Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Raid your craftroom and make something beautiful...

Remember a couple of months ago when I noticed some of my fabrics were acquiring fade lines from the bright sunlight that streams into my sewing room? Over a couple of days I sorted through it all and moved the fabric shelf into my shaded office, out of harm's way, but then came the question "what to do with those faded pieces?"
Questions like that tend to swirl and dip into my thoughts as time goes by, regularly reminding me to be creative and find an answer. Over the weekend I finally finished the machine quilting of "Shabby Roses Beauty" and after the binding was sewn around the edges I put the leftover length into my binding scrap box. That's when the creative spark happened. "Self, what can be done with all this binding?"...

I thought about my mantra for this year - Moment To Shine - which is all about using what you have on hand in your sewing supplies and giving them their moment to shine, so yesterday I gathered scraps and a 'forgotten' stitchery, and set about putting them all in the spotlight. 

Recipe for a Purposeful Pillow...

* One fat quarter of faded fabric
* One stitchery/embroidery/quilt block/cross-stitch that you finished years ago and have almost forgotten existed
* one small remnant of quilt wadding
* scraps of fusible Pellon
* a length of binding leftover from another project
* an old cushion that still has usable stuffing

I found this stitchery design back in 2010. A fellow blogger had discovered it at the bottom of her grandmother's sewing basket, half stitched and half a century old. She finished it and then shared the pattern for others to stitch as well (the pattern is no longer available) and it very quickly climbed to the top of my own hand stitching projects. But once finished it was put aside and has languished patiently for over three years...

With my 'used' and 'forgotten' ingredients I set to work on a project that seemed to be speaking louder in my thoughts than any other - a tall pillow! 
Not a square pillow, and not a long pillow...I really wanted a tallish one. The kind that can sit quite straight and proud between the regular bed pillows (after you've made the bed of course)!

Shall we begin?
Do you have your supplies ready?

Trim your stitchery to a size you like; or if you're using an orphan quilt block just neaten the edges as if it's lain dormant for a while it might have a little fraying. Press it onto a remnant of quilt wadding slightly larger than the block. The heat of the iron will fuse them together long enough to get us through the next step.
Just as if you were binding a quilt, sew your leftover binding strip around the edges of the stitchery...
(if you haven't made or attached binding before see my tutorial here)

Trim away the excess wadding...

Press the binding away from the block...

Turn it over to the back and pin down...

Slip stitch the edges in place...

Put the bound block aside, and let's prepare the faded fabric. Cut it whatever size you like as the actual size doesn't matter, so long as it's larger than your stitchery block. Fuse your remnant of Pellon behind the fabric. I butted two narrow scrap pieces together for mine...

The fade lines don't show up very well in photos but in your hand they are quite obvious. To camouflage them I decided to machine quilt a cross-hatch design across the fabric to complete the pillow front...

Now lay your block onto the centre of the quilted fabric, and pin in place.
Machine quilt 'in the ditch' between the binding and the stitchery to attach the block to the pillow front...

Cut another piece of your feature fabric, the same size as the first, and lay the pillow front face down onto the right side of the fabric. Pin them together and sew around all four sides with a 1/4" seam, leaving an 8" opening along one long side. Turn the pillow right side out, gently push out the corners and press flat.
I found this old washed cushion insert in my wardrobe....

 ...so I cut it open and used half of the stuffing to fill my pillow.
Once full I ladder-stitched the opening closed, and...

This sweet Autumn Apples pillow didn't cost me a cent, just an afternoon of my time. I still have loads of binding remnants left (and more faded fabrics)  so perhaps you'll see a few more ideas here on the blog in coming weeks.

Now tell me, what do you already have on hand in your craft supplies that could be used to make something beautiful? I bet you can make some amazing things if you put your mind to it, and besides, it's rather fun...



  1. That stitchery is so gorgeous Jenny. It looks wonderful now as a cushion.

  2. Lovely Jenny.
    I like the front being a mini quilt. It really makes it stand out.

  3. That is such a cute cushion! What a great idea to use the leftover binding. You have inspired me!

    My goal this year is similar to yours - use what I have. 2014 is a no-spend year and I aim to use up what scraps and fabric I have on hand. At this moment I am working on a scrap fabric hexagon quilt. I'm crocheting a blanket for the caravan with left over wool. That's it so far... but it's only July! :)

  4. Absolutely gorgeous Jenny!!! ... and so clever binding the stitchery before adding it to the main pillow cover!!! :)

  5. That is so pretty Jenny! I finally overcame my fear of my sewing machine last night and did a practise run....I tihnk that one of these days soon I'm going to be taking on your projects :)

  6. Thank you very much, really a good idea well explained! I'm not sure I'll be able to do something so good, but this is certainly inspiring!

  7. Ficou muito bonita. O bordado é lindo.

  8. Dear Jenny, I have not visited your blog in a long while and am thrilled to see your lovely new designs-inspiring and soo beautiful(much like you!)Sad that your leg sore but am certain that you will pull through!hugs Sandra

  9. This is such a great idea - how creative you are! Thank you for sharing -

  10. Your stitchery and cushion sweet Jenny and your pics and instructions easy to follow, thank you. I have a redwork stitchery worked and waiting in a drawer for moment to shine and a stash of fabric to choose from, all individual pieces from sales (and Spotlight closing down sale) and remnants, (I have made many bags in the past and for nieces and grandson's school fete a few years ago, stash grown a little since then) have been using some to make hand towel tops for daughter's bathroom half ring towel holder recently and making gifts for friends, taking lots of inspiration from you and your blogs Jenny, have a great day, Judithann :-)

  11. Hi Jenny, where can I find the pattern?

  12. Timecard, the pattern was over 50 years old and the link has expired. I downloaded it in 2010...


  13. Essa peça é uma verdadeira obra de arte. Super delicada e o bordado romântico. Lindo !

  14. Thank you so much for this inspiring and beautiful tutorial. I have made a cushion following your instructions, shown on my blog. Thank you :) hugs Wendy

  15. This "Moment to Shine" will last far beyond just a moment dear. It is very beautiful and serves a wonderful purpose. Using the things we have is such a great challenge and you have risen above to shine. Thank you for sharing your tutorial. Healing Energy continues for You and Blossom...

  16. Cute stitchery and the red border sets it off well against the pillow fabric. Great idea using the stuffing from a clean old pillow. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Hope you enjoy your quilting trip and yur health returns to good as new.


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