Wednesday, August 24, 2016

SHOE DIY: Printed Ankle Wrap Espadrille Sandals

These Printed Ankle Wrap Espadrille Sandals are made with upcycled espadrille soles, cotton fat quarter fabrics (outer from P & B Textiles), Fairfield World interfacings, and Dritz supplies. This is a great way to take old espadrilles and make them into new fabulous sandals. There are endless options for cotton fat quarter fabrics, which could lead to an obsession with making your own shoes. This is less of a warning, than a reason to make things. Head over to Fairfield World to make these Printed Ankle Wrap Espadrille Sandals.


Fairfield World, Dritz, and P & B Textiles sent me their products to use. Fairfield World paid me to create these shoes. The project, opinions, and tutorial are my own.

Monday, August 15, 2016

HOME DECOR DIY: Oversized Lap Desk For Mermaids

I made this oversized lap desk with an abstract mermaid pattern, for a Fairfield World Poly Pellet's challenge with our Master Makers team. I use lap boards every day. I sit on the couch with a lap desk to work on projects, paint and eat. Quite often the ones I find aren't large enough to sit big projects, which leads to me having to move to my work table, and out from under my pile of blankets and warm cat snuggles. I have a stash of thrifted finds to use in projects. My daughter found this old oversized tray in my thrift stash. I looked at it for a while, in the correct orientation, unsure if it would work. Then I flipped it over. The back is nice and smooth, perfect for work on large projects! For the artwork, I chose an abstract mermaid scale pattern. You could paint any design you want. I used black cotton fabric, reinforced with Fairfield World Smooth interfacing, for the bottom.


SUPPLIES:
Most of these are Amazon Affiliate links. Any purchases using those links, will result in Amazon paying me a small commision. Fairfield World and Dritz provided me with their products for this project. DecoArt provided me with some of the paint. Fairfield World paid me to create this project. I use these links as references to show you the products I used, if possible.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) My tray has black handles that are screwed on. I unscrewed the handles. I set them aside with the screws attached to the handles. If your tray doesn't have handles, skip this step.

2) Flip the tray over. Using the wide flat paintbrush and white gesso, paint the tray back and sides. Let dry and repeat in a different direction. Let fully dry between layers. Once fully dry, sand the surface, to remove any bumps. Use a paper towel to remove the dust. Rinse and dry the paintbrush.

3) Squeeze a little of each paint color, except black, onto one or two paper plates. I used two, because I had too many colors for just one plate.

4) Paint an abstract patchwork using all the colors. I try to balance out the shades. Some colors might need multiple coats until the color is opaque and not streaky. Let the paint dry between coats, for more even coverage. There's no wrong way to do this.

5) Squeeze some black paint onto a paper plate. With the liner brush, paint alternating scales. These are basic curves like you would do to form a D.

6) For the sides, continue the edge colors down in stripes. Rinse and dry the paintbrush between each color. With black, paint semi-evenly spaced stripe lines. I segmented the colored stripes with black lines. The line don't need to be even. We're going for whimsy, not perfection. Rinse and dry the paintbrush. Let the paint dry completely.

7) Shake the Krylon Clear Polyurethane can for 1-2 minutes. Spray a thin even coat on the top and sides. Let dry for 15-30 minutes. If it's humid outside, bring the tray inside to dry. Give the tray a second coat.

8) Screw the handles back onto the tray.

9) Measure the outer tray edge. My tray is 18" by 21.75". Add 5" to each measurement. That made mine 23" by 26.75. On the black cotton, with the ruler and dressmaker's pencil, mark out a rectangle that is the exact tray measurements and another than is the increased measurements. On the Smooth fusible interfacing, mark out a rectangle that is slightly larger than the increased measurements. Cut out all piece.

10) Iron the cotton rectangles flat. Fuse the bigger rectangle to the Smooth rectangle. Fold in the edges 1/2" and iron into place.

11) Load the sewing machine with black thread. Straight stitch 1/4" from the folded edges.

12) On the Smooth side, with the black marker, draw squares 1.5"-2" in at each corner.

13) Fold the corners along those lines, like a dart. Straight stitch down those lines. This boxes out the fabric. Trim the bulk back to 1/4".

14) Center the smaller rectangle inside the Smooth rectangle. Straight pin in place. At the sewing machine, straight stitch around the smaller rectangle's edges, leaving a 6" gap. This is a separation for the Poly-Pellets, so they don't mix with the Poly-Fil.

