Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cloth-Quick Project-Ruffled Rainbow Pillow

While the husband was away playing tennis this past week I decided to spend the night with Roy G. Biv.


I needed a splash of St. Patty's day color and cheer upstairs in the reading nook so a fun scrappy rainbow pillow seemed to fit the bill.

Project Ranking
Difficultly - Moderate
Frustration - Low
Makeability - 100% Worth It!

Rainbow Fabrics
*I used broadcloth but if you don't want it to fray so much you may want to use a bulkier type fabric like a good quality quilt cotton.
*To make the pattern as written below you will need 1 1/2 inch wide strips by 42 inch long for each of the colors you choose.  If you get 1/8 of a yard of each you will have extra material.
Backing Fabric (main body of the pillow)
*The pillow is 17 inches x 20 inches.  You will need 2 pieces of that size.
Quilt Batting (Optional)
*I used a very light weight linen fabric so I added a piece of batting to each linen panel.  When stuffing with Polyfill for pillows I have found adding the batting makes the pillow look less lumpy in the end.
Threads of various colors

Step 1: Cut your backing and batting fabrics (if desired).  You will need 2 of each at 17 x 20 inches.

Step 2: Cut your rainbow strips.  Each color will be 42 inches long x 1 1/2 inches.

Step 3: Prepare your rainbow fabric strips for gathering.  I use the 2 string method for making gathers.  If you have never gathered before it really is quite easy. 
First you will need to put your sewing machine on the longest stitch setting you have available.  Position your fabric strip the long way under your sewing foot (you will sew the 42 inches) and sew long straight stitches at a 5/8 inch seam.  Clip your strings.  Flip your strip around and sew another long straight stitch 5/8 on the other side as shown below.  Repeat for all colors.
NOTE:  A couple of tips when sewing the gathering stitch guides.  You do not need to sew using matching thread as you will be removing these threads later so any color will work.  As you will need something to hang onto when doing the gathering you will want to leave about 5 inches of length on each of your threads.  Also be sure NOT to put in a setting stitch or backstitch as you need to be able to pull the gathering stitch guides out later on.

Step 4: Find the middle of each of your sewed color strips.  Pinch the middle with your finger and gently pull both of your looser thread, typically the bobbin threads, so the fabric bunches up as seen below.  Bunch up the other side so the entire strip is bunchy (is that a word, is it spelled right?)

Step 5: Take one of your backing pieces.  You will be marking 3 dots. 
First mark is at 10 inches (on the 20 inch side) and 3 1/2 inches from the top.  This mark will be where you place the middle of the red strip.
Second mark is 2 inches from the right side and 4 inches from the bottom.  This is where the right side of the red strip of the rainbow will start.
Third mark is 2 inches from the left side and 4 inches from the bottom.  This is where the left side of the red strip of the rainbow will end.

Step 6: Pin the middle of the red strip at the mark you made.  Gently spread out your ruffles so that the ends of your strip hit the other 2 marks you made.  Pin the strip in a semi-circle pattern.  The red strip needs to go the furthest so you will need to adjust your ruffles so that you have enough length.  If you pull out too many of your gathers no problem.  You can always scrunch it back up again.

Step 7: Make sure your sewing machine is set back to your normal stitch length (back from the long stitch you used while making the gathering stitches). Sew down the middle of the 2 gathering stitches using a coordinating color of thread.  You will want to set these stitches as they are not coming back out.  Do NOT pull out the gathering stitches yet.

Step 8: Using the gathering stitch as a guide pin your next strip ~5/8 inch from each other.  Sew and pin each color.
NOTE:  You will end up with some extra length on each of your remaining color strips. You will only want to sew down your strips to the same point as your red strip.  You will cut of the extra later. 

Step 9: Gently pull out your guide stitches by pulling the at the bobbin threads.  I will say this was a bit tricky because of the curves in the strips.  When in doubt whip out your seam ripper.

Step 10: Cut off the bottoms of your strips so they are all the same length.

Step 11: Pin your batting (if using) to the back of each of the backing pieces (one will have your rainbow on it).
Step 12: Pin your backing pieces right sides together and stitch using ~5/8 seam allowance.  Make sure you leave yourself at least 4-5 inches of opening to turn your pillow out.  Clip any excess seam and clip your corners.

Step 13: Turn out your pillow and poke out your corners using a bamboo stick.

Step 14: Stuff to desired fluffiness with Polyfill and sew your opening closed.

Now all you need is a pot of gold!