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DIY Tutorials One Room Challenge Sewing

Sew Easy

May 13, 2015

** 5/15/2015 Hey! Hey, friends! I’m feeling under the weather today, so unfortunately, we won’t have a Friday post this week. See you Monday!**

First, I would like to say thank you for all the kind words that many of you have expressed over our little playroom. Thanks, guys! I also have to say, I’ve been surprised by how much attention our pillows have been getting.

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

Especially, this guy:

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

So, I thought I’d share about how I made the pillows. Most of them we made either from discount fabric or with scraps from other things. Let’s sort through that, shall we?

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

  1. Feather Pillow: The front of this pillow is made from the same cotton fabric as the poufs, which was leftover from a DIY curtain project that went wrong. The backside is made from fabric leftover from recovering the seat of the desk chair. The feathers were made with my Silhouette and paint.
  2. A-Z Pillow: Made with fabric I found at Hobby Lobby for 50% off
  3. Mustache Pillow:  Made from no-longer-used crib sheet, Silhouette cut file and iron-on vinyl
  4. Cloud pillow: Bought from Ikea
  5. Eagle Pillow: Made from one of Michael’s old t-shirts
  6. Hello Pillow: Pillow cover bought from Hobby Lobby for 50% off  (Pillow insert was one we already had.)
  7. Geometric Pillow: Pillow cover bought from Hobby Lobby for 50% off  (Pillow insert was one we already had.)

Now, this is not going to be some ground breaking tutorial, so brace yourselves. This is more the… logical and easy way to make throw pillows. I actually found this sewing machine (case, instructions, accessories and all) on the side of the dumpster at our old apartment community. Bonus: There was nothing wrong with it! I’ve used it quite a bit, but mostly to sew straight lines (e.g. hem curtains, make a few pillows), nothing fancy. Which is why, this is not going to be a complicated tutorial.

So, what shape is a typical throw pillow? Yep, square. For all of the pillows that I made, I cut two squares at a size that looked appropriate. That’s right, I didn’t even measure. After cutting the squares, I turned both pieces right-side in.

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

I used the straight stitch on my sewing machine to sew all 4 sides together; stopping before completely sewing the 4th side closed.

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

Next, I turned the fabric right-side out. After that, I cut open a pillow that we were no longer using and used the stuffing to fill this pillow.

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

I used my hand to shove it through the hole and distribute the stuffing evenly.

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

Closing the pillow involves hand sewing it closed. I attempted to follow this tutorial and use a blind stitch to close the hole. It’s basically only sewing through the seam allowance, which hides your hand stitching. You can see what I mean in this picture:

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

See how I’m not sewing through the fabric that shows? I only passed the needle through the fabric that will be on the inside once the pillow is closed. My blind stitch still needs a little work:

Sew Easy - throw pillow tutorial via

It puckered in a few places, I suppose, because I didn’t evenly space my stitches. Nonetheless, it was closed, so I just made that corner the bottom. You can’t see that it’s not perfect when it’s on the sofa.

As for the very popular mustache pillow, I followed the same steps as above when it came to sewing the pillow form. As mentioned, the fabric was a former crib sheet, which I found at Target about 3 years ago. The mustache + glasses were made with my Silhouette machine. Silhouette has an online store where you can download graphics to be cut (or drawn) by your machine. I had a store credit, which I used to purchase the mustache + glasses graphic for $.99. Basically, I downloaded the file, sized it in my Silhouette software, and then had it cut on iron-on vinyl.

mustache plus glasses

After it was cut, I pulled the backing off of the vinyl, put it on the pillow form, passed the iron over it a few times, and that was it!

I use the free printable to make the feather pillow. I downloaded it to my Silhouette and turned it into a stencil. I was out of my removable vinyl, so I used contact paper. It did not work out as well. It was flimsy and did stick to the fabric very well. It took me about 1.5 hours to pull all the negative space away from the stencil.

feather pillow 1

Once I finally got it on the fabric, I used paint samples and fabric medium to paint the feathers.

feather 2

Anytime I paint on fabric I use fabric medium. It keeps the paint from being hard and scratchy on the fabric. Honestly, I’m not thrilled with this pillow. I love the feathers, but I don’t like the way the yellow one turned out. It’s a bit too light. I don’t mind enough to remake it, however; at least not right now, anyway.

feather 1

As for the poufs, I did not use my Silhouette. Surprise! No, I cut a potato and hand stamped that thing. After pulling negative space from that feather stencil for almost 2 hours, I just couldn’t anymore.

potato stamp

The potato was easy, but also time consuming. The color is a paint sample of Savannah Moss by Ben Moore. I used fabric medium, and the same method of de-stuffing other pillows to fill the poufs. Although, I did have to buy some stuffing from JoAnn’s to finish the second pouf. As for the construction of them, I used this tutorial. The measurements for our poufs were slightly different than that in the tutorial. I did 20″ squares (the tops and bottoms) and 10″ rectangles (the sides). I was really apprehensive that making the poufs would be complicated and difficult. If you’re in that same boat, I can say, it was really simple!

