Making projects look professional... pillow details and a zipper how-to.
Today was the start of pillow making for my quilt market booth. If there's anything I've come to really understand in the past few years, it's the details that really count in making projects look professional. For pillows in particular there are a couple details that I think make things really have polish.
On this pillow, you'll note several things. First, the corners are rounded. After I cut, I always take a bowl from the kitchen and draw rounded lines at the corners. This way, I don't have those dog-eared corners where there's no fluff.
Second, I always cut my fabric an inch shorter than the pillow size. If I have a 24" pillow, I cut at 23". When I pop the pillow form in the cover, it really fills it up nice and fluffy. Love that.
Another thing that I'm really loving these days in the way of detail is adding things like piping and ruffles... and fringe. And pom poms. Here, there's piping outlining the mid-section of this pillow. I think adding a detail like this gives added punch and definition. For the ruffle I used a solid from Art Gallery Pure Elements to frame the pillow very nicely. The Pure Elements colors are uber-rich. If you are interested in an easy way to do piping, I love using Nancy's Zieman's Wrap and Fuse piping which made by Clover. It makes piping super easy. It is cording covered with fusible web, so you simply cut your fabric, wrap it around and fuse it together, saving you a sewing step... and pins. I adore it. Also, it comes in several sizes.
I additionally think that a pillow should be fluffy. I always use fusible fleece as interfacing to give it some added oompf.
One last thing... it's easy to make a pillow back where you overlap two pieces, insert the pillow between and use ribbon or trim to tie it, but I think a zipper makes it have a professional polish you really can't get with the overlapping method. A couple years ago, I learned an extra easy way to do this... here's how...
- Divide the width of your pillow in two, and add 1 1/4" to the width to get the measurement for the piece you should cut. So, if your front is cut at 23" X 23", your back will be cut at 24 1/4" x 23". Cut the piece in half so you have two pieces measuring 12 1/8" x 23".
- Place the two pieces right sides together, and BASTE a 5/8" seam allowance along the raw edge of the 23" side.
- Press your seam open.
- Place a zipper the length of the seam on the wrong side of the fabric so it is centered on the seam and pin it in place. The pins should go in horizontally. Do not trim the zipper at the top. The bit of fabric on the zipper above the pull should be aligned with the top of the seam. Trim the bottom to the length of the fabric if it is longer than your pillow.
- Turn the panel over so your zipper is underneath. With your zipper foot on, feel for where the zipper teeth are, and top stitch the length of the zipper about a scant 1/4 from the zipper teeth, removing the pins from underneath as you go along. Do the same on the other side of the zipper teeth.
- Open your basted stitches, and voila! Your zipper can now go up and down... but remember, if you cut the zipper, don't open it all the way or you won't get it back together. You can now sew your pillow as ususal, but do so with the zipper partly open so you can turn it when you are done. Also, again if you cut the zipper, be very careful as you get to the teeth at the bottom. I lengthen the stitch there so it will go over and test by turning manually that I won't be hitting the teeth. Also, I then go back and forth over that area several times to reinforce it.
I hope that helps, and if you want, on the next pillow I'll videotape as I go along... I have at least two more to go before market!
Details on the fabric here: The maing fabrics are LillyBelle, of course... the center is Lily Bouquet and the sides are Flower Pop. The piping is Art Gallery's lace elements, and like I said before, the ruffle is an Art Gallery Pure Elements.