking is a pain. If you sew over the line 2 your finished zipper will not be totally invisible.

Even if you do iron your zipper teeth flat, as mentioned above, you will still need to use your fingers strategically to hold it flat as you sew.

Now below, we will sew up the other end 1" by starting on the edge of the fabric and sew towards the zipper pull.

With both of the 1" sides all sewn up to the edges, you can zip up your zipper and see how it "hides" the bulky pull in the seam.
It's like magic!

Normally I do not clip my corners but fold them over each other as I flip the pillow right side out.
If you fold it over, and not just bunch the corner fabric up, it will have a nice crisp corner. I wish I had the correct wording to explain to you. But clipping the corners are a great way to reduce bulk.

My favorite place to buy pillow inserts are IKEA. They have 20" down filled and 20" soft poly filled for a great price, like less than $6.

My favorite place to buy zippers online are from a shop on Etsy called ZipIt!
The canvas weight fabric used in the tutorial is and the gray chevron is old from my stash.
The three fabrics in the very top header image are from Hawthorn threads, designed by Joel Dewberry. It is a thicker twill, which is my favorite! It's so beautiful and so soft to touch.

Please let me know if you have any questions!