Showing posts with label Pillowcase. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pillowcase. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 October 2017

And that makes me really really happy

I do not know how it is for you but once I have gifted a sewn item to someone, I usually am not privy to its future life and treatment in its new home. That is mostly because it never occurs to the new owners that I might be interested in some feedback. For them it is mostly only one more item (albeit a beautiful one quite obviously =) in their household and nothing to fawn over. Which is exactly as it should be of course. Still as a maker you always wonder whether the item you made is actually being liked and used.

Therefore, I am always happy when I come to visit and find that yes, the items are in use and loved. It gives me so much joy. I had a few happy moments like that recently. Just last week I visited friends and unexpectedly spied three items I made in various rooms of their house. 

My Polaroid Photo quilt is in constant use. I was told by the seven years old owner that it is just like an astronaut's blanket, because you can lie under it and only the head sticks out, which of course would be in a helmet and then everything is covered. OK... works for me.   =)

Here is one of the Polaroid Photo pillowcases fully household integrated and in use. Another pillowcase I had made a few years before the Polaroid ones, was in the next room over. This said room was in a state of teenage disarray however and not not fit for photographic presentation. So we left it at that.  =)

Oh also, I recently found that my Polaroid Quilt (among others) was used as inspiration picture for a Polaroid Sew-Along hosted by Tea & Brie this Summer. How nice.

Just before I went on holiday to Japan at the beginning of September, a colleague of mine reported that the baby blanket I gifted his then new born daughter two years ago, is also still going strong.

Apparently, Anna - two and half years of age, demands of her parents to be read to while she reclines on her - by now somewhat short - blanket.  =)  How fabulous is that?! Brilliant, I love it. This is why I sew, at least in part. 

OK, back to the sewing machine then. I have another baby blanket currently in the making. 

Friday, 29 September 2017

Japanese Floor Cushion - A Sewing Lesson

I just spent almost four weeks in Japan. I really enjoyed the holiday and my, I could show you 800 plus pictures of the marvels I have seen. Don't worry, I will refrain from doing that.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

Whilst in Tokyo, I booked a sewing class (obviously =) to make a Japanese style floor cushion. My hostess Akiko picked me up at the train station and went fabric shopping with me. After I had picked the fabric for my cushion cover we went to her apartment for the class. As professional kimono maker Akiko had a lot of knowledge to share. The floor cushion was to be hand sewn using techniques that had been passed on from mother to daughter in her family for several generations.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

We started by folding the fabric once right sides together and measuring the fabric from the fold to create a rectangle of 42 x 44 cm, no overlap. I cut the fabric to size and was then tasked to sew two sides together by hand with a simple running stitch, the third side was the fabric fold. Apart from securing the thread at the start and end there was no stitching back. Once that simple envelope was created Akiko produced what looked like a huge wad of organic cotton. Not the well behaved stuff but the kind that immediately sticks to other fabrics and commences shedding and bearding on contact.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style, silk worm cocoon, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

To prevent that effect, with the view to wash the cushion cover on occasion, the women in Akiko's family have taken to wrapping the cotton into unspun raw silk threads that they gained from unspooling and widening a single silk worm cocoon.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

The wonky netting is placed around the cotton fibres before the the filling is put into the cushion cover. The thus silk netted cotton should now no longer stick to the inside of the cushion cover. Fascinating. I wonder why they did not sew an inlet instead but it forgot to ask at the time. Considering that her family were farmers, they probably had no money to spare for extra fabric that would only be on the inside of the cushion.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

Next we layered the cushion cover, still inside out, the cotton wadding and a random sheet of paper onto each other. Akiko picked the lot up, placed her arm on the paper on top of the pile and folded the entire stack in two across her arm, while I was to turn the cushion cover inside out to trap the filling inside. The paper merely, served to prevent the cotton wadding to stick to itself upon momentarily being folded in half. The paper was then removed and the cotton fluffed in shape and into the corners of the cushion.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

Then I displayed my cultural ignorance by asking a silly question, namely, whether we would put in a zipper next. Akiko regarded me for a moment and then explained that there were no zippers in Japan until World War II. That makes total sense and therefore putting in zippers could decidedly not have been amoung the sewing techniques handed down in her family. Instead the last two edges were folded inwards and I hand stiched them together with a ladder stitch.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

Here I was to use a single thread ragher than the double used earlier, the reason being that double threads are considered uncouth and are never used in finishing garments etc. Akiko explained that she only ever sews with single threads when she constructs her kimonos.

