Monday, January 10, 2011

Felt circle overload

To refresh your memory, I made a Christmas tree felt pillow, copying one I saw in an upscale home dec & dust collector store.   The Christmas tree is made from circles of felt.

Because I was a doofus and didn't really realize that I did not HAVE to cut ALL the circles on the Sizzix die (I could cut a piece of felt & position it on the *one* size of circle that I wanted ... knowledge comes late in life, ya know?), I had a whole MESSLOAD of different sized green felt circles.  What could I possibly DO with them?  I didn't want to make another Christmas tree.  BTDT.

Well, I thought a stylized topiary would be kinda cute.  And why not put it on a fabric background, rather than a felt pillow cover?
 And then mid-stream, I switched gears.  I haven't a clue why, but I did.  Instead of topiary, which would USE UP my already cut green circles, why not make flower posies of different colored felt?  It just didn't matter that I didn't HAVE any color of felt besides the leftover green ... that's what Joann's is for!

 A trip to Joann's provided an entire rainbow supply of felt squares.  I spent the better part of one evening using Sizzix to cut out the circles I needed (just the one size, this time!).

As for the fabric pillow cover, instead of using just a single piece of fabric, let's create a pieced background!  Oh why not ... we can simply forget that there is a huge pile of tops waiting to be quilted.  :-)   So, I made some strip sets of a bunch of neutrals and cut a whole bunch of 60° diamond strips.  Sewing those together gave me my background fabric.  I sandwiched that and stitched in the ditch along all seam lines to quilt everything down,   I didn't want a pattern, which might distract you from the flowers.

I drew circles on the pieced background ... these would be the shapes I would fill with my felt circles in the same way I created the Christmas tree.  I free-form cut out some stems and machine stitched them down with one of my buttonhole stitches.  I used my Leaves Galore ruler (since I have one) to cut out the leaves and they were stitched down also.

All the circles were filled with the felt circles, creating a 3D flower "posey".  The circles were attached with a bar tack.

As I was finishing the posies, it occurred to me that a colorful piping to match the flower colors would be nifty. I love putting piping in seams; it's  a terrific detail that doesn't take much time to do.  You get a lot of bang for your buck. And as long as we were being colorful, why not edge the pillow in different colored Prairie Points?  I like making Prairie Points.  :-)

Normally, I like to put an inconspicuous zipper on the back of the pillow cover, at the bottom, so the cover can be removed for laundering.  However, the seam allowance where the zipper would be sewn to was hugely bulky:  the pieced background fabric (3 layers), the piping (2 layers), all the Prairie Points (4 layers each Point and the Points overlap).  I didn't think I would be able to get a nicely applied zipper to that seam.

So, I simply sliced the backing fabric in two, about 3" from the bottom, just so I would have a seam to put the zipper in there.  That worked out just dandy.

All the bulk in the seams was graded (cut to different levels so the bulk would taper off gradually instead of being a "cliff"), a slit was cut into the corners to the corner seam allowances could be lapped to make a better pillow corner.

Also, please note ... my square pillow is *square*.  Why is this significant?  Well, most of the pillows I have seen (both retail and home-made) have dog-ear pillows ...  (see picture at left).  See how the edges of the pillow curve from corner to corner?  That's not a good pillow.  This happens because the pillow pattern is *square*.  You need to alter the corners of the pattern to create an optical illusion of square corners.

 It's an easy enough problem to fix though ... on your pillow pattern you simply remove part of each corner and curve the cutting line to the new corner.  On the pattern, the new corner definitely curves *inward* and looks wrong.  BUT, once you've inserted your pillow form (or stuffing the cover), those corners will be nice and square!

 I'm rather pleased with the final result.  :-)  And I still want to make the topiary pillow from all those GREEN circles!  :-)

Edited on 2/1/11 to add Rachel Hauser's "Blogger's Pillow Party" contest link -
Blogger's Pillow Party


  1. this is a great pillow! It seems we share a love of prairie points too!!

  2. Oh I love the flowers!!!! What a great detail!
    good luck!
    Come and see mine:

  3. ha ha! What a great method - that's how I seem to work. Right, I'll make something to use this up... but it's the wrong colour so I'll go and buy some more fabric... ! Lovely pillow, very effective.

  4. I love it! totally worth following all your whims and making it so beautiful. And thanks for that tip about square pillows... I have noticed that dog ear thing but didn't know how to fix it.

  5. Those flowers are so nice and fluffy! This is Rachel of Stitched in Color/Blogger's Pillow Party. I'd love you to enter this pillow, but the rules require a NEW blog post for your entry. I'll have to delete your current entry. I hope you'll take the time to make a current post about this pillow and join in the fun! Just add your picture again with a link to your new post dated in Feb.