Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Recover your old throw pillows

Part 1 of the skeleton key project...

Recovering some throw pillows I have that didn't match. Here a sneak peek at the finished 4 pillows.



Originally I came up with an idea to make a photo collage wall on one wall in my living room. I was thinking of ways that would make it unique so that it wasn't just frames. I have always had a bit of a fixation on old keys, and thought maybe I could find some skeleton keys to hang on the wall.

My Mother-in-law has found some keys that I intend to spraypaint once the weather gets nicer out so that I can work on the wall. More to come on that in the future.

I was thinking of ways to tie that into the rest of my livingroom decor so I thought I could recover some old throw pillows I had laying around.

I began the search for fabric with skeleton keys on it, and found some at a local crafting store.
[pic of fabric]

I bought 1 meter of fabric, planning to cover 2 of my pillows. When I got home I dug through my odds and ends and found some leftovers from a halloween costume, and figured I may have enough to cover 4 pillows. I had some black seam binding in various sizes, some black satin ribbon, and some black and white fleecebacked satin.

I started out by precutting all my fabric to see if I had enough pieces. I was initially going to do the closures with zippers, but decided afterward to go with snaps, mostly because i despise sewing zippers.

I will list here what I cut (with what adjustments I would have made in hindsight in parentasis)

I measured my pillows and they were 18" x18" so I cut :
4 squares of my skeleton key fabric at 19"x19".
1 square of white satin at 19"x19" ( 19"x21 to allow for more overlap at the snap seam on reverse)
1 square of black satin at 19"x19"( 19"x21 to allow for more overlap at the snap seam on reverse)

Then I didn't have enough material left to cut anymore full squares so I cut the following
From the leftover key fabric - 2 rectangles of 6"x19"
1 rectangle of white satin 6"x19"
2 rectangles of black satin at 10" x 19"

The bits and bobs:
2 strips of wide satin ribbon 19"
3 narrow strips of seam binding 19"
2 wider strips of seam binding 19"
2 strips of skeleton key fabric 19" (which i made into seam binding)
10 black snaps (4 part snaps)

Skeleton Key Fabric

(back pieces black and white satin)

Seam Binding

(Making the seam binding)

(showing the offset on the seam binding)

(two pieces of finished binding)

If you are looking for a way to keep your sewing area tidy from all the strings and clippings, try using a lint roller. It is also good for pulling the thread off fabric if you have to rip a seam out.
Lint roller cleanup

I started with the pillow wich I thought would be most difficult to assemble the reverse side, so started with the 2 wider strips of skeleton key fabric, 2 wide satin ribbon, small rectangle of white satin, and narrow seam binding.

Back of the pillow. I sewed right along the edge of the ribbon against the flat fabric.
The right ribbon is the open seam where I attached the snaps 

I started by sewing the narrow seam binding onto the long edge of the white satin

Then I sewed the wide ribbon over the edge of each of the skeleton key pieces.

I then attached the other edge of the ribbon from one of the skeleton pieces to the raw edge remaining on the white satin.

So to recap should now have this layout
Skeleton key+wide ribbon+white satin+narrow seam binding
Wide ribbon + skeleton key fabric.

I laid the large square of 19"x19" skeleton key fabric right side up and laid the 2 smaller assembled pieces. right side down onto the fabric so that the raw edges of the skeleton key fabric were at the outside and that they 2 pieces overlapped with the ribbon of the large piece under the smaller piece with the small seam binding. This is so that when the case it turned right side out, the wide ribbon will show, and the narrow edge will hide. This opening is where I later attach the snaps. I straight sew around the outside, turn the case right side out and test fit over the pillow. I check where the snaps should go to keep the pillow closed. I had 10 snaps and was making 4 pillows, so some have 2 snaps, some have 3 depending on how big the overlap was. The two pillows with the least ammount of overlap got 3 snaps to help them stay together better.

Once I was happy with the placement I finished my seams with a zig-zag (if I had a serger and knew how to use it I would definately go that route to finish the seams) and attached my snaps. Be careful that you get your placement right so that the snap parts are all the right way up.

The remaining pillows I used the 2 large squares of satin cut in half, and the 2 smaller black rectangle pieces. I used the wider seam binding on two, and the homemade seam binding from the leftover skeleton key fabric on the other so that I would have a bit of an overlap at the snap seam. (this is where I would have cut the larger squares larger to allow for a bigger overlap - something can be said here for "measure twice, cut once" )
Measuring to cut the back fabric in half to put in the snap seam
Here is how I attached my seam binding. I didn't quite do it right, but it really didn't matter in the end. There is a better blog here that shows how to attach seam binding properly.
Attaching the seam bindng.
 Usually you would place this further from the edge, so more of the fabric ends up inside the binding, but I didn't allow for the overlap so I am using the binding to stick out further

Sew along the crease

Fold over and sew along just inside the edge

And here are the pictures of the completed pillows, all the same on one side with the solid key fabric, and all varying a bit on the back with snap closures on all. 


I challenge you to use up your off cuts from other projects on new things. I think you will enjoy the variety it will bring you when you make due with what you have.

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If you have any questions, or I have missed anything, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer. I would also welcome leaving a link or picture of your completed project!