Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DIY "You Are My Sunshine" Reversible Pillow

Did you ever have a project practically design itself in your head, but you were too chicken to try it because you weren’t sure your skills were up to the task? Yep, that’s me—most of the time. But this time, when an idea for an appliquéd reversible pillow jumped into my head, I took the plunge—in spite of the fact that I had NEVER even sewed a pillow before, let alone appliquéd anything! I can be so naïve sometimes… LOL :)  (Of course, it helped that I already had my sewing machine out for another project!)

Before I hardly knew what I was doing, I had a pillow form out, along with a quilt/blanket (that I had picked up at Goodwill solely for its gorgeous colors/pattern combos) that I thought would make a good premade background :) I folded the quilt over at a point that left a mostly “blank” front panel, and a multi-patterned back. Then I cut a square out just barely larger than the pillow form, leaving the folded edge uncut (no measuring or tracing here—I was on a roll! At least I remembered to take a few pictures!) I flipped the panel inside out and sewed up two of the remaining three open sides, leaving one open to get the pillow form in.

I used white iron-on letters (that I had bought for a different project) to form the “You Are My”… but I didn’t have anything big enough for the “Sunshine”! Nor am I the privileged owner of a Silhouette or Cricut machine with which I could have easily cut them out (of course, if someone has an extra one that want to send me, I am always accepting donations!) :) So I made the blue letters the hard way—I used my computer to create large block letters approximately the size I wanted, and printed them out. Then I cut each paper letter out with scissors, traced them onto another piece of fabric from the quilt, and cut each fabric letter out individually. Not an easy task! (But, as I was soon to discover, it was not the hardest part of this project!)

I cut the little bird out of two different fabrics (also cut from the quilt), using this template from Charcoal & Crayons.

The iron-on letters were easy to adhere, but I had to figure out how to hold the blue letters, as well as the bird, on to the pillow. I knew I wanted to stitch them on, but I needed a way to hold them in place while I did so.  The solution: my trusty glue gun-- “basting” the letters in place with tiny dollops of glue! (As a matter of fact, the hot glue ended up holding much better than the iron-on lettering!) Then it was back to the sewing machine to zig-zag stitch first around the bird, and then the blue lettering. Unfortunately, it took me quite a bit of time—and frustration—to get the stitch width & tension ratio right - one that kept the stitches tight enough without constantly breaking the thread! Arghh!

Finally (after over an hour of sewing, seam-ripping, thread-cutting, needle-rethreading, and re-sewing) I got the blue letters “stitched”. Unfortunately, by this time, the iron-on letters were coming loose because of all the fabric wrangling—so I had to sew them on as well (this time stitching just inside the edge of the letter, so the stitching wasn’t as obvious)!

By this time I was QUITE sick of my sewing machine, but I still had to figure out how to close up the open end of the pillow cover. I considered buttons, and even a zipper (DEFINITELY beyond my skill level)—but in the end, the easy way won out again: my trusty glue gun! I simply folded over the open side like I was wrapping a present, and hot-glued the edges down! Tada!

Here is what the back of the pillow looks like (I told you it was reversible!):

All in all, I am pretty happy with my spur-of-the-moment, waaayy-above-my-skill-level project! I think the imperfections add to the whimsical, primitive charm (at least, that’s what I keep telling myself! Just don’t look too close…) :)

Pillow form: $1.00 (thrift store)
Quilt: $3.99 (thrift store)
Iron-on letters: 2 packs @ 3.99 ea + 40% off Jo-Ann Fabrics coupon = $4.79
Doing something that I didn’t think I could do: PRICELESS

So what are you waiting for? What project is scaring you away? Get out there and prove that nagging doubter in your head wrong!!! :)

five days five ways | because every day is different

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  1. Oh my goodness!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! That is sooo adorable and you did an amaaaazing job!!! I love whimsy birds ;) and yes the fact that you made and it isn't quite perfect just makes me love it all the more! I'm sure it does the same for you :)

  2. I love this pillow! Great choice of fabric. Thanks for sharing on Marvelous Mondays! Please note, I changed my blog name from Jam's Corner to This Gal Cooks. Same blog, different name. I hope to see you at next week's party!

    Also, I will be featuring this on my blog today. Please be sure to stop by and check out the features post. :)


    1. I updated your blog name on all of my links. Thank you so much for the feature! :)


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