Finishes

Mr. and Mrs. Pillows: A Quilted Applique Project

We were so excited for Nicole and Ryan, my brother-in-law  and sister-in-law to move into their new home, and I had planned to make a special gift of any sort of a quilty nature for them.  When I interviewed Nicole about what they might need, she quickly settled on a couple of throw pillows with text on them.  I ended up scouring Pinterest and came up with these  on howtodecorate.com for my inspiration:

I started working on the project before Christmas, with the idea that I would have time to get it done on time for our just-after-Christmas family get-together.  I printed off the letters,  traced the letters onto fusible interfacing backwards, fused the interfacing onto medium grey Kona solid fabric when, suddenly all my plans were halted by a nasty Christmas Flu bug.   I knew I was really sick when I was not interested in trying to sew for a few days in a row.  Finally, I got up the energy to cut the letters out, while sitting on the couch under my heating pad, wrapped in a couple of sweaters and a blanket.

On day 5 of the flu of a lifetime, my dear daughter made me some chicken soup and knocked me back on track.

I finally I managed to raw-edge applique the letters on the 18″ square solid white background before running out of time.  Because Nicole’s style is very clean and sleek, I opted to use a bold straight stitch in the same hue as the letters to pin it down, rather than a buttonhole stitch or zigzag.


I admitted my hold-up at the Christmas party, and was then granted nearly three months of grace period before these bad boys needed to be finished, since I knew we would certainly be getting together for  my nephew’s birthday in March.   The project was shelved while I worked on some other finish-a-long priorities.

Then came early March.  I pulled the pillows out and sandwiched-up with plenty of safety pins:

Then, I decided to go for simple straight-line walking foot quilting, vertically.  I marked  a registration mark with painter’s tape and got sewing with trusty Liz, here.

Then I realized that I could have saved myself a ton of effort by simply doing the quilting before doing the appliqué.  I had to contour each letter  and attempt to make the lines match up, which is quite a challenge when using irregular spacing between lines of quilting. Oopsie!

Once the quilting was completed, I opted to finish the pillows using an envelope closure technique found in Alexandra Ledgerwood’s book, Improvising Tradition. I chose to bind it in the same background white to keep the focus on the text.

I finished with my teal and grey labels on the back, and was satisfied that this six-months-late housewarming gift would finally make it home to the Mr. and Mrs. of their new home!   These pillows mark the third Finish of quarter 1-2017 for the Finish-A-Long!  To see my original list, click HERE.

Here is a picture Nicole posted on Instagram :

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7 thoughts on “Mr. and Mrs. Pillows: A Quilted Applique Project

    1. They are a great gift and finish up fairly quickly! I just learned how to make a zippered closure for a pillow cover (My scrappy reindeer project) and now I think that is the method I prefer for finishing pillows. It saves a lot of polyester fibre fill if you can switch out pillows from season to season and it makes laundering the pillow if it gets soiled a whole lot easier. Prior to that I always made my pillow covers with the envelope method, which sometimes is less than perfect looking on the wrong side. I hope you will try a pillow, and of course blog about it so I can see your nice work!

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      1. Well, it has been done! I mention a fellow blogger in my reindeer post who gave me the idea. Although you can never have too many tutorials. Different people have a different way of putting things. You never know, maybe someday!

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