Friday, June 16, 2017

Scallop Border Guide

Today I'm happy to share with you a guide I've been working on forever it seems. It's called the Scallop Border Guide and it details FULL directions and printables so you can add a scallop border to ANY quilt. It does require some quilty math, but I've done almost all the work for you by making printable worksheets to workout all the math. Just take a few simple measurements and you'll be off!

I added my first scalloped border to my Christmas Dwell (the Dwell pattern comes from the book Simply Retro by Camille Roskelley) quilt I made years ago. I wanted to add a border to finish off the quilt, but knew a regular border wasn't the look I wanted. After seeing some vintage quilts with a pieced scalloped border, I knew exactly what my quilt needed. After many google and Pinterest searches, I couldn't find a straight-forward method for adding a scalloped border. So I put my math skills to use and tried to figure it out on my own. Wow! That first time was tricky because my quilt wasn't divisible by the same number all the way around my quilt. I had some funky numbers and swore off ever doing it again! Afterwards, I had the thought to add an additional background border to "even" everything out so I could find a divisible number. Sure enough, that was the trick that worked! Now I've added scallop borders to at least five different projects all using this method. I won't say it's fail proof, but I've never NOT had it work out. 

This guide includes directions, diagrams, full-color photos, and printable worksheets. Please, for your own sake, read ALL the directions before beginning. This is not a complex method, but it does involve quite a bit of math and measuring. Take your time and read ALL the directions before beginning.

I hope you enjoy using this guide to make many beautiful projects!  If you're on Instagram, post your projects using the #ecscallopborderguide or tag me so I can see your projects. 

Download the Scallop Border Guide HERE

Disclaimer: I don't claim to be the creator of a scallop border. However, this is my method that I've used time and time again. Feel free to use for your own quilts and quilts to sell. Please do not redistribute this guide. Rather, share a link to this blog post where the guide can be downloaded directly.  

Disclaimer #2: I've worked and reworked my directions and worksheets many, many times. (If you could see all my drafts with marks and edits.) However, even with that I am still human. All directions and worksheets are given in good faith. I will try my best to answer any questions, but do realize that without seeing how you filled out your individual worksheet and not knowing your exact quilt, I may not be able to answer every single question. However, I will try my best.
 Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Arbor Blossom Blog Tour

Thanks so much for clicking over to my blog today! I'm LeAnne Ballard and welcome! Feel free to follow me over on Instagram as I post there much more often than here.  I'm thrilled to be part of this blog tour introducing Nadra's new line, Arbor Blossom for Riley Blake Fabrics.

I love Nadra's designs and always anticipate her new lines.  I have both of her previous lines in my stash and they are just dreamy! When Nadra reached out to me to participate in her blog tour, I was both extremely flattered and excited!

Today I'm sharing with you a simple and classic pinwheel and patchwork quilt showcasing her beautiful new line. 

Arbor Blossom just says summer to me with its bright and beautiful colors and florals. I knew I wanted to use a classic quilt block for my project and kept coming back to either a pinwheel or patchwork quilt. Since I couldn't decide, I just decided to do both and this sweet quilt was born!

Then to keep things summery and vintage, I added another quilting favorite; a pieced scalloped border. I love adding scallop borders to quilts that feature lots of low volume prints. It frames the quilt slightly softer than a regular border and adds the perfect amount of charm. 

You can find the FREE guide to adding a scallop border to any quilt by clicking HERE.

Thanks again for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you in the comments about what you want to make with Arbor Blossom! Make sure you follow me on Instagram as I post there often. Also check out the list below to see other beautiful projects from some amazing bloggers featuring Arbor Blossom. Happy Wednesday friends!

6-12-2017        Heidi Staples  
6-13-2017        Kim Kruzich    
6-14-2017        LeAnne Ballard
6-15-2017        Allison Jensen
6-16-2017        Veronica Am    
6-17-2017        Nadra Ridgeway

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Christmas Economy Block Quilt - How I'm Making it and Fabrics

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen my Christmas Economy Block Quilt.

I've always wanted to make an Economy Block Quilt and after I saw Tasha's darling one last year, I knew it had to happen.

I'm currently in the middle of making this quilt and hope to have it finished in the next few weeks. Every time I post pictures, I get lots of questions about how I'm making it, where I get my fabrics, and other general questions.  So today, I thought I'd put all the information in one convenient spot. 

