Today’s Show and Tell is a little bit of a departure from my normal sewing paths. While in this learning phase of sewing, I’ve been a mostly selfish sewer. A short time ago, however, my friend Mary asked if I would be willing to make some pillows for her. Her father-in-law had passed away and she wanted some of his favorite clothing to be made into pillows for her daughters to have as keepsakes of their grandfather. I thought it sounded like a great idea, as well as a fun challenge for me. I finished them early this week, and I thought you might like a look.
Mary gave me a sweater, two blazers, a flannel shirt, and a pair of pants. She had already washed the sweater, but I washed and dried the other items twice to make them shrink as much as possible so that if her daughters ever needed to wash the pillow covers, they could use the washer and dryer (rather than a dry cleaner) without fear of shrinking them.
I got a little nervous when I did this. Everything looked so frayed and crazy. I thought, “What if I don’t have enough fabric to make these pillows?!!!” But then I turned on American Pickers, got my scissors out, and started deconstructing and ironing. I saved all the buttons, tags, and anything else that seemed useful in case I wanted to incorporate it later. Eventually I got everything into neat little pieces.
At that point I began to see where I wanted to go with the pillows. Mary had given me the pillow forms for the project, so I knew the dimensions I needed to sew to.
Then, I got into a thinking and procrastinating phase with several projects at once: not sure of all the pillow designs, problems with the bathing suit I’m sewing (yes, I’m still making versions of the Soma Swimsuit), and fitting issues with some shorts I had started. Finally, I decided, it was time to FINISH things!
Back to work! (At least on the things I had a clear direction for–the other ideas would come in due time.)
Luckily Mary had given me complete creative license, so I could do what I wanted. I also tried to take the quality up a notch. I don’t go back and fix all my mistakes in my own garments, but I made sure to fix off-center button holes and buttons and finish all my seams in this project. Gotta get professional, here!
Finally, I figured all my design and construction questions out, and I finished!!!
This pillow was made from the two blazers (the striped front) and the pants (the gray back).
I made this one from the gray pants and the cotton flannel shirt (the red).
Finally, there is the pillow made from the sweater. The buttons and button holes are stabilized with strips of the gray pants material underneath.
In the end, I was really happy with how these turned out–happy with the quality, happy with the designs, and really happy that I hadn’t ruined the fabric! The best part, though, was that Mary was really happy with them. Hopefully her daughters will love them, too, and enjoy having them as a way to remember their grandfather.