15) Cut one corner of a Poly-Pellets bag. Pour the pellets into the separation, through the gap. I used three full bags.

16) Straight stitch the gap closed.

17) Center the tray onto the smaller rectangle. Plug in the hot glue gun and add a glue stick. The glue is a temporary hold, before adding nails. Work one side at a time, lifting the tray slightly. Hot glue the fabric edges along the tray sides, overlapping about 1/2"-1". Leave one side open.

18) Stuff the tray and fabric with Poly-Fil.

19) Hot glue that last fabric edge to the tray.

20) Prop the tray up on one side. Starting by a corner, hold one decorative nail with your fingers or pliers. Using the tack hammer, hammer the nail into the wood tray. Repeat by the other corner. Then, the center. I continued to divide the section with nails, to make the nails as evenly spaced as possible. If you wanted these exactly even, measure with the ruler and mark with the dressmaker's pencil. I eyeballed it. Next time, I might measure.

That's all for this project. All week, the Fairfield World Master Makers will be posting their Poly-Pellets challenge projects. I'm currently on vacation and unable to link to those for you all. I'll throw their project links on here, if I can, when I return. Like I mentioned before, you can choose any design and colors you want. I think this design is pretty simple and imperfect, which is great for beginner painters. My tray is oversized, but your tray might be smaller. This project can be scaled to any size. Just remember that smaller trays may not need as many Poly-Pellets to weight the bottom, so use less bags for a small tray. Whatever you're making, have fun with it! Happy Makery!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

CLOTHING DIY: Rocking Rainbow Unicorn Appliqued Jean Jacket

This rocking rainbow unicorn appliqued jean jacket is perfect for the 1st week of school, whether you’re a student or a teacher. I gave my old jean jacket a makeover, with a motif my teenage daughter chose. I did all the artwork and applique, to cheer her up. It came out better than I expected. Now, this is a design I custom created for my daughter, but you could pick any design you wanted. If you aren't artsy, use a simple coloring page to make pattern pieces, focusing on adding smaller detail pieces to a larger background piece...like I added the head details to a big head piece. I plan on making a different version for myself, with "Let's Get Crafty" on the back and other design elements. Head over to Fairfield World to make your own rocking rainbow unicorn appliqued jean jacket.

Fairfield World provided me with their Stick Fusible Interfacing for this project. They paid me to create this project. The fabric, I purchased at Jo-Ann. The project and tutorial is my own creation.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

SHOE DIY: Dritz Embroidered Floral Wedge Espadrilles

Dritz came out with new wedge espadrille soles, as part of their customizable espadrilles line. I used some Fairfield World Smooth fusible interfacing to give the fabric uppers extra support for general wear and floral embroidery. To add color to the wedge soles, I used DecoArt Americana Acrylic paints, in colors that matched the embroidery floss. This is my 2nd pair of Dritz espadrilles that I've made. I wanted them more customized and reflective of my art style. My 1st pair, Polka Dot Ankle Wraps Espadrilles, are flat using the available Dritz fabrics. While I've been doing embroidery for about 30 years (no joke!), if you are a beginner, I found this awesome video that shows 7 Basic Embroidery Stitches. For this project, I used chain stitches, French knots, and blanket stitch. Blanket stitch on a 3D object...the edge of the shoes...is trickier than on flat fabric, but I found this awesome Dritz espadrille blanket stitch video on Instagram by Deepika Prakash.


SUPPLIES:
Fairfield World, Dritz, and DecoArt provided me with their products for this project. Fairfield World paid me to create this project. Some of the links are Amazon Affiliate links. Any purchases made using those links, will result in Amazon paying me a small percentage of the sales.

However, I use these links mostly to show you what the products look like. You can find much of this in your local big craft and fabric stores, for less than Amazon with coupons and sales. That's certainly what I normally do for supplies I have to pay for, like embroidery floss for 40c a skein. The floss colors I listed are close to what I used, which was probably 20 years old, from my aunt, and I'm unsure of the brand. I restocked my floss with DMC brand, and tried to get close matches.

TOOLS:

INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Squeeze a little of each paint color onto the paper plate. Using the small flat paintbrush, paint each braid a different color. The top and bottom braids are both Carousel Pink, because they intersect. Rinse and dry your brush between each color. From top the bottom, the color order is Carousel Pink, Banana Cream, Coral Shell, Bubble Gum Pink, Saffron Yellow, Melon, and Carousel Pink. Add a second coat of any colors where the natural braid color is still showing.