I used Tasha's tutorial over on Instagram. Her directions are simple and I love that the blocks are oversized so you can trim them down perfectly. My blocks are measuring about 10.5" unfinished, which will be 10" finished. They really are the perfect size for a couple of reasons:
1. They aren't too small that I have to make a kajillion.
2. They are large enough that the center print is perfect for fussy cutting larger scale prints.  I'm making 42 blocks which will yield an approximate 60" x 70" quilt.

Besides Tasha's quilt, my inspiration for this quilt came from Amy Sinbaldi's Christmas quilt I saw on Flickr years ago.

photo credit: Amy Sinbaldi from her Flickr
photo credit: Amy Sinbaldi from her Flickr
My vision has evolved over the years to an economy block quilt, but I still love the vintage look and design of Amy's quilt.  About three years ago I started searching for fabrics. I didn't have any Christmas fabrics like that in my stash, so I slowly began to pick up prints here and there.  When I find a print I love, I purchase at least a 1/2 yard if I want to fussy cut. When purchasing, consider the scale and repeat of the print. If it's larger scale, you may want to get more than a 1/2 yard. If I really love a print and see myself using it for other projects I get at least a yard.

The most asked question when I share my progress on this quilt is where I get all my fabrics. I literally have picked them up from just about everywhere. (local quilt shops, online shops, JoAnn's, Hobby Lobby, my mom's garage, etc.) I'm always on the look for fun vintage/vintage inspired Christmas fabrics.  Like I mentioned above, when I find a print I love, I get at least a 1/2 yard. This is mainly to allow for fussy cutting, but also to use in other Christmas projects. I love sewing for Christmas!

Many of the prints in my quilt are out of print. I struck the jackpot last year on eBay when I found a seller destashing many of the Christmas prints I was searching for. Some of them I paid more than I've ever paid for fabric, or will ever pay again, but it was one of those times I wanted to pay more because of the vision I had for this quilt. So if you have your sights set on some out of print fabrics, be prepared to pay more as they are hard to find.

If you are wanting to collecting some vintage or vintage inspirited Christmas fabrics, here are some of my tips for finding them.

1. Search eBay and Etsy regularly for vintage Christmas prints. Search  using "vintage Santa fabric", "retro Santa fabric","vintage Christmas fabric, etc. Or if you're lucky to know the name or manufacturer of the print try that too. Usually around July/August, I see a big increase of "new" prints since Christmas projects are getting on people's radar.  If I'm looking for a specific type of print, for example candy canes, I would search "vintage candy cane fabric" or just "candy cane fabric". I also search by just manufacturer name because many times the person selling knows who made it but not necessarily the name of the print. I often search "Alexander Henry Christmas fabric" because they are great at producing vintage inspired prints. I do the same for "Timeless Treasures Christmas fabric", "Michael Miller Christmas fabric", etc.

2. JoAnn's. The last few years JoAnn's selection of vintage Christmas fabrics has been fabulous. (With the exception of 2016, which has been pretty terrible in my opinion.) Whenever I mention JoAnn's I get asked about quality. When selecting fabrics, I go off the touch and feel of the fabric.  If it doesn't look or feel right, I don't use it. Here's my thinking, these quilts only come out for about 6 weeks a year, then are put away. They aren't being used everyday or going out to be judged. So for me and my purposes, I'm fine with the quality and haven't had any issues, as long as I stay away from fabrics that don't look or feel right.  I have another Christmas quilt with JoAnn Christmas fabric and I haven't had any issues.  One thing to consider. If you purchase a fabric from JoAnn's with lots of red, navy, or other saturated color, I would definitely prewash to cut down the chance of bleeding. Also make sure you use a Shout Color Catcher the first time you wash your quilt. (Which is my practice with any quilt the first time I wash it.) There's my two cents on using JoAnn's fabrics.

3. Basics. For this type of quilt I think some great basics are essential to break up the prints.  You can never go wrong with:
- a good polka dot (my favs are the Riley Blake swiss dots both white and La Creme)
- stripes (Bonnie and Camille and Tasha Noel are ones I've used in my quilt)
- gingham (Bonnie and Camille and Riley Blake)
- metallic gold polka dots from Hobby Lobby that I've loved using
- red and green basics from various Bonnie and Camille lines
- small scale Christmas prints (holly, Christmas trees, snowflakes, etc.)  these I've picked up at JoAnn's and from various designers
- other lines that are currently available that I've used in my quilt are Little Joys by Elea Lutz/Riley Blake, Pixie Noel by Tahsa Noel/Riley Blake, Christmas Kitsch by Anna Griffin

Below you'll find some fabric pictures with sources/manufacturer. I've included the fabrics I get asked about most frequently. This information is correct to the best of my knowledge.  Some of these are near impossible to find, but you never know! Keep looking and you may just get lucky like I did!

