Monday, February 20, 2012

Living Room Refresh

Sewing is like painting… it takes a lot of prep work before you get to the fun part, and if you jump the gun because you’re so excited to get to the fun part, you’ll be sorry!

I took a couple of hours this weekend to go through my fabric remnants, and random yardages I’ve bought, to come up with a game plan. Then I measured a million times, cut once, and ironed some hem lines. Then, it was time to get to work! I got really clever & took the zippers off of my sad raggedy throw pillows to reuse them on the new pillow covers…
These suckers have paid their dues. I was sad to say goodbye, but these covers were shredded and even had a few holes. That's not very cute. They were bringing down the sofa-throw-pillow-moral. Don't worry! Your zippers will live on!

Now I’ve got my zipper, bias tape (I had it on hand because I bought the wrong kind for another project…) and 2 fabric panels ready to be sewn. This was for a 19”x10.5” kidney pillow. We LOVE these pillows. They’re the perfect size for lumbar support or for cuddling on the couch. I really should get more because we fight over this one…

And then it’s pinning time. No, not on Pinterest.
After I opened up the bias tape & ironed the whole piece in half, I laid it down and lined it up with my ironed hems on my fabric. I decided not to do any fancy mitered corners with the bias tape. I was diggin’ the easy going corners on this pillow…

Then just sew, sew, sew!Liv Rm Pillows
A great tip from my sewing guru, friend… To make your corners extra crisp, when the fabric is inside out, trim the fabric right down to the thread (of course you don’t want to cut the thread!). Then when you turn it right side out, you can use a pointy object (chopstick, bbq skewer, pencil…etc) and make your corner nice and crisp by pushing the fabric with the pointy object from the inside. She’s so smart! So glad to have a sewing guru in my arsenal.
After 3 sides were done, I realized I should’ve installed the zipper first, and THEN sew up the other 3 sides. Oh well, I pressed on and figured I’d use the nugget of knowledge for next time. I sewed the bias to one side of the pillow.
Oh, did I forget to tell you that I’ve never sewn a zipper on anything before? Well… I haven’t. I figured I’d just teach myself. Trial by fire, if you will. Using the old pillow as a model, I pinned the pieces in place.
It was surprisingly easy! I flipped the pillow right side out a few times to double & triple check I had the zipper pinned where it needed to be, and the right way (so the metal pull was on the outside).
Liv Rm Pillows1
I did pretty good on the zipper for my first try! The bias tape helps hide the zipper, too. A nice bonus from something that was supposed to be just a little decorative!

So… because I was on a roll, and had another ratty pillow to replace, I had this stuff ready to go:
I love the black & white striped fabric, but I only had little bits left. The teal flowery fabric is also a fave, but it’s just a fabric quarter, and at 17”x20”, it’s not quite big enough for an 18” square pillow. But it is if I add a little fabric trim around it! The heather-grey is from t-shirt. It’s super soft & comfy, but never fit me quite right. It’s perfect for a pillow that will be used thoroughly and need to get washed a lot from grubby little toddler hands. So I cut 2.5” wide strips of the black and white fabric, ironed a 1/4” hem and then ironed them in half.
I had to get fancy with some mitered corners on the black and white fabric, and it took a lot of laying out, pinning, checking, double checking and repining before I got them all correct. I made one little mistake and cut the wrong angle on one corner, but I was able to rescue it. Phew! I think I did pretty good:
Liv Rm Pillows1-1
Can you see the zipper?
It actually blends in pretty well with the grey fabric, and I tried to sew a little closer to the zipper part to help hide it, too. I love how soft it is thanks to the t-shirt side, and love the pattern/fabric combo. I’m definitely patting myself on the back on this one. I’m extremely impressed with my own sewing skills.

And now my sofa looks a little happier:
The green leafy pillows were purchased from Ikea at the same time as the orange ones I just threw away. I haven’t seen them at the store since, but they’re still going strong on our sofa, 5 years later. The black & white pillow on the right, is from West Elm back in May. It’s been through the wash a few times, so it’s a little faded, but I think it’s working better now in it’s faded state. Oh! And don’t forget my quatrefoil white and navy pillow from Target. I love that thing.

And a close up of my two happy groups:
Liv Rm Pillows-2
I can’t wait to see what the Hubby has to say. He hasn’t seen what I’ve been up to yet. As usual, I try to be stealth so things aren’t a TOTAL wreck when he gets home… just a partial wreck. Winking smile And the best part?! I didn’t spend a dime! Using pillows fills I already had and getting creative with fabric pieces & zippers… Booyah! Gotta love a free project!

So how about you? Have you done anything lately that you impressed yourself with? I’d love to hear about it! You really can teach an old broad new tricks!


  1. FAB job on these pillows Heather! They look better than store bought. The black and white fabric on the edge looks awesome.


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