Once I had closed the last seam, Akiko showes me how to make Japanese style tassels at the corners of the cushion. Technically, a floor cushion has a fifth tassel in the middle of the pillow but we decided that the fabric was busy enough and did not need another tassel to overload things.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

And that was that. Three hours well spent. According to Akiko, the pillow, being all cotton and silk, is good to last 50 years. One is supposed to air it regularly in the full blasting sun. The latter goes aginst all fabric (colour) preservation advice I have learnt so far but the reason might be another one. The humidity in this country is very high with Tokyo having only marginally less rainy days than London and putting the cushion in the sun might be a way of drying it out completly.

Puppilalla, Japanese Style Floor Cushion, hand made, pillowcase, japanese craft, DIY

Of course if you wish to wash the cover, you have to open that last seam and peel out the filling that may not ever be washed but only aired. Afterwards, you have to put it back together and sew it shut again. That is a lot of work all things considered. Nowadays, the Japanese do not go to that length. As such cushions are cheap, though filled with polyester insted of organic cotton, they are being thrown out and replaced rather than maintained.

My floor cushion remained in Tokyo and was a Birthday present to my friend's husband who kindly looked after me during my stay. I sure hope he likes it. I chose the fabric because he likes to read Manga and I like pops of colour, so the fabric is to represent both of us. I thoroughly enjoyed that sewing lesson and learned a thing or two.

As for myself, of course I treated myself to a few things from the fabric shop. I am most proud of the Japanese made iron fabric scissors I got for myself. What a treat! And I went for a few choice pieces of fabric.

Puppilalla, Japanese Fabrics, stash building

Considering all the goodies, I could have bought, I think I have excercised a lot of restraint.  =)

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Improv Pillowcase - A Finish

Just in time for the first quarter Finish-A-Long link-up, I finally put the finishing touches to my improvised pillowcase. It is my only finish of my 1st quarter FAL list but one finish is still a finish. I am quite happy with how it turned out too. 

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Improv, Quilting, wonky log cabin, modern quilting, scrap buster, scrappy project

The denim coloured super soft and light cotton works well with the colours in the front and back panels and makes the project look more grown up. I kind of accidentally started the project in February last year and am glad to report that it is finally done. I am clearly not the fastest sewist. =) 

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Improv, Quilting, wonky log cabin, modern quilting, scrap buster, scrappy project

I tried a few new things with this pillow. Following along several bloggers, I noticed that many sewists also use quilt batting in their pillowcases. I guess the reason is that they actually do quilt their pillowcases. Thus, I thought I might try that too this time round.

What I have failed to find out yet, is what is happening on the inside of these pillowcases. Is the batting covered by even more fabric on the inside? Is it not covered on the inside and lies 'raw' in its lint shedding state against the pillow? I seriously do not know. I, however, did not want any uncovered batting within my pillowcase and therefore tried one-sided adhesive cotton heatbond to a) secure the substantial amount of seams on the back of the improvised panels and b) to cover the backside of the backing inside the pillowcase-to-be.

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Improv, Quilting, wonky log cabin, modern quilting, scrap buster, scrappy project

It worked so so. So in my experimental state of mind, I had laid out the entire length of the pillowcase panel, put a piece of batting, where the front would be and covered all that with the one-sided heatbond. I bonded away and had thereby secured the seams and covered the back of the backing in one go. It worked all fine for covering and securing the multitude of seams. (This is going to be my new secret weapon in pillowcase making) However, I still had a sort wiggle room or air pocket between the batting and the front panel. And this wiggle room then caused trouble when I tried to unobtrusively quilt a few lines on the front panel as the layers puckered and shifted somewhat.

Puppilalla, Patchwork, Pillowcase, Improv, Quilting, wonky log cabin, modern quilting, scrap buster, scrappy project

The upshot is that the idea works in principle (no raw edges or seams within my pillowcase, yay  =) but that some fine-tuning is still required. Maybe, I should quilt the front panel with the batting first before adding the heatbond as a finish.

I also for the first time ever used bias tape to bind a pillowcase. I must say it makes a very sophisticated finish.

I have the next pillowcase idea lined up already. I snatched up some gingiber animal panels at a local quilt shop once they posted on IG that they had those and they basically scream 'Use us! ' so I feel I might oblige.

Linking up. I noticed that there are literally hundreds of projects linked as finished. Quite amazing how big the Finish-A-Long initiative has grown.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Impromptu Pillowcase

Literally, at the last minute I decided to make a little something extra for one of my aunts one day before Christmas. I had already intended to give her a bottle of white vinegar that I had infused with elderflowers earlier that year but as this particular aunt lives far off in Turkey most of the time, she is being a bit neglected as far as in-between flower bouquets and impromptu pieces of cake are concerned.