The Santa Claus print is currently available on eBay as I'm posting this, but just on the solid cream background!

The Alexander Henry print is near IMPOSSIBLE to find now. If you find it grab it! It's one of my favorites and I finally found it last year on eBay. I saw some a few years ago on Etsy, on the green background, but I waited too long to get it.  The print is much larger scale than I anticipated so I got creative with my fussy cutting. 
The Michael Miller print was available at Hobby Lobby earlier this year (2016). I went and asked the ladies at the cutting counter about it and they said it was a type of fabric they couldn't reorder. They only would get more if the warehouse sent more out. I heard many people couldn't find it at their Hobby Lobby stores. Sorry! It is available on Etsy and eBay, but at insane prices, $16.99 for a HY. I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby. I was on search for this print for years.

Those cute Santas are a JoAnn's print from a few years back. I bought some when I came out initially, but didn't get nearly enough. I was lucky and found some last year on eBay, the person was practically giving it away, so check there. I always see it pop up each year, but it's gone quick.

 Santa's Village is currently available on Etsy. 

There you go, I truly hope this was helpful! Happy vintage Christmas fabric searching and sewing!

LeAnne :)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Lovely Little Patchwork Blog Tour

A few months ago, I was lucky to receive an advance copy of Keri's darling new book, Lovely Little Patchwork. I absolutely loved thumbing through the pages and making plans. I even found my oldest daughter sneaking away with the book and pouring over the colorful pictures and delightful projects.

For the  blog tour, I decided to make the Apple Tree Pillow. Autumn is hands down my favorite season. I grew up on the East Coast of the United States and have lived a good portion of my life enjoying the spectacular fall season that the East Cost delivers.  Now, my family resides in the southwest dessert of the United States where fall isn't the splendor to which I'm accustomed.  I make up for that by decorating my home in oranges, yellows, browns, all the cozy colors I can once this time of year rolls around. Now, these colors aren't my typical color palate, but the fall season brings all these colors out in our home.

I loved making the Apple Tree Pillow because I pulled out all my scraps of those warm, cozy fall colors. I even found a great piece of corduroy for the trunk.  I made an alteration to the  pattern and pre-quilted the background linen fabric. I love the texture of machine quilting  and I knew it would only add to the cozy factor of this project. This was very simple to do and didn't increase the difficulty at all. Today, I'll share my process for this change in the pattern.

1. Cut the Background Linen Fabric
I used a Moda Mochi linen. Depending on the type of quilting you do, you may want to increase the size of the background fabric. This will account for any shrinking that may occur as you quilt. I cut my background fabric 1" larger than called for in the pattern. In the end, my background only shrank about 1/4". After quilting, I trimmed my quilted background piece to the size called for in the pattern. Since I wanted my cross hatching pattern to remain centered, I cut an even amount off from each side rather than trimming all from one side.

2. Baste the Background Fabric
This process is the same as preparing any project for quilting. I usually baste pillows on my kitchen island, but you can use any hard flat surface. I use basting spray, so I baste in an area I can clean and wipe down afterwards.

Tape the backing down with the wrong side up, pulling it taught but not tight. Next, place your batting on top of the backing. Lastly, add your pillow top with the right side facing up.
Note: You certainly can use basting pins if you prefer. I just prefer basting spray with pillows because it's quick and makes the quilting process much quicker. 

Pull back approximately half of the pillow top and batting so you see your backing. Clear the area of any threads or lint. Spray the area with basting spray, then place the batting on top and smooth out the batting with your hands beginning in the middle, working towards the outside. Repeat with the bottom half of the pillow. With the pillow top still folded back, spray on top of the batting and place the pillow top on top of the batting, smoothing again using the same method.

3. Mark Quilting Lines
While the project was nice and smooth, I marked the quilting lines for a cross hatch pattern. I used a straight acrylic ruler and a Hera Marker. Start by marking one diagonal line down the middle from corner to corner. Then mark 1.5" from the center in both directions across the background fabric. Next, mark a long diagonal line going from corner to corner, intersecting the previous lines. Continue in the same manner stated above. Having the lines 1.5"apart was a  great measurement because the lines weren't too close together.

