Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pinterest Challenge #1 - One Kings Lane inspired pillows

So we are huge, HUGE, huge fans of Pinterest.  We'd even go so far to say we are Pinterholics. We get high on Pins, not needles. We need a Pintervention.  Puns, anyone?  There you go.  And thanks to YHL, we got one!  Last week, Sherry from YHL posted the Pinterest challenge which is also a collaboration with Katie, Emily, and Lana (yes we used first names, and no we don't know them personally...but we feel like we do since we are blog stalkers!).  It's basically a way to put to good use all the things that we've been pinning and pining over.  So we both happened to choose the same burlap pillow inspired by one on Ones Kings Lane...and it worked well for us since we both had the materials on hand!  Yay for a free project!  And...being that this is a joint project...it's our first collaborative post...and our 260th each!  (balloons dropping, horns blowing, confetti flying...yay for us!!)

Adorbs, right?  OK!  So here's our adventure in burlap Pillow-ness!


Lani: We were trying to find a way to soften up the burlap, make it shed less, and make it smell less. Well, washing it was obviously the answer, and Heather and I were going back and forth a bit on how to do this.  I sewed my pillow first, then tossed it in the wash as-is.  Um....talk about being to' up from the flo' up.  Ruined.  Totally shredded.  Heather had the genius idea to put the fabric in a pillowcase when washing it...so I started over and put the fabric, not sewn, into a pillowcase.  It turned out better...but still shredded a bit because it kept falling out of the pillowcase.  There was still a lot to work with though.  And I don't know if I did anything wrong....but the washing did not make the burlap softer, nor shed less, nor smell nice.  So....any suggestions?

Heather: I washed my pillowcase inside-out after it was double stitched & double hemmed. I put it in a garment bag and in the washer on delicate to be extra safe. It was in the washer all by it's lonesome, so after the 1st go 'round, it was a little sudsy in there so I didn't add any soap & turned it on again. I kept it in the garment bag and threw it in the dryer on delicate for 2 rounds. Then I ironed it and voila! It smells better and is a tad softer, but it is still shedding, even after I took a lint brush to it before I ironed it. Maybe after several washes it gets better? 


Lani: I chose to do a flap closure on the back that you can see here.  I used Centsational Girl's tutorial on how to do so...and I'll be honest...a lot of it was just winging it.

The one serio tip I have is to IRON the burlap...this fabric moves around like nothing else. Ironing it flat seemed to help with the measuring and cutting, and also iron the seams down before pinning or sewing.  That makes SUCH a HUGE difference.

Also...Heather is going to insist to you to double stitch the beetch....but I didn't and it turned out fine.  I DID double hem it though...you know...fold, fold then hem.  Either way will prevent the unraveling in the wash.  The point of both of our double hem/double sew debate is....do the most work you possibly can with the burlap.  Don't take a short cut or skimp out.  Seriously.  If you plan on this being a one season wonder than really don't worry about it...but if you're going to wash it and keep it and use it (although as Heather's hubby keeps pointing out....no one wants to cuddle with an itchy pillow), then take all the extra steps you can to prevent this little guy from unraveling on you. 

First tip: Make sure your kiddos are out of earshot because burlap is a BEEEEEEEEOTCH to work with. You will cuss and you will throw tantrums. No? Just me? I only tangled the bobbin and thread a billion times, had to re-spool my bobbin twice, and broke a needle in the process. I am not exaggerating when I say this pillow took me ALL flippin' day to make. Part of that is because I haven't ever made a pillow. My other problem was that I was trying to not take all day, so I made a few bonehead mistakes... such as:

Tracing my "&" onto the wrong side of the Steam-A-Seam, and Ta-Da! I didn't realize it was backwards until after I cut out my applique fabric & Steam-A-Seam fused together and plopped it on the burlap to position it... annoying but an easy fix... Pretty sure I can cut an ampersand out with my eyes closed now.

Bonehead move #2:
Got my new ampersand cut out. Centered it. Ironed it. Ironed the Tear-Away Stabilizer onto the other side of my burlap and ... I put it on the wrong side of the burlap. I had pre-sewn one side of my pillow and forgot to turn it right side out when I put the applique on. Hubby was very proud of himself for finding that little mishap. That's my finger pointing to the seam.
And now, I was cranky because I am retarded and hungry. Time for a quick lunch break to Del Taco. Did you know they have Icees now?! Great treat to help me re-group!