Therefore, the Ghanaian cotton scraps seemed to be a fabulous choice in whisking up a last minute present. I used the big scraps to piece a pillowcase. To hide and secure the seams I lined it on the inside with a few of my less loved fat quarters. If I had more time, I might have framed it with bias tape but I am pleased with the outcome anyway.

My aunt liked it alright so I will call it a win – especially in view of her still banging on about some fantasy themed poster I gave her when I was 14 (!), which she put on the wall in her apartment in Turkey. She showed me a picture of it there. (Ughh!) While I am sure that my gift was age appropriate at the time AND it being nice of her to honour my present - I’d rather she got rid of it now – 20 odd years later. Maybe I ought to buy her a new wall picture - one in accordance with my current tastes – ha ha. 

Anyway, in view of the poster story I am certain that my pillowcase is in good hands and will be used. I am glad I made it.

I link up with Scraptastic Tuesday =)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Commencing an End of Year Review - Improv Piecing

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

Back in February I had started an improvisation piece, which initially was supposed to become a wonky log cabin block for a fellow bee in a parallel hive. As I had gotten the instructions wrong, I decided to keep it and kept puzzling along whenever I found time. You can see that it cannot have been very often because now it is December and the improv piece is still unfinished. 

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

Before I went on leave to Ghana, I was sure that I would be able to cross the project of my 4th quarter FAL list but now it seems I might have been somewhat hasty with that assumption. Improvising in that manner took me a long time. A lot of thought went into this, which seems counter-intuitive when one thinks of 'improvisation' but this is how it felt to me.

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

Still the front panel is finished and I counted 20 different fabrics that are making it up. There will be even more on the back panel that I have commenced piecing as well. Once done, it will make a pretty and modern pillowcase. 

improvisation piecing, patchwork, scrap busting, Puppilalla, log cabin block, patchwork pillowcase

I am also trying to decide what colour to chose for the bias tape that will frame the pillowcase. Any ideas? 

I am currently in the process of finishing the last bee block of the year and am not sure that I will be able to fit in any more sewing before Christmas. There are so many things I would still like to share with you this year though that I could easily publish a blog post a day at the moment.  

I guess I have to make up for my absence in November.  =)

I am linking up with 'Scraptastic Tuesday'

Monday, 1 August 2016

Polaroid Pillowcase, The Third One & A Few Orphaned Polaroids

Patchwork, Polaroid Photo Pillowcase, Puppilalla, Cushion Cover,

There is nothing like a bit of pressure to get things done.

Fussy Cut, Patchwork, Polaroid Photo Pillowcase, Puppilalla, Cushion Cover,

I spent the weekend away up North at the Baltic Sea and I really, really, really, really wanted to get this last pillowcase done before hopping on the train.

Fussy Cuts, Patchwork, Polaroid Photo Pillowcase, Puppilalla, Cushion Cover,

My friend Alex lives in Greifswald and has a 4 year old daughter. I thought the pillowcase would make a lovely 'hostess gift' for the little one. It did to an extent. 30 minutes after having unwrapped her present, the little girl came back to ask if I had ANOTHER one for her...   =)

Fussy Cuts, Patchwork, Polaroid Photo Pillowcase, Puppilalla, Cushion Cover,
Patchwork, Polaroid Photo Pillowcase, Puppilalla, Cushion Cover,

This is the first project of my 3rd quarter Finish-A-Long list that I have completed. In fact it is the first Finish-A-Long project completed this year. I just like how cheerful it looks. Oh - and if you want to see more of the initial Polaroid panel construction process, have a look here.

Patchwork, Polaroid Photo Pillowcase, Puppilalla, Cushion Cover,

That leaves me with the last final and therefore now orphaned Polaroids. As it is no use for them to gather dust, I am happy to give them away to anyone planning a similar project. Any takers? Just leave a comment beneath this post.

Patchwork, Polaroid Photos, Puppilalla,

The fussy cuts in the middle measure 3 x 3 inches. First come, first served. 


I link up with 'Let's Bee Social'. Why don't you come over and join the fun?

Sew Fresh Quilts

2016 FAL

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Polaroid Photo Quilt #8 - To Raise a Smile

I just arrived back this morning from a lovely two week break AFK in Portugal, where I spent two weeks of leave at the beautiful Algarve coast. Literally, back about three hours, I find I have tons of things to catch up on. First and foremost, I need to catch up with and start contributing to my groups on the '2016 Advice and Tech Help for New Quilt Bloggers' exchange on the double quick, as everyone is so far ahead of me now. Secondly, I have to finish writing the block tutorial for the 'Stash Bee' Quilting Bee, where I will turn queen in June. Lots to read, sew and do.

However, just now I would like to bring the Polaroid Cancer Relief Quilt project to an offcial close today.