4. Remove the Tape and Quilt as Desired
I used my walking foot to quilt my straight lines.  For a cross-hatch pattern, begin by sewing on one of the center diagonal lines. Then, sew the remaining lines to the right. When you get to the edge, return to the center and sew out in the other direction. Then sew on the remaining center diagonal line and repeat the process again.

Your background fabric is now quilted! (I forgot to take a picture at this step, but you can see it in the applique stage below.) I thought of this later, but there is pre-quilted fabric available at big box fabric  stores. I am not sure about the colors available, but if you didn't want to quilt on your home machine, that may be an option for you.

After your background fabric is quilted, continue on with the rest of the project as outlined.  If you'd like more tips for perfect pillows, checkout my blog post here. I've made dozens of pillow over the last few years and am constantly asked to share tips! I always say if you can make a mini quilt you can make a pillow! It's just a mini quilt with an extra layer of backing! Even if you've never made a mini quilt, a quilted pillow is a great way to get a taste of quilting without a large project.

Another project that I made from Keri's book is her sweet Little Red Riding Hood Doll. However, I added a twist to these dolls and made them Christmas Pixie's for Tasha's booth at Quilt Market. The dolls feature her new line of fabrics for Riley Blake Pixie Noel.  Maybe one day I'll get it together and share the variations for these dolls, but sadly I don't think it will be anytime soon.

As you can see Keri's book is full of delightful projects for your home, friends and family. Keri's projects are perfect just as she designed them. I love that you can easily add your own personal flare to make the project your own. You'll love adding this book to your collection and you'll be sure to use the projects time and time again!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the other fabulous makers who are participating in this fun blog hop!

28.08.2016Sarah Edgar @sarahedgarprettyfabrics
29.08.2016 Heidi Staples @fabricmutt
30.08.2016 Megan Jimenez @QuiltStoryMeg
02.09.2016 Cheri Lehnow @tinkerellen
03.09.2016 Ange Hamilton @alittlepatchwork
04.09.2016 Sedef Imer @downgrapevinelane
05.09.2016 Kimberly Jolly @fatquartershop
06.09.2016 Samantha Dorn @aqua_paisley
07.09.2016 Ayda Algın @cafenohut
08.09.2016 LeAnne Ballard @everydaycelebrations
09.09.2016 Sharon Burgess @lilabellelane
10.09.2016 Lauren Wright @mollyandmama
11.09.2016 Kate May @thehomemakery
12.09.2016 Debbie Homick @happylittlecottage1
13.09.2016 Wynn Tan @zakkaart
14.09.2016 Kim Kruzich @retro_mama
15.09.2016 Jennie Pickett @cloverandviolet
16.09.2016 Veronica AM @VividFelicity
17.09.2016 Nadra Ridgeway @ellisandhiggs
18.09.2016 Amanda Woodruff @acraftyfox_amanda
19.09.2016 Minki Kim @zeriano
20.09.2016 Sharon Yeager @daisycottagequilting
21.09.2016 Peta Peace @shequiltsalot
22.09.2016 Sarah Scott @piccolostudio_sarah
23.09.2016 Kristin Cobb @goobadesigns
24.09.2016 Erin Cox @whynotsewquilts
25.09.2016 Kerri Horsley @sewdeerlyloved

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tutorial: Tips for Perfect Quilted Pillows

If you follow me on Instagram you know I love to make quilted pillows. This obsession started about two years ago, but this year it really took off. I've made one quilt this year and pillows...I seriously have lost count. Seriously.

Every time I share pictures of my pillows, I get lots of questions. So I'm finally sitting down and writing a post with all my favorite tips. This is the best way to describe making a quilted pillow; it's just a mini quilt with an extra layer of backing! Even if you've never quilted before, a quilted pillow is a great way to get a taste of quilting without making a large quilt. If you've never tried quilting, making a quilted pillow is a great way to give it a try!

So where do you start? Easy. Pick a pillow pattern to make or make a single block of your favorite "large block" quilt pattern. Look for quilt blocks that are 16" or larger or make a few of a smaller block and sew them together.

