Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How To Make Pillowcases In Just 5 Short Months

Before Oscar was born I thought I was a very, very busy person.  Then after his arrival, I looked back on those times and thought, "What was the matter with me?  I had so much free time!"

On weekends, I don't want to do anything but snuggle Oscar to make up for time lost during the week at work.  As a result, those 2 days fly by with bills unpaid, floors unswept, and laundry unlaundered.  And craft projects... are you kidding?

And so it goes that I launched a mission to re-cover the couch's throw pillows in mid February, and did not revisit it until May.

Join me, if you will, on a journey back in time to when Oscar was just a wee little nugget that slept the whole day away, while his mom kept herself locked up in a dark and dusty apartment.
At one point, during what felt like Oscar's fortieth feeding of the day, I looked at the couch around me and realized I hated it.
A once comfy and practical sectional, it was now misshapen, stained, and smelly.   Unfortunately, buying a new couch just wasn't an option.   It was time to give the pillows a makeover.
I know they don't match.  How did I let this happen?
I'd actually been planning to do this for a while and had requested --and received--a brand new sewing machine for Christmas.  But then, stuff happened.  Like a new human.

Surveying the living room I decided it certainly wasn't lacking in brown.  Brown couch, brown rug, brown walls, brown coffee table, brown pillows.  What it could really use was some nice bright blue accents.

So I sped off to Joanne Fabrics for some material.  My mom was in town, and came along to help me assess my options.

We wound up with this trio.

Two soft and fuzzy fabrics, and one that was less so, but would spice things up. 

I found a step by step guide to making throw pillow covers.  I won't go into detail here with the exact steps, but I recommend checking out that link if you too have several months to spare on a sewing project. 

Before attempting step one, I needed to back up and do step zero: remember how to work a sewing machine.  Mom and I unpacked it from the box, looked over the instructions on threading the bobbin, selecting the stitch type and all that.  Oddly, though I hadn't done it in probably 10 years, it all came back to me.

Now I was off and running!  And then Oscar woke up...

The next day, I was off and running!

It took me seven hours to make the first pillowcase.  But there were a lot of stops and starts in my process.   Also, it took a bit more time because I wasn't half-assing it like the way I normally do things.  I wanted these to look presentable, so I did things properly, like ironing the edges where I'd hem or double hem.

When I removed the first pillow from its case I realized I'd been too kind with my assumption that the innards were "perfectly good."  Still, I was in it now, so it would have to do.


The design I was following didn't call for any fasteners to keep the case closed shut, but I think it was meant for nice full, firm pillows and not this cheap piece of shit pillow I was working with.  So there was a gross gap.

Hello, my name is Mr. Pillowface
Nothing a little iron-on velcro can't fix. 

Now we're talking.

The second pillowcase took about 45 minutes.  Clearly I had the hang of it, so I'd be able to bang out the next 5 or 6 in a couple days.

Then the rest of February, all of March and April, and half of May went by.  With friends coming over for cocktails one Friday, I had a burst of motivation and finished three more pillows.

And this brings us to July.  5 months later.  I still have 3 pillows to go.  But for the sake of this post let's just pretend all of the completed ones are in these After pictures.

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