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Saturday will be a sad day for Mark’s family and me. Mark’s brother’s girlfriend is going back to Australia after living in Minnesota with them for a year or so. We’re not sure what her next move will be, but we are hoping she can come back to stay (maybe for good?).
Long story short, Mark’s brother met a fabulous girl on his trip to Ireland a few summers ago. Turned out that she was from Australia, so it made things interesting for them. She has been able to visit for extended periods of time, and he visited her once as well. My long distance relationship doesn’t hold a candle to theirs. I can barely deal with three hour car ride, let alone day-long plane trip.
I decided to make her a going-away present that she could use on her trip (I hope). I made her a pillow to use on the plane. If she can’t take it, at least she can fold up the case, pack it away, and ditch the pillow insert. I gave her this pillow last weekend, but pre-scheduled this post, so I’ll edit and add the reaction later.
I made this pillow out of a panel of embroidery and some fun scrap fabrics. To create the embroidery, I printed the shape of the state of Minnesota on card stock, cut it out, and traced it onto white fabric with a disappearing ink pen. I then added a heart for the Twin Cities.
Once my embroidery was done, I wet the fabric down to remove the disappearing ink, let the fabric dry, and started work on the front panel of the pillow. I needed to make the total size of the front panel 1″ larger than my pillow insert (for the record, I used a 16×16″ insert). I cut the embroidery panel to my final desired size, making sure to leave room around the edges of the embroidery so other fabrics wouldn’t get sewn over the stitching. Then I picked scraps of fabric and pinned them, and sewed them to the embroidery panel to finish out the 16×16″ square.
After I pieced the front panel together, I added some depth to it by quilting it. I used a piece of cotton batting (leftover from my baby quilt project) and a scrap piece of fabric. It didn’t matter what fabric I used for the back of the front panel because nobody can see it once the pillow was finished. I recommend using quilting cotton to keep it easy to quilt if you’re working on this project at home. I basted these pieces together using the pin basting method, and then I drew my quilting pattern on with a disappearing ink pen. I used a couple of decorative stitches that I haven’t had a chance to use before as well as a regular stitch.
Once I had the front piece quilted, I made the back panel of the pillow. This kind of pillow is called an envelope pillow, because you basically create an envelope that goes around the pillow insert. To create the envelope, you need two pieces of fabric that overlap a few inches. I cut two 11×16″ pieces of fabric, and hemmed along the long edge on one side of both pieces. Then I lined one of the pieces up with the top of the front panel, and the other piece with the bottom of the front panel (so they overlap) — making sure that the right sides are out. I sewed along the edge of the entire thing, making sure to pay special attention to the overlapping back pieces so that the fabric didn’t get folded weirdly. Once that was done, I added quilt binding using this tutorial.
Here is the final pillow. I really wanted to keep it, but I’ll make myself one. This pillow only took a few hours to make, including the hand stitching.
Actually, I’ve been enjoying hand stitching lately. When I got out my embroidery stuff to make this Minnesota pillow, I noticed I had an unfinished project (who, me?), so I picked that project up again. I was hand-quilting / embroidering another pillow that I previously made, but decided to take apart and add more visual interest to it.
I’m kind of addicted to sitting in the quiet corner of my apartment and stitching now. Hopefully with practice my stitches will get more even.
Have you picked up any summer hobbies? Or, have you given or received an interesting going-away gift?
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Hi there. I'm Calee (pronounced CAL-e). If that's too hard, just call me Cal. I also respond to Chimes. I'm a gal hanging onto the last bit of my 20s as I venture into a graduate degree in graphic design, whilst balancing a career, a long-distance relationship, and a million hobbies and trades. Here's the unabridged version.
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