If you want a square pillow, pillow forms come in most even sizes starting at about 14". Forms also come in rectangle sizes, but they sizing is a little more limited. Just look on Amazon or check out JoAnn or Hobby Lobby to see the sizes available. Before you begin, it's always a good idea to plan what your finished size will be.  Most of my pillows are 16" or 18' finished and I use either an 18" or 20" form respectively. (I cover forms in greater detail later.)

Tip: Sometimes, the pillow works out to be a size that form doesn't come in, like 17". Don't worry, I just go up to the next size and in this case it would be18" or 20". Or you can always make your own pillow form. Look for a blog post in the future about that!

Pillows that I plan to put on a couch or a chair I like to make in the 16" to 20" range, but you could make it large or smaller. There are no rules. I have a great free pattern right here on my blog called the Simple Patchwork Pillows or if you want a fun holiday themed one check my All Season Patchwork Cover in my Etsy shop.

Ready to start?! Here we go!

This tutorial will start at the point of having a pillow top completed, but before basting and quilting. After making your pillow top, square it up to your desired size or size stated in your pattern. This is important. If your pillow top isn't square your pillow won't be square. I know all my blocks aren't always perfectly square, but we're shooting for as square as we can. If you complete your block and feel like it's missing something, try adding a 2.5" border all the way around. This also can help square up your pillow top if necessary.

* I apologize in advance for the quality of some of my pictures. It was a stormy day when I was binding this pillow, but I was bound to write this blog post! Next time I make a pillow, I will update these pictures with some brighter, prettier pictures. *

1.  Baste the Pillow Top
You will need your pillow top, a piece of batting, and backing as appropriate for your pillow.

A couple of things about the backing.
1. You won't see this backing as it will be on the inside of the pillow.
2. I tend to use whatever I have around. I don't buy anything "cute" for this step since you don't see it. So use a fat quarter that isn't really your style anymore, a plain piece of fabric, or anything else that's handy. If you need to buy some material, get an inexpensive cotton. When I buy fabric for the pillows I sell, I purchase several yards of either white or off white.
3. Press. Press. Press. and press again. You want your pillow top and backing to be crisp and free of wrinkles.

This process is the same as preparing any project for quilting. I usually baste pillows on my kitchen island, but you can use any hard flat surface. I use basting spray, so I baste in an area I can clean and wipe down afterwards. Note: You certainly can use basting pins if you prefer. I just prefer basting spray with pillows because it's quick and makes the quilting process much quicker. 

Tape the backing down with the wrong side up, pulling it taught but not tight. Next, place your batting on top of the backing. Lastly, add your pillow top with the right side facing up.

Pull back approximately half of the pillow top and batting so you see your backing. Clear the area of any threads or lint. Spray the area with basting spray, then place the batting on top and smooth out the batting with your hands beginning in the middle, working towards the outside. Repeat with the bottom half of the pillow. With the pillow top still folded back, spray on top of the batting and place the pillow top on top of the batting, smoothing again using the same method.


Tip: You certainly can use basting pins if you prefer. I just prefer basting spray with pillows because it's quick and it makes the quilting process much quicker. 

Since my project is nice and smooth at this point,  I mark any quilting lines. Quilt your pillow top as desired. My favorite way to quilt pillows is using a cross hatch pattern. For details on this style click here, and scroll down to step 3.

2. Trim Pillow and Square Up Quilted Pillow Top
After quilting, trim away the extra batting and backing. Simply use a ruler and rotary cutter to square up your quilted pillow top to the appropriate size.
Tip: At this point sometimes I zig zag or serge around the quilted pillow top to prevent fraying.  Just keep your stitching within the 1/4" seam allowance.  I highly recommend this if you are working with a linen. Linen can fray like crazy!

3. Prepare Backing for Envelope Pieces
Typically, I add an envelope backing to my pillows. It's quick, easy and makes switching out pillows a snap! Because no, every pillow I make isn't a full-stuffed pillow. I just make the covers and store them flat in my linen closet when not in use.

To make an envelope back, you'll need backing. Now, unlike the backing for the pillow top, you will see this backing. So use something fun! Or I if you want to keep things simple, I'll show you away to use a basic fabric (solid, ticking, linen, etc) and add a little detail to dress it up a bit.

Determine the size for your envelope backing pieces. Take the size of your unfinished pillow top (for example: 20") and divide by 2 then add 4". So for our example of 20" it would be 20"/2 = 10" + 4" =14'.  Cut a strip of fabric to that width, our example would be 14", then subcut {2} 20" (the width of your unfinished pillow) x 14" pieces.

