Friday, May 30, 2014

Pillow overload!

As you know from my last post, I have started doing a little "for hire" work.  These are some pillows I've just completed.

I thought these would be my problem child, but they were surprisingly easy. This type of tassel fringe can go inside or outside the pillow. Customer wanted it outside, and I'm glad she did. This trim is just too pretty to hide.  Because I wanted it really even, I chose to hand stitch it down after construction. I think I will attempt this again stitching it on first, then using my edge stitching foot to stitch the pillow closed. I'm thinking if I go slow and let that guide ride right along the edge of the trim, it should stitch very well.  I didn't have the right size insert but did see it filled when I dropped them off. They were so much prettier stuffed.

And a close up of the trim.

TIP: use Wonder Tape to hold the trim in place while you stitch.  It keeps it nice and even.  I stitched down both sides removing the tape before I stitched the second side.  I started on the outside edge closest to the seam allowance.

And these were the ones that gave me issues. And I thought they'd be a breeze. This was a very, very lightweight fabric and boy did it ravel! The piping is mohair and crossgrain cut! I typically use a 1/2" cording for pillow piping, but it was way too big. I went with 3/8" instead. Once I got it put together, the weight of the mohair plus the cord was just too much. Add to that cut on the crossgrain, and it was a real problem. It was just too bulky and heavy for that fabric. I wouldn't have chosen that combination. I took them in anyway and begged to let me redo them. I replaced the 3/8" cotton cord with a 5/32" cotton twist cord. The twisted cord was much more pliable than the cotton and more forgiving. That allowed me to get the piping much smaller. It was still a challenge going around the corners especially without the right presser feet for the job. And I still have some puckering in the stripe fabric because I had to ease it in to get the stripes to line up properly, and without the stretch of the piping, there was no way it was going to be completely smooth. The weight of this mohair just overpowers the thinner, lightweight stripe. On a good note, my stripes line up perfectly on all 4 pillows, and that was most important to client. The zipper was a witch to get in. It got caught in the hairs of the mohair and in the weave of the stripe fabric. I ripped the first one out 6 stinkin' times. :ranting: I tried to get them to do a lap zipper instead but they preferred to have the invisible zip not so invisible.

I give you this information for two reasons. One, mohair and zippers are not friends!! Two, when choosing fabrics and trim, keep in mind the weight of all pieces and even test a sample. There will have to be adjustments made to keep one from overpowering the other(s). If you have a heavyweight trim or fabric for piping, does it give? Is the fabric cut on the bias? It is not forgiving around corners if it's cut on the crossgrain.  But crossgrain is easier and quicker to cut. Also, remember that piping will have double the thickness in the SA.

Also, I found it easiest to baste the piping, then baste it to the pillow front, then stitch the zipper, then stitch to the pillow back. That way if you have to take it apart, the basting stitches are much easier to remove, especially on thicker SA's. I hope my mistakes will help someone else not say any ugly words. Because I said quite a few! 


This was my first attempt:

The piping is much larger on this one, but notice the dog ears?  That isn't pretty!  Normally I cut my fabric in on the top edges about 1/2" angling toward the middle so I don't get those dogears.  But on this one, I thought I could maneuver the piping to get that same effect.  I was wrong.  When I took these apart, I cut the fabric like I normally do before I put the piping back on.

Don't mind that chair in the background.  I have a slipcover to make for it.  That's next on my list.

Happy Friday!!


  1. How beautifully these all turned out!! I can just imagine what a frustrating experience that was with the piping and the fraying and the zipper :( Thanks for all the tips!

    1. Thank you Kim. I am happy to share my experience so someone else won't have to pull their hair out like I did. LOL