2) With Carousel Pink and a bigger flat paintbrush, paint both insoles. Let dry completely, and paint a 2nd coat. I can't promise that this paint will hold up to heavy wear. It blends the edges, so they aren't obvious later when sewing the uppers to the heel. I looked at the finished uppers on the heels before choosing to do this step. However, I'm putting this step towards the beginning, so the paint has plenty of drying time.


3) Open up the fashion outer and lining fabrics. Steam iron them both flat. Set the lining aside. Cut a piece of Smooth Fusible Interfacing the same size as the fashion outer fabric. Place the Smooth onto the outer fabric, rough glue side down. Iron the two piece together, working slowly, so the glue bonds to the fabric.

4) Remove the pattern from the soles packaging. For this project, cut out the heel and toe patterns to the size of your sole. With the dressmaker's pencil, trace these twice on both the outer and lining fabrics. Trace the patterns close together, leaving a large section without anything on it. This section will be used later for the ankle strap. Cut out the lining fabric along the traced lines, and set these pieces aside. Cut the outer fabric loosely around the lines, to leave handling room for the embroidery. Trace the dart lines for the heels onto the heel fabric pieces.

5) With the dressmaker's pencil, mark the center line of each outer toe piece. Lightly draw a design. Mine is a stylized take on flower petals. I used two strands of embroidery floss at a time. Thread the hand sewing needle with Geranium embroidery floss. Knot one end. Chain stitch along the outer arches. When your thread is running low, knot off on the back. Thread more embroidery floss, knot one end, and continue chain stitching. Chain stitch the middle arches with Light Coral. Chain stitch the inner arches and make French knots with Light Topaz. If you have trouble with French knots (they are tricky) either skip them or use single stitches. When you are finished embroidering both toe outers, carefully cut along the pattern lines, making sure not to cut through your embroidery.

6) For the heels, I realized after I did the embroidery and went to sew the darts, that my embroidery didn't line up at that seam and I had to redo that section. Ugh. My hindsight, and your foresight. At the sewing machine, load it with black thread. Sew the darts closed on both of the outer and lining heels pieces. Then, on the outer pieces, draw your embroidery design and embroider it. This embroidery is actually upside down. The dart side will be attached to the heel. Whoops. It still looks cool this way, so I just rolled with it, and we'll pretend this placement was intentional. That last outer row of French knots was unnecessary, as they became skewed while doing the blanket stitching later. Hindsight...but they still look pretty.

7) Pair up the lining and outer pieces, right sides together. Back at the sewing machine, zigzag stitch around the pieces, along the cut edge. On the toes, leave a 3"-4" gap, for turning the pieces. I found the gap is easiest to sew together later, if the gap is on the side. For the heels, leave 2" gaps on either side about 1" down from the top. I made one slightly larger than the other, to make turning easier. These are where the strap pieces will go later. Turn the pieces inside out. Use the Dritz point turner to help shape the corners. For the toe pieces, fold the gap edges in, and pin in place. Top stitch around the sides, close to the edge.

8) Back to the leftover outer fabric. Cut four rectangles 2" by 10". Make these rectangles longer if you have bigger ankles. My ankles and wrists seem to say the same size, even if every other part of me got bigger over time. Go figure, it's the shoes that always fit. Which reminds me of the movie "In Her Shoes". If you haven't seen it, you should, for many reasons other than great shoes. Anywho, pair the rectangles right sides together. Zigzag stitch around the sides about 1/4 from the edge, leaving a short edge open. Trim the sewn corners, making sure not to cut through the thread. Turn the pieces inside out. I found turning these tricky, because of the interfacing. Instead, I sewed one long and one short edge, trimmed the corners, turned the piece, folded in the open long edge securing it with pins, and top stitched around the closed sides. Whichever sewing mething you use, the straps need to be topstitched, for added stability.

9) Cut 2.5" matching pieces of hook and loop tape. Towards the strap end, straight stitch a rough hook piece. About 1/2" away, along the strap, stitch one fuzzy loop piece. Repeat for the other strap.

10) For the other strap pieces, cut two 2" squares. On one square, fold in two opposite sides until the meet. Topstitch along the folded edges. Slip the folded square through one slide adjuster hole. Fold over the square. Topstitch the folded fabric closed by the slide adjuster and back down the sides. Repeat with the other square and slide adjuster.

