Getting back in the game: sewing a throw pillow on a whim

Between a new job, wedding planning, and a move to a new apartment, I haven’t had much time for pursuits of my hobbies. I reached a point last week where I had to leave work early out of sheer exhaustion and I realized something had to change. I decided that I’m sick of running around constantly, ignoring the part of myself that actually makes me happy: my creative side.

I attended my first dance class in months last week and it felt like I was finally myself again (or a very inflexible version of myself). I took Friday off from work and decided to really spend some time this weekend tackling some projects on my list. Most importantly, I decided that I HAD to sew something. It had simply been too long.

I had some extra fabric laying around that I had always envisioned as a good fabric for a pillow. While I had never made a pillow before, I figured it couldn’t be too hard. After a quick trip to Joanns to get a pillow, I was ready to wing it.

I started by placing the pillow on the fabric and using my rotary cutter to cut a rectangle slightly larger that the pillow to allow for seam allowances.

Then I doubled it (and straightened out the wonky shape a little)

After cutting out both sides, I pinned three sides together

And got to sewing. Once I had the three sides sewn, I tried the pillow inside to see if it would fit:

It was pretty much a perfect fit! I was feeling pretty confidant. Then, I realized I didn’t know how to sew it closed with the pillow inside… Awkward.

After brainstorming for a few minutes, buttons seemed like the logical (and only) solution. Luckily I had a few in my sewing supply box, so after picking a few out and guessing where I’d like them, I marked by placement with tailor’s chalk and finished the edges:

I was ready for the buttons. There was only one problem, I had no idea how to use the button hole foot on my sewing machine. After a few minutes with the manual and a phone call with my mom where I made sure NOT to mention the pillow for fear of jinxing it, I gave it a shot.

I don’t know how they used to make button holes, but oh man was this easier than I thought it was going to be! Infused with confidence, I added 5 more button holes and sewed on the buttons on the other side. The final product looked like this:


not totally even spacing but no one should be looking!

I was so proud of myself, despite my obvious lack of planning of how to close the case. I feel like this is a better solution since we can take the case off and wash it if needed (and with my track record of spilling things, it will be needed)!

I think this was the perfect project to get me back in the game! I’m looking forward to burning through more of my fabric stash and getting some projects done. Nothing feels better than walking in to your house and knowing that you made something there.

It makes our new couch seem so much more special to me! I still have some of the fabric left so hopefully I can make a mate for this little guy this weekend!

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The dress that I shouldn’t have tried to make (yet)

Many moons ago I set out to sew a dress. I saw a pattern that I loved, bought some fabric and set out to make a classic dress that I could wear again and again. I believe it was 2012 at the time. Maybe 2013 if I’m being generous. The dress: Cynthia Rowley Simplicity Design pattern 2443.

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 10.12.32 PM
Adorable, timeless and casual

I cut out the pieces and would occasionally do a little bit of work on the pieces here or there. Then I would set it aside for months at a time, only to return and do one more thing thinking that I would eventually finish this thing.

The problem with that theory is that I needed to actually do things correctly. I am a beginner when it comes to sewing, and this was my first dress I was attempting to make at home that was more than just stretch cotton to sleep in. This dress has pockets (YESSSSSS), a zipper, and a fitted waist band. It also includes horrendously awful instructions. Every step I took was wrong. I would read the instructions, call my mom, read them to her, then pull her up on skype or facetime so we could look at the fabric together and then eventually I would know what to do for the next step. All in all, I probably made this dress 3 times if I did everything right the first time.

This weekend I finally decided that enough was enough and I was going to finish this damn thing. So off I went to make mistakes and redo every step. Finally, late on Sunday night I finished.

The front.
The front.
The back
The back

Since I started making this thing in 2013, its a little tight on me now. With that in mind I won’t be modeling it for you on here in great lighting, but I did take a picture with my phone:

pardon the mess
pardon the mess

There are certainly mistakes, and my version doesn’t look as good as some of the versions online, but I finished and I think I could actually wear this dress in public without people assuming I made it myself. For someone who only makes pajamas normally, this was a big accomplishment for me!

I think with a little more practice (and cardio) this is a pattern that I could return to and do again. That said, this was a difficult project and I’m super proud of myself for finishing! Now on to a few easier projects to boost my confidence and use up some of my fabric stash!

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