Next, you can finish off the backing in a basic or a detailed way.

On each backing piece, fold under one of the longest edges 1/4" once and press. Then fold under a 1/4" again and press. (Or if you have a serger run the long edges through your serger and just fold under once.) If you have a directional print, make sure you fold under the correct edges. Topstitch the folded under edges in place. Place aside.

In addition to the two envelope backing pieces, you'll also need a 2.5" wide strip of fabric that's the same length as your pillow. (For our example, you would need a 2.5" x 20" strip) If you have scraps from bindings, this is a perfect use for them! Fold the strip in half with the long raw edges meeting, wrong sides together, and press.

On ONE of the envelope back pieces, fold under a long edge as outlined above. For the other envelope back piece, line up the long raw edge with the long raw edge of the decorative strip, right sides together and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance. The raw edges will be exposed on the inside of the pillow, so I recommend either zig zaging or serging to enclose the raw edge.

Press the seam up and away from the decorative strip. Top stitch along the pillow backing to keep the seam in place. Trim away any excess decorative strip. This piece will now be longer than initially cut. (In our example it was originally 14". Now it will be about an 1" or so longer.) Trim the piece so it again measures the correct size, 14" in our example. The piece with the decorative will be the TOP envelope back piece.

This is what the back of your pillow will look like once it's done with the extra decorative strip. So cute!

4. Attaching the Envelope Backing 
Now you need to decide if you want your pillow to be bound or unbound. Either way is perfectly fine, it just depends on the look you want.  This will effect how you attach the envelope backing pieces and both methods will be shared below.  

Tip: Once you line up your envelope back pieces, you may notice the pieces are a little wider than the quilted pillow top. This is normal, especially after quilting. Just trim off any excess FROM THE WIDTH (in our example 20") and it will be just fine. You still want the pillow back pieces to measure the correct length, 14" in our example. Or you could simply measure the width of your quilted pillow top and cut the envelope back pieces to that same width.

Next, I'll cover the two ways to finish pillows; unbound and bound.

Unbound pillows look great and are a breeze! If you need to finish your project quickly, this is the way to go. Just attach the envelope back pieces, turn, and you are done! Here is what an unbound pillow will look like finished.

To begin, place your pillow top with the right side up.

Place the TOP envelope back piece on top of the pillow top, RIGHT sides facing, as shown below. (This is important because if you place it the other way, the pillow back will open to the top instead of the bottom.) Make sure the finished long edge is facing the middle of the pillow.

Next, place the bottom envelope back piece wrong side up as shown below. Again be sure the finished long edge is facing the middle of the pillow.

Pin all the way around the pillow.  Sew around the entire pillow using a 1/4" seam allowance. I like to go around twice to reinforce.

Tip: These edges will be raw inside of the pillow, so I recommend either zig zagging or serging to enclose the raw edge. Press the seam before turning.  Turn the pillow right side out, poke out the corners, they will be slightly round.

Bound pillows look classic and crisp! Of course, bound pillows have the added step of adding binding. It takes me about 25 minutes from cutting the binding strips to finish binding the pillows, but I make lots of pillows.  Here's what a bound pillow looks like finished.

Tip: I prefer to sew the binding to the front of the pillow then turning it to the back and machine sewing it in place. You can certainly sew it on by hand or reverse the process. I prefer machine binding my pillows simply because they are tossed and knocked off my couch and chairs CONSTANTLY due to young children. I've never had any of my hand bound pillows fall apart, but I just feel better about a machine bound pillow withstanding childhood. :)

 To begin, place your pillow top with the right side down.

Place the BOTTOM envelope back piece on top of the pillow top, WRONG sides facing as shown below.  Make sure the finished long edge is facing the middle of the pillow.

Place the TOP envelope back piece on top, WRONG sides facing as shown below. Make sure finished long edge is facing the middle of the pillow.

Pin all the way around the pillow. Using a basting stitch, baste around the entire pillow using 1/8" seam allowance.

At this point sometimes I serge or zig zag around the raw edges, especially when using linen AND ticking.  It was a fraying mess! If you do this, be sure to keep it within a 1/4" so it will be covered by your binding.

If you would like full directions on binding your pillow, scroll down section 6 on binding.