11) Slip the strap pieces into the gaps of the heel, folding in the raw edges. Straight pin all of the gaps closed. Topstitch straight around the sides, close to the edge. Backstitch where the straps are, for extra durability.

12) Center the toe piece. Use the glass head pins to secure the toe piece to the matching shoe's insole. Repeat with the heel pieces, with the slide adjusters on the outer sides. I pinned and sewed one shoe at a time.

13) To start, cut a long piece of black creative yarn. Pull it through the yarn wax several times. The wax makes the yarn easier to sew through the layers. Fold over the yarn  about 1", at one end. Push the fold through the big straight needle from the assorted needles pack. I liked using the straight needle, but if you like the curved needle better, definitely use that one instead. Knot off one end of the yarn. Use the pliers to pull it tight. I found a double knot was unnecessary for this project.

14) Pick a starting point along the shoe heel. Push the needle through the heel, insole, and upper fabric edge. Use the pliers to pull the needle, if it's difficult to pull by hand. Ok, back to this awesome Dritz espadrille blanket stitch video on Instagram by Deepika Prakash. This was super handy in sewing the blanket stitch along the shoe edges. Last time I used the rubber grippy things that Dritz makes, but I couldn't keep my grip and my fingers ached quickly. For this pair, I used Deepika's suggestion of pliers to pull the thick needle up through the layers. With these uppers having a lot of layers and sewing through painted materials, having a great grip on the needle was essential.

 For more shoe making inspiration, check out my list of Shoe Tutorials that I've done. The color combo and motif I used for this pair, can be changed to suit your style. If you aren't artsy, customize these espadrilles with your fabric choice. You can use any medium weight fabric for the outer and nice cotton for the lining, though Dritz has some nice selections. Thin canvas and denim are durable fabrics that would be great for outers. You could even add ribbons or machine embroidery to make your own fabric design. You could also use fabric paints to create artwork. Whatever you choose, have fun with it. Happy Makery!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

HOME DECOR DIY: Geometric Metallic Ombre Pillow

This Geometric Metallic Ombre Pillow is a great way to add chic glam to your space. This pillow uses metallic OlyFunRobert Kaufman canvas in grey, and PolyFilSilvergold, and rose gold OlyFun creates a pretty metallic ombre. If you're looking to advance your sewing and construction skills, try your hand at this project. If metallics aren't your thing, then make this project with any of the other 18 colors of OlyFun. OlyFun cuts like paper and doesn't fray, making it perfect for use in this project. Head over to Fairfield World to make your own Geometric Metallic Ombre Pillow.

Robert Kaufman and Fairfield World supplied me with the products for this project. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Fairfield World paid me to create this project. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

HOLIDAY DIY: Patriotic Fireworks Wall Decor

This Patriotic Fireworks Wall Decor might not be helpful for July 4th this year, but it can be customized for any celebration. This is a no-sew project, made with Fairfield World OlyFun and AdTech hot glue. Fairfield World has metallic OlyFun, which I used for some added sparkle, instead of white. It's not available in stores yet, but you can buy it by the bolt online. The Cherry Pop (red) and Sky Blue, should be available in local big fabric stores like JoAnn and Walmart. If not, ask your local stores to carry it. OlyFun doesn't fray, comes in 18 colors and 4 metallics. It can be sewn or hot glued together. This project requires some very basic pattern making. Those stars look intimidating, but I made them like snowflakes, by just folding the paper and doing two simple cuts. Fairfield World always supplies me with the OlyFun and pays me to create projects. AdTech sent me an awesome two-temperature hot glue gun and a ridiculous amount of various hot glues. This is a hot glue gun that doesn't hurt my hands while working with it for several hours (not this project, which only took a few minutes to glue). If you're someone like me who makes crafts often, invest in a nice quality two-temperature hot glue gun.

