Making Shabby Chic Pillows while Practicing Sewing Techniques!


Who doesn’t love pillows?  Soft, ruffled, pretty pillows to dress up our homes or just our special area of  our home,  our “comfort zone” where we read and relax, or do a bit of needlework, or just take a break with a cup of tea and a little snack before the hectic business of life resumes.


Button Closure

I have been working on some easy, but lovely, Shabby Chic Pillows to share with you using different methods of closures which will help you to practice techniques such as buttonholes and zippers and envelope backs.  Creating the pillows goes much quicker than writing the directions and drawing sewing patterns, so it will be a few more days before they are ready for sharing.




In the meantime start looking at pretty floral prints that would look nice in your “comfort zone” and prepare to start sewing Shabby Chic Pillows on Monday, May 19.

For a 15″ x 22″ pillow with ruffle, you will need 1 yard of fabric.  For a 15″ x 22″ pillow with a same fabric ruffle: 1 yard for the pillow cover.  The first pillow will have an envelope closure so you will not need any other materials to construct your pillow.


Seam Finishes

Want to give your creations a professional finishing?  Take a few extra minutes and give the seams a final touch which will look good, keep fabric from raveling, and in the case of an unlined jacket or vest, will make the inside of the garment look as good as the outside.  I have used contrasting thread so it is easier for you to see the stitching.

My favorite way to finish my seams is with the French Seam.  Basically it is having the raw seam edges bound inside another seam.  It works especially well on children’s clothing as I have never known one to come undone.

Sew both pieces of fabric, wrong sides together, 1/4″ from the edge. FRENCH SEAM - a copy Press the seam to set it.  Open and turn the fabric right sides together, press the fold, stitch 3/8″ from the fold. FRENCH SEAM - b copy Press toward the back of the garment.  That’s all there is to it.  A beautiful finish to your seams.



FOLD OVER SEAM -a FOLD OVER SEAM -b FOLD OVER SEAM -cSew your seam as usual, 5/8″.   Press, fold 1/4″ toward stitching, press, on each side of the seam allowance.  Stitch seam allowance scant 3/8″ from each fold.  Press open.

This is another good finish for fabrics which tend to unravel.





Sew seam as usual, press open, then sew seam binding over each raw edge.BOUND SEAM

This is a very nice finish when making an unlined jacket or vest.





Sew the seam as usual, then stitch 1/4″ to 3/8″ along each allowance edge.  Now trim the seam edges using pinking shears.


With wrong sides facing, sew the seam.  Trim away one of the seam allowances to 1/4″.  Fold the other seam allowance over the newly trimmed edge meeting at the stitch line, press, lay flat and stitch close to the fold edge.



Sewing 101: the Tool Kit

Getting started with sewing.

The first sewing project I’ve posted is a simple, easy to make bag for carrying small items such as an eReader like a Kindle or Nook.  This is an easy first project for beginners, but what if you are even newer to sewing and have never made anything more than clothes for your dolls.  There are many classes and videos available to that I will gladly recommend to help get you started.  For a person-to-person beginner class I highly recommend signing up at a Joann’s Fabric and Craft Store for one of their classes.  In addition to these classes, there are many very good beginner sewing videos on You-Tube which will definitely get you on your way. is a great place to begin.

Topic 1:  Getting started, tools and equipment.

There a few basic tools you should have in your tool kit, aside from those that came with your sewing machine.

SCISSORS.   So many to choose from, but which do we really need?  Gefiskarsscissorst what feels     good in your hand.  It needn’t be costly and heavy.  Fiskars makes very good     scissors, at very affordable prices, in different shapes and sizes.  For large     cutting projects I find it more comfortable to use a scissor with a longer blade and a slightly bent grip.  For snipping bits of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthread, a small scissor, about 4″ is sufficient.  I recommend having one more of intermediate size simply because it comes in handy for cutting patterns, trimming seams, and most other uses not mentioned.


Notions.   All those little things that come in handy:
1.  NEEDLES:     For both hand and machine sewing.  Have an assortment of sizes.
2.  SEAM RIPPER:  a must for the sewing kit.
3.  SLIDE MEASURER.  This is a small metal ruler with a slit down the middle, and a slider which moves along the slit.  It measures about 6″.     Sewing-Tools
4.  BOBBIN BOX.  A little box in which to hold/store your bobbins.  These accumulate quickly when you sew with lots of colored threads.  And if you do most of your sewing in one color,  it is useful to have several “filled” bobbins ready to use.  Although any type of container will do, the small plastic boxes with dividers which are made to hold bobbins are very handy.
5.  THREAD BOX.  A box to hold/store spools of thread.  Any box will do.
6.  PINS.  There are never too many pins.  Different sizes for different weight fabrics, just keep them separate one size from another.
7.   MAGNET.  It makes finding, and retrieving dropped pins much easier.
sewing+tools+2 8.   FABRIC MARKER.  A chalk pencil is handy for marking your fabric, and it brushes off.  The washable or disappearing markers work great too.
9.    MEASURING TAPE.  This speaks for itself.

SEWING MACHINE FEET.  Your machine came with a few different presser feet, which are generally used     for different types of sewing.  I have found that I tend to use the same two presser feet for just about all my sewing:  the foot that came already attached, for general sewing; and the zipper foot, for attaching zippers and also for sewing in “tight or awkward spots”.

Keep all these tools in a central area so you won’t need to try and find them later when you need them.  A plastic “tote” storage box, a hat-box, an unused tool box or even an old silverware box work fine.  Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to be creative at the same time.