I’m pretty sure I’ve used my Silhouette and sewing machine more in the last 6 weeks than I have the entire time I’ve owned them, which is about 3 years. Crazy!

Well, that’s my little pillow sewing tutorial for you. What about you guys? Did any you do any sewing or crafting lately?

DIY Tutorials Home Maintenance One Room Challenge

Replace the Rot

May 11, 2015

We last left you all with our big playroom reveal that took us a good ole’ 6 weeks to complete, but there was one thing that we didn’t post about that occurred as part of the makeover process: replacing the rotted window stool. We noticed, about a year ago, there was some discoloration on the window stool. When I took a closer look, I noticed that there also was a part of it that looked like it had a small crack. When I pressed on it, my finger went right though the surface. The rot was about 2 inches in length, and very, shall we say… unsightly.

rotted window stool

There are (at least) 2 different ways to fix wood rot. There is the wood filler route or removing and replacing the whole thing. I’m sure we would have had a nice result with the wood filler when it was all said and done, but there was no telling what other places were susceptible to rot. Not to mention, using wood filler actually requires many more steps than just replacing the whole thing. One of those steps being, would be sanding down the wood filler. Read the warning labels on those things, and you’ll see why it’s not my favorite idea. So in our minds, replacing it was the way to go. We’ve done this once before in the kitchen, when we were remodeling it. It’s actually fairly simple. We did learn one lesson, though: Use the old stool as a stencil. You can measure the old one and do all that jazz, but trust me it’s just easier to use the old one as a stencil.

We went to Home Depot and purchased an 11/16″ x 5-1/4″ stool. I know a lot of people call these things sills (Guilty!), but if you go to the hardware store looking for this under the name “sill”, you are not going to find what you need.

replacing a window stool via

They sell them by the foot, and they’re in 12 foot pieces at Home Depot, but you can cut it down to the size that you need. I used the hand saw there to cut it. I had to refine the cut at home, because it was a little jagged. (I had cut it slightly longer than needed to account for this.) I suppose I could have had them cut it there, but no one was available at the time to use their electric saw; the downside of shopping on a Sunday, I guess.

After refining the edge at home, I carefully removed the old stool using a box cutter and a crow bar. The only thing holding the stool in place is caulk and a few nails. The first step is to use a box cutter (or any razor) to slice through the caulk between the stool and the wall and the stool and the window. It took a few passes with the box cutter to get through all of the caulk.

replacing a window stool via

After I cut through the caulk, I carefully tried to wedge my crow bar between the stool and the drywall. We have a trim piece under the window stool and I was also trying to keep the stool from breaking (to use as a stencil), so this was a pretty slow process. The stool did end up splitting, but not completely.

replacing a window stool via

replacing a window stool via

Once I had the old stool removed, I took it into the garage and placed it on top of the new one, and marked where it needed to be cut on the sides. I cut through my traced lines using the jigsaw. Presto! The exact same piece!

replacing a window stool via

Same piece or not, it’s often during these times when you discover just how uneven your walls are. The piece fit, but there were huge gaps between the wall and the L-shaped sides of the stool. I took it back into the garage and lightly sanded the side that meets the window. This made is slightly shorter in depth, but it brought the stool closer to the wall. There were still gaps, but at least now they were a size that we could caulk. (Before the gap was too big, and the caulk would have just fallen through the gap.)

replacing a window stool via

I used our nail gun and 2″ nails to secured it. After that, it was a matter of caulking it, letting it dry, and then putting a fresh coat of paint. Blair used her tried and true method of using a grouting sponge to get a perfect caulk line. She tried to video it for you guys, but only using one hand and trying to caulk with the other – it didn’t turn out very well. We will post a how-to soon enough, because it’s something everyone needs to know!

replacing a window stool via

Here is a little secret for you: we still need to paint it. The trim in the playroom is painted a softer white, so if we painted it a crisp white (which is the color we want it to be), it would have stuck out like a sore thumb. Painting the stool means needing the paint all of the trim in the room. I’m sure we’ll get around to it sooner or later. We actually need to repaint all of the trim in our house, so it will happen. Painting trim is just such a time suck! That aside, it was pretty painless process, but also something that I hope we won’t have to do again. If you’re wondering what caused the rot in the first place, it has to do with the vent in the room blowing directly towards windows and resulting in condensation. I plan to keep an eye on it. We may need to turn the vent to prevent the problem. Unfortunately, it’s not the type of vent that allows you to adjust the direction of the air flow.

Hope this article helps anyone going through the same thing!