I went to school for fashion design, and recently was feeling guilty that in the 16 years since I graduated, that I hadn't made many patterns (thinking clothing), but then it dawned on me that I make patterns for almost every project I make. I do a lot of patternless sewing, because that expensive education taught me a lot of great construction techniques and how to drape fabrics. I drape and sew a lot of the costumes I make, skipping the pattern making hassle completely. I only have an associate degree that I haven't used much. I have been teaching art after school and working in the craft industry, for the last three years. I might finally go back to college for another few years to get an art teaching degree. My husband would love to see me get a doctorate in art. I'm one of those people who loves all kinds of art, wants to constantly learn new things, and keep improving on old things. I feel like my life is different than many of my teaching co-workers. I have a teenager, and set my career goals aside to raise her. Now that she's a teenager, I've been trying to figure out what I want to do. I'd love to do art therapy or teach art to special needs kids. That takes some figuring out. Anyway, so you got both a project to go make, and a quick life update. I've been experimenting with a lot of painting lately, which I should probably post here, and not just my Instagram and Facebook pages. I've been trying to make stuff vs spend hours on a computer, since that's a better use of my time. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and Facebook. On Instagram, if you make stuff I like, I'll probably follow you back.


Monday, June 20, 2016

HAIR ACCESSORY DIY: Patriotic American Flag Headband

American Independence Day is coming soon, on July 4th. I like dressing up in festive attire and watching fireworks with friends. I've been working on some no-sew project for you all who want quick and easy projects that don't require sewing skills. I have you covered today! I used OlyFun from Fairfield World, which is a fabric that cuts like paper, doesn't fray, and works well with our tool friend hot glue. Adhesive Technologies provided me with an awesome two temp cordless hot glue gun and more hot glue sticks than I'd imagine I'd ever have. The hot glue gun has a cord that can be detached and the gun still works, but I usually keep it plugged in. I keep it on the low-temp setting for OlyFun. I've been making so many wacky headbands over the last few years, that I restocked my headband blanks, so I could keep you all rich in whimsical headwear...and my daughter too. While I used the American Flag for my headband, you can certainly make any flag you wish, for your country of origin. If you want a big patriotic bow, adapt this project for a Oversized Bow Headband, using hot glue instead of sewing. Gosh I ramble a lot. Let's get to making this dang thing.


SUPPLIES:
Fairfield World and Adhesive Technologies provided me with their products for this project. Fairfield World paid me to create this project. Some of these links are Amazon Affiliate links. Any purchases using the Amazon Affiliate links, will result in Amazon paying me a small commision.
INSTRUCTIONS:

1) Using the ruler and pencil, draw a 3" x 12" rectangle on Snow White OlyFun twice, and Cherry Pop OlyFun once. Draw a 1.5" by 3" rectangle, and two 2"x2" squares on Twilight. Cut out all shapes. Cut 4-5, 1/2" wide strips from Twilight.

2) Add a hot glue stick to the hot glue gun. Plug in the gun and lay it on the silicone craft mat, while it heats up. I like to turn switch to high, so it heats up faster. Then, I switch it back to low. Any glue that drips on the silicone craft mat can be easily peeled off once the glue is cool.

3) On the back of the headband, squeeze a little hot glue at one end, and place a Twilight strip at an upward angle. Add a little hot glue to the front, wrapping the strip onto the glue. Continue wrapping the strip, adding more hot glue to the back with each wrap. The wraps should overlap slightly. Finish the strip on the back, cutting off any excess that would show. Start a new strip on the front, continuing the wrapping until only the headband ends are showing. If this seems confusing check out my Metallic OlyFun New Year's Eve Headband tutorial, which has photos for each wrap step.

4) Fold the Twilight squares in half. Add a little hot glue to the front of a headband end. Center a square onto the glue, with the fold at the headband end. Cut the square at the fold at each side until it touches the headband. square off that cut, so you're left with sides and a tab. Add hot glue to the end back. Fold the square's sides in. Add more hot glue, folding in the tab. Repeat for the other square and headband end.

5) Working in small sections, hot glue the two Snow White rectangles together. Pick a front side. Hot glue the Twilight rectangle to the top left the front white rectangle. Cut the Cherry Pop rectangle into 1/4" wide stripes lengthwise. Hot glue the Cherry Pop stripes onto the front white rectangle, with a white space between each red stripe. There will be four red stripes beside the navy rectangle, and three below the navy rectangle. The top and bottom stripes are red. Fold the striped end in half. Cut it at a diagonal, ending about 2" inward. Hot glue the diagonal end closed if needed.