Sewing Tip:
DOUBLE STITCH the BEEOTCH!! To prevent it from unraveling, you definitely need to double up the stitching. I did a zigzag stitch to help, too.

Sewing Tip:
Pin & Iron! Just reiterating what Lani said about this. It will save you a little bit of frustration. Not a lot. But a little. Bonus points for the pins that have the little ball nubs on them because the ones with out won't stay put. And yes, I giggled as I typed ball and nubs... like you didn't...

Corner tip:
Cut off the excess fabric in the corner when the case is inside-out. This will help give you sharper corners when you turn it right-side-out. My sewing guru showed me this, so I can't take credit for it. She's a hardcore seamstress, so when my machine kept eating my bobbin & my needle broke, she got a lovely whiny text & picture to help me solve my issue before I threw the burlap out the window.

Corner tip #2:
Get a stick and poke it. Isn't that a great motto for life? Well, thankfully the burlap is dead, so it's ok to poke it with a stick... Once you turn your sack (HA!) right-side-out, poke the corner with a stick from the inside to help shove that fabric out and get a nice pointy corner. You can also run it along all the seams from the inside to help crisp up the edges, too. Again, a tip from my sewing guru, definitely not from me.


Lani: I decided to do a stencil treatment for the pillow much like the inspiration pillow.  I used my Cricut machine with the "Alphalicious" cartridge to cut out a large stencil, and just white craft paint to do the design. 

For the stenciling part, I found that if I held down the paper and feathered the brush out onto the fabric...it allowed me to get a remarkably crisp line.  I mean...look at that line!!! Supa crispy...

I also found that if I watered down the paint JUST A LITTLE and dabbed the brush...I pulled up a lot less of the burlap shed.  Both Heather and I went with typographic symbols, however I went with a question mark.  This is going on the club chair in the boys playroom and I wanted it to symbolize how the boys should always ask questions, strive to learn more, and I wanted it to serve as an inspiration for them to keep their imaginations alive.  Just Kidding.  I am just basically clueless....so this is my representation of that. 

Heather: I opted for a fabric applique. I'm on an applique kick, so I am sticking to it...

Trace your graphic onto the Steam-A-Seam.

If you fuse your applique fabric to the Steam-A-Seam and then cut it out, you only have to cut once. Work smarter, not harder.

Stick the Stabilizer on the back. I got the tear away kind because...

After you're done sewing your applique on, you can flip it over and tear the excess stabilizer off. Easy peasy!

You just looked up my pillow's skirt. You cheeky monkey, you!


Lani: TA-and-friggin'-DA!!  It's so CUTE!  I love it...and it's totally fun for our little basement playroom!  And sorry about the blurry top pic...I hurried and took this while both boys were upstairs and needed to take the pic quick before one beat the other one senseless.  Can't wait to do more Pinterest Challenges!  It's certainly going to push me to do all those little makeovers one thing at a time!  Love it!  So....do I unpin this pin now?  What's the etiquette?

Heather: Here she is! Now that she's done, I am happy. Happy to be d-o-n-e-! My advice to you: DON'T sew burlap. Throw your burlap remains away, stat! Don't touch it! Back away slowly! Maybe iron-on sewing tape would've sufficed? I'm going to stroke my ego a little bit & say that I'm a sewing novice that took on an advanced material. I definitely enjoy my new pillow. It's a touch of rugged manliness to go with our more refined mod belongings. I like the natural fabric contrasting with the rest of our stuff. It was just a giant thorn in my paw... I know that my future Pinterest projects will be easier than this one. I did get to spend a day with my much neglected sewing machine, so that's a plus. Especially since I have so many things pinned on my "Sew It!" board.

I'm so fancy with my little vignette set-up. This is what happens when Hubby is occupied with his new XBOX game and Will is napping away. Yay!
And because I haven't tortured myself enough with burlap, I'm thinking of doing a little orange embroidery stitch around the edge of the "&". But for now, it's not too bad for a FREE Pinterest project! Didn't spend a dime! Zero Dollah make us Holla!


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I love how your pinterest challenge turned out. The pillows look great! I love the blog name. Such a cute idea to do this with a friend! I'm a new follower :)

  2. These both look great. I can't believe they cost nothing, well done!

  3. These both look amazing. I love burlap ... so much fun to play with. :)

  4. Very cool, what a great project! :)

    xo Catharine @ Your Modern Couple

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