Friday, May 18, 2012

Pennies & Lace Pillow, Part 4: Putting it all Together

Although this month's free pattern seems to be following in the footsteps of the "Rocky" movies - with new installments appearing ad infinitum - you may rest assured that this IS the final segment. (It's also less of a tutorial, and more of a photo documentary.)

And now, the exciting conclusion to the seemingly endless saga of ...

The Pennies & Lace Pillow

Here are my fabrics all stacked up: decorator fabric for the back of the pillow, stripes for the piping (click here for a tutorial on making your own piping), rosy for the front border, and plain muslin to go under the crochet. All the fabrics came from my stash.

(I would have liked to use the decorator fabric on the front of the pillow, but the fabric print was not square; try as I might, I couldn't figure out a symmetrical and attractive way to center the crochet on it.)

1/4" seams were used throughout.

The final size of the pillow was determined by the width of the decorator fabric. It was originally half a yard wide, but after washing and drying it measured a scant 15¾". So I cut a square that size from the decorator fabric for the pillow back. (I wanted a solid back, without any seams or joins.)

The P&L topper, after blocking, measured 10¼" square. I knew it had room to stretch a bit (and being cotton it probably would stretch), so I allowed an extra 1/4" all around which yielded a final measurement of 10¾" square for the topper. To this I added another 1/4" all around for seam allowances and cut my plain muslin 11¼" square.

This left me room for a 2¼" wide border (with seam allowances, 2¾" wide). I cut the pink strips 3" wide so as to have a bit of margin for error. (I knew I could trim them after attaching them to the muslin.)

Side pieces attached first (and seams pressed towards the outside):

Then top and bottom pieces attached and seams again pressed outward:

Then the edges were trimmed a bit, to square up the piece and make it the same size as the backing.

Time to pin the topper to the fabric. You can see that it's a bit small all the way around - just the way I wanted it.

I pinned the corners first, then the midpoints of each side of the square, then the quarterpoints (is that a word?). Rather than stretching the topper, this puckered the fabric - but I was pretty sure the topper would eventually relax.

With the needle just inside the topper's edge, I stitched the topper down, using matching thread, the lightest presser foot pressure, and a long stitch setting.

The stitching sank into the crochet and virtually disappeared. The top was still a bit puckery, but I was still betting on it relaxing later.

Time to apply the piping and assemble the pillow. Some intrepid souls do this in one fell swoop, sandwiching their layers together and stitching with impunity. I am not intrepid. I decided to baste my piping to the pillow top first.

The piping seam allowance was too wide, so I trimmed off about 1/4" (freehand, with scissors - perhaps I'm more intrepid than I realize)...

...then applied as per usual to the pillow top by matching edges and basting a scant 1/4" in. I didn't do any clipping at the corners, just rounded them gently.

At this point, a true piping purist would have: marked the spot where the beginning and end met, opened the piping, cut off the excess fabric on the bias (allowing extra for seams), cut the cording in the appropriate spot so there would be no overlap, butted the ends, then stitched the piping back together (on the bias) - thus forming an invisible join.

I am not a piping purist. I much prefer this quick-and-dirty, overlap-and-angle-off-the-edge method.

Good enough for me! (Can this the woman who puts invisible joins into all her crochet projects?)

Almost done now. The layers were pinned right sides together (AND I remembered to mark an opening for stuffing insertion), then the seam was sewn - on the flip side, so I could see the basting lines and keep my final stitches inside them.

And here's the pillow slip, turned right side out. Looks good to me! (I really like that decorator fabric, and still wish I could have figured out a symmetrical way to use it on the front of the pillow.)

Because the decorator fabric is loosely woven and has a tendency to fray, I turned the pillow slip wrong-side out again, and zigzagged around the edges. (I also zigzagged the decorator-fabric side of the opening, and stay-stitched 1/4" from the edge.)

Then the whole thing was turned right-side out for the last time, and stuffed. As the stuffing went in, the crochet piece relaxed and the fabric puckering disappeared.

The opening was pinned...

...then hand-stitched shut.

Invisible stitches!

The pillow now decorates our living room.

Proud moment: when one's husband walks into the living room within 24 hours of new pillow installation, and not only NOTICES the new pillow, but says (voluntarily), "Wow, that pillow looks really good." Extra points for Mr. M.


P.S. I haven't sewn a square cushion in years, so I forgot this helpful tip: the corners would be less assertively pointy if I had trimmed off about 1/4" from all corner edges, tapering in to meet the original edges. (I remembered this after I finished the pillow. Too late now. I'm not enough of a perfectionist to take the whole thing apart, trim the corners, and re-install the piping - so I'll just leave the corners the way they are. "Perky" is their motto.)

P.P.S. In the unlikely event you missed the first 3 posts for this project, here are some quick links:

Part 1: The Pennies & Lace Block
Part 2: Joining the Blocks
Part 3: The Border

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  1. I'm giggling at your PS!!! How many of us have done that very same thing!!!

    I especially love that you used stash material for this. And the whole project came together so beautifully.

    More than points for Mr. M. He's a keeper!!!

  2. This is gorgeous! I have to go back and look at the rest of the pics.

  3. Oh my goodness!!! That is so adorable!!!! The backing fabric is so perfectly perfect for the beautiful crochet!!!

    And "assertively pointy" made me giggle...and it still is when I think of it in my head!!! ....yea, I know, I need to grow up!!! ;)

  4. This project is lovely and your tutorials have been brilliant...I started making a crochet cushion many moons ago, the long and short of it, after putting it down, I can't work out how I did the first square to replicate annoying, I definitely need a book to write things in, but then I may become so organised I'd be dangerous!

  5. Wow, I really like your pillow!
    A lot of work, but looks to be well worth it.

  6. I like your pillow and would never have imagined all the things you assembled would end up looking like that. Don't know what that makes me?! Have a great weekend. Joan

  7. It looks so homely and squashily comfy. Lovely job :D

  8. How talented are you?! This is so beautiful! Plus, 'perky' is good, right? It's all good. Remember? :)


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