6) Dip the paintbrush handle tip into the white fabric paint. Make 50 polka dots on the navy rectangle, adding more paint to the handle end as needed. The scale of this flag is too small for stars, so polka dots work fine. The layout is accurate, with 11 columns alternating 5-4 dots. Let the paint completely dry before handling the flag for the next step. The photo shows a portion of the flag. It's much longer, with the dimensions I provided,


7) 4" up from the headband end, squeeze some hot glue. Place the flag star end onto the glue, pressing to smooth out about 1" across the headband. Bend the flag up at an arch. Add more hot glue to the headband about 1" from the previous place. Press the flag dip into the glue. Repeat arching and gluing the flag in this pattern, making sure the ends and curves are secure. Once the hot glue is cooled, the headband can be worn.


I hope you all have a fun July 4th in the USA, or just a fun summer in general. If you want to see the other wacky headbands and other hair adornments I've made head to this Headwear Tutorials List. I have a growing list of tutorial ideas, which are coming up, so make sure to check back regularly for new projects. Happy Makery!

HOME DECOR DIY: Rainbow Pinata Fringe Pillow

This Rainbow Pinata Fringe Pillow is perfect for Summer, LGBTQ Pride, and dorm decor. I chose a rainbow color palette, to match the original LGBTQ flag, since June is pride month. You could make this pillow in any color combo, from the 18 colors and 4 metallic OlyFun fabrics. OlyFun doesn't fray, cuts like paper, and is durable, making it great for a colorful fringe. My eldest niece is off to college soon, and is in need of cool decor. I didn't need yet another pillow for my house, so I offered this one to her, which she excitedly accepted. Head over to Fairfield World, to make your own Rainbow Pinata Fringe Pillow.


As always, Fairfield World provided me with the OlyFun and Poly-Fil for this project. They paid me to create this and other projects. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

HOME DECOR DIY: Golden Delicious Pineapple Pillow

Summer is a week away, but the hot weather has arrived. This golden delicious pineapple pillow is a great quirky cushion for any outdoor party, festival, poolside, or camping trip. This pillow can add cushion to your camping chair, stadium seat, pool chaise, or the hard ground. Pineapples are super trendy currently, as it glittering gold. This particular project is sewn, but with some careful hot gluing, it could be a no-sew project. Y'all know I'm more fond of a sewing machine than any glue. Head over to Fairfield World to create your own Gold Delicious Pineapple Pillow. If you want to see what else I've been creating, follow me on Instagram. I've been doing a lot of painting, research, and experimenting.


Fairfield World provided me the OlyFun and Poly-Fil for this pillow project. They paid me to create this project.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

HOME DECOR DIY: Patchwork State Pride Pillow

This patchwork pillow shows off my Virginia state pride using Fairfield World Smooth Fusible Interfacing, Stick Double Sided Fusible Interfacing, a Soft Touch pillow insert, and P & B Textiles fabric in Urban Scandinavian Black and White. I had an extra long pre-made patchwork strip left over from my Zig Zag Modern Fuse Applique Baby Quilt, and was pondering what to make with them. Being from the South, quilting is a huge part of our maker heritage. I decided to sew the strip into a patchwork pillow. Since I don't like making things people have seen before, I added a more obvious heritage element, by using a silhouette of my home state Virginia. You can subsitute my home state with the state, province, or country of your choosing.


SUPPLIES:
Fairfield World and P & B Textiles provided me with the supplies for this project. Fairfield World paid me to create this project and tutorial.

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    1) Let's start back at square one, I used a long leftover patchwork strip from this modern baby quilt. However, I'll recap how I made that very long strip here, for simplicity.

    On the back of the fat quarters, mark out strips 3″ wide. For this pillow, you’ll probably need 2-3 strips per fabric. I cut more than that, for multiple projects. Cut the strips up into rectangles 2″-2.5″ long. I found it was fastest to stack matching strips together, fold them in half, and cut 4 even pieces…making 8 even rectangles per fabric strip. Separate the fabrics into stacks.

    2) At the sewing machine, load it with black thread. Decide on an order for the fabrics to appear. I chose dark and light alternating. Straight sew the rectangles together 1/4″ from the edge, making a long strip.

    I did chain piecing, to save thread. Chain piecing it when you sew two fabrics right sides together, make a space of fabricless stitching, and sew two more fabrics together, continuing this sewing pattern until all of the fabric pairs are sewn in one chain. Snip the chains, and sew the pairs together at one end. Continue sewing the pieces together, until a long strip is formed. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each fabric stitching line.

    3) Measure and cut the long strip into 25″ lengths. I used 10 strips for each side, for a total of 20.

    4) Turn the iron on to cotton (highest setting). Iron all the seams in the same direction.