Last time we looked at the completed quilt and a few leftover blocks that wanted turning into pillowcases. 

I extended the blocks with extra Polaroids and strips of the grellow fabric to bring the size up to 50 cm x 50 cm, which is a decent sized standard German pillowcase, well or cushion - as the British say, size. 

Puppilalla, Polaroid Patchwork Pillowcase, Cushion
To secure all the seams, I used one-sided cotton fabric heat bond. I cut the heat bond to size, pinned the right sides together (pretty side with the non - adhesive side of the heat bond) and stitched once all around, just leaving a small opening to turn the fabric inside out. I closed the seam and ironed on the heat bond. Thereby, I managed to secure all seams and to avoid any raw edges.

Puppilalla Pillowcase

Here the first pretty pillowcase front and back. I had inserted another three Polaroids but noticed that there was no real necessity to do so and only used two of the already finished panels for the second one, which explains the differing amounts of visible striped fabric in both pillowcases.

Puppilalla, Polaroid Patchwork Pillowcase, Cushion
Here the second pillowcase front and back. I like how cute they turned out. Perfect accompaniments to the quilt.

Puppilalla, Polaroid Patchwork, Pillowcase, Cushion,
A few weeks ago, I finally handed the presents over. Subsequently, I e-mailed a beautiful photograph that shows Hanno, Emma and Milla with their presents and huge smiles to all actively involved sewists that contributed to this project. I cannot share it with you here as the family would like their privacy to be respected but I can tell you that Hanno immediately identified the Star Wars fabrics with a great hello and also noticed that the blanket shows his name. The girls were equally delighted with their pillowcases and to my relief there was no jealousy whatsoever. 

The wrist tattoos that litte James sent along stole the show however and the kids spent the next 30 minutes splashing around with water trying to stick them to their arms. Hanno's mum and dad were visibly tearing up with emotion and I could see that the gesture meant a lot to them. Hanno will have the next screening at the end of June when we will know how he is.

Puppilalla, Polaroid Quilt, Patchwork Pillowcase, Cushion

Thanks again to all helpers who raised smiles and tears of joy.

Puppilalla, Polaroid Patchwork Pillowcase, Cushion

...and, yes - you did count right. There is still one panel and a few Polaroids left. Who knows, I might make myself a pillowcase too.


Friday, 8 April 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long - 2Q FAL list

The first quarter of the year is gone and I have not even made an attempt at finishing any of the UFOs. However, I would claim I had good cause having been busy with the polaroid photo quilt, which got completed this month. So I am rolling last quarter's UFOs over into the next one and add another.

1. Tessellation Style Pillowcase

In all fairness, the pieces of the pillowcase followed me around my sewing space - serving as constant reminder - since I had entered them into the 1Q FAL list. I keep looking at them but no real inspiration struck yet as to how to proceed.

2. Mobile Phone Cover for my Sister

No - I did not even think about this one in the last three months. The cover will be made of the striped fabric and have ruffles of the 'Botanique' print on the front, which in turn will be held in place by the blue velvet ribbon. The blue fabric will used as lining. To close the cover I thought to use press buttons. And of course the butterfly needs applying.

3. Convert the improv pieces into a finished object

A first improv attempt that now wants to be turned into something useful? practical? whimsical? - something finished anyway.

If you have unfinished projects just biding their time, you might consider joining the Finish-A-Long as well. Make sure to check out the entries as there are stunning pieces among them.


2016 FAL

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

A Pillowcase - with a little help from my friends...

The week before last, my best friend approached me with a request for assistance in making a pillowcase for one of those grain filled cushions that you can heat in the microwave for warmth and comfort. He wanted to send both, grain cushion and pillowcase, to his sister as a birthday present. I promised to help and asked him round that Sunday.

My friend rummaged my stash, pulled out fabrics and looked to me for directions. So I showed him a youtube tutorial (always good to have a visual), explained my sewing machine and talked him through the rest, while working on my polaroids block tutorial. He sewed that pillowcase in 3 hours and I am as pleased with the outcome as he is. 

The front of the pillow with a little fussy cut applied on top.

Patchwork, Pillowcase, modern, Puppilalla, Applique, fussy cut

The mouse applique with seam allowances folded and ironed to the back, ready to be sewn on.

Patchwork, Pillowcase, modern, Puppilalla, Applique, fussy cut close up

For the opening on the back my friend decided on a border of these cute critters. Works for me =)

Patchwork, Pillowcase, modern, Puppilalla, Applique, fussy cut

The only thing not so great is the quality of the above photographs. As my friend wanted to send the pillowcase off as quickly as possible, there was no time to take any daylight pictures. Even photo editing can only do so much with suboptimal lighting conditions.