    5) Load the sewing machine with black thread. Sew two strips together, right sides facing, 1/4" from the edge, backstitching at the seam beginning and end. Open the strips. Sew another strip onto a previous strip. Repeat this sewing method until all the front panel strips are sewn together. Repeat again for the back panel. Clip all excess thread.

    I did not pin my strips before sewing, as I'm comfortable sewing straight edges without pins.

    6) Iron the panels, so all the long seam edges are going in the same direction.

    7) Back to the sewing machine. Increase your stitch length, for topstitching. Topstitch about 1/8" from each seam, securing the seam fabric on the back.

    8) Back to the iron. Cut a piece of Smooth Fusible Interfacing about 1" bigger on each side, than the one panel. Repeat for the other panel. Lay the Smooth glue side up. Center a panel onto the Smooth, with the right side up. Starting in the center, iron slowly outwards, pressing hard. It will take a few passes for the Smooth to fuse. However, the next sewing step will make sure it's in place forever.

    9) Back to the sewing machine. Topstitch the strips, in the same direction as the previous topstitching. This is basic quilting, meant for stability and decoration, not puffiness. The lines of stitching are about 1/4"-1/2" from each other. Quilt both panels. This photo shows the patchwork folded.

    10) Using the a marking pencil or marker and the quilting ruler square off the panel sides. Cut along those squared lines, removing the uneven excess fabric. My panels ended up being about 24"x24". You might think "Well that's too small for a 24"x24" pillow!". Nope, I found making the finished casing a little smaller than the pillow insert made for a squishier and fuller looking pillow that doesn't go flat as fast.

    11) Time for the state decoration. I Googled my state as an outline. I laid a piece of computer paper against my computer screen and gently traced the state shape. Virginia is long, so I needed two pieces of paper to get the full shape. I used masking tape to attach the two pieces. Use small scissors to carefully cut along the state outline.

    12) At the ironing board, cut out a piece of black cotton a few inches bigger than your state. Cut a piece of Stick interfacing slightly smaller than the black cotton. Rip a piece of parchment paper bigger than the cotton. Lay the black cotton down on the ironing board. Center the Stick on the cotton. Lay the parchment paper over the layers. Turn the iron steam off. Press the layers together, until the stick fuses to both the cotton and the parchment paper. Peal the paper off.

    13) Flip the cotton over, right side up. Pin the state pattern to the cotton. Using a white marking pencil, trace the state outline onto the cotton. Using small scissors, cut out the state. Virginia has two pieces. Virginia is a more intricate state, so this step proved tricky.

    14) Center your state on one patchwork panel. Lay the parchment paper back over the state. Iron the state securely to the patchwork panel.

    15) At the sewing machine, carefully sew around the state, about 1/8" from the state edge. If your state is intricate, you might find using a free motion embroidery foot helpful.

    16) Sew across the state, following your previous topstitching rows. This will better secure the state to the patchwork.

    17) Put the two panels right sides together. Stitch around the sides and top about 1/2" from the edge, leaving the bottom open.

    18) Clip the two sewn corners, making sure not to cut the stitching. Turn the pillowcase inside out. Shape the two corners.

    19) Remove the pillow insert from its packing. Cut the big tag off the pillow. Trust me, that's legal once you own the pillow! Insert the pillow into the case, with the pillow zipper at the case opening.

    20) Turn the opening edges in about 1/2" each. Straight pin in place.

    21) Thread the hand sewing needle with an arm's length of black thread. Match up the thread ends and double knot them together. Using a hidden stitch, hand sew the opening closed. If you do this stitch correctly, the hand stitches won't show, and will blend into the seam, like the machine stitched sides.

    To finish, I double knot the thread into the fabric seam. Then, run the threaded needle back under the previous stitching, a few inches. Cut the excess thread. This method makes the knot stronger and thread end look neater.

    22) Give your new pillow a big hug, because you're all done!

    I used the fabrics I had on hand, but you could use any cotton fabrics prints and solids. I used 15 prints for my pillow. I know that seems like a lot, but they were fat quarters, and probably only 1/3 of that fabric was used. You could buy 1/8" pieces of cotton fabrics, for this particular pillow. I do suggest using a solid color for the state silhouette, so it really pops out from the patchwork. If you don't need another dang pillow, change the scale for an awesome quilt, or tote bag. Whatever you choose to make, have fun with it! Happy Makery!

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