5. Pillow Forms
Like I mentioned, I don't use a form for every pillow I've made.  I have several different pillow forms and I switch out my covers as I used them. When I'm not using my covers, I store them flat in my linen closet.

The size of pillow form you use depends on the look you like. If you like a less full looking pillow use a form the same size as your form. (Example: for an 18" finished cover, use a 18" pillow form.) If you like your pillows fuller, use a larger form than the size of your pillow. (Example: for an 18" finished pillow, use a 20" or 22" pillow form.)

Below you can see a comparison. Both pillows are 18" finished.  The pillow on the left uses a 20" form and the one on the right uses an 18" form.

I prefer the look of a down pillow form, but I use both the polyester and down forms.  Down forms can be pricey, but there are a few ways to get them for less. Recently, I bought two down pillows for my living room from Home Goods. They were $19.99 each and the pillow covers have zippers. I love this, because I can switch out the covers whenever I want. Plus getting both a cover I love and a down form for $19.99 each is a great deal! Another idea is to check the clearance section at stores like Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, etc.  Many times there are pillows there that I'd never buy because of the cover. However,  many times they have a down FORM. I simply toss the cover and use the form. If there's a zipper, just unzip the cover and there's  your form. Other times, there isn't a zipper so just carefully cut open the cover, toss it and there is your nice down pillow form.

If the above isn't an option, just shop around. Another option are polyester forms. You can find polyester forms at Walmart for a great price. Polyester forms are great for pillows that get lots of wear and tear because you can wash the form.  They also are less expensive which is always nice too!

6. Binding
Although this is my favorite binding method, you can always choose to use your preferred method. There really is no difference in binding a quilt and a pillow. You just are working in a tighter space.

* I apologize in advance for the pictures.  It was a stormy day when I photographed this so my lighting went in and out. Hopefully the next time I bind a pillow I will have better lighting and I will update the photos.*

I like to sew my binding to the front of my pillow then fold it to the back. I then sew it in place from the back of the pillow. On the front, you will have a seam right next to your binding, but it blends in nicely with the rest of the quilting.

Cut enough strips for your pillow. For up to 18" pillows {2} 2.5" x WOF strips will be sufficient.  For any pillow larger than 18" you will want {3} 2.5"x WOF strips.

Join your binding strips together using a diagonal seam. Before trimming, press the seams open, this makes it much easier to press the seams open. Trim seams to 1/4".  Roll up binding and here we go!

Beginning on the bottom of the pillow, match the raw edges of the binding and leave about 5" inches that wont be sewn down. I like to leave a lot of the binding not sewn down so I have room to join the binding. So I begin sewing about 2" from the edge.

Start sewing using 1/4" seam allowance. Stop 1/4" from the edge and back stitch.  Remove from machine. 

Fold the binding at a 90 degree angle.

Fold the binding back over itself, creating a fold and clip in place.

Continue sewing the binding on using 1/4".  Repeat the above process for the remaining corners.

After the final corner, stop sewing after about 3". Line up the binding along the edge and when you get to the starting point, fold the binding back on itself. Press to create a crease.

Move to your cutting mat. Line up the crease with a line on your cutting mat. (My finger is pointing to the crease.)  Measure out from that line 2.25" and cut. Note: Typically, you cut at the same width as your binding strip, in this case 2.5".  However, I find that I always end up with some excess, so I cut 1/4" less than the width of my binding strip.

Open up the end of the strip. (This is real life quilting people! Of course I have a seam right where I'm joining my ends.  It came together really nicely, just press that seam open!) Draw a diagonal line from your crease to the opposite corner. This will be the line where you sew.

Now open both ends of the binding. Make sure there are no twists!

Place the ends on top of each other, right sides together, lining everything up nicely. ( I couldn't line it up nicely and take a picture so that comes next!)

Lined up nicely! Pin together.

Sew on the line.

Before trimming the seam, make sure the binding isn't twisted and lays nicely.

Trim the seam to 1/4" and press. If you feel like there is a little extra binding and you'll have bunching as you sew it down, flip the pillow so the binding faces the feed dogs.  As you sew, the feed dogs will ease in any fullness and there won't be any bunching.

From the top of the pillow, press the binding away from the pillow.

Fold the binding to the back of the pillow and clip in place. Sew the binding to the pillow. I like to line up the inside edge on the left side of my presser foot with the fold of the binding.

Miter each corner before approaching and clip in place.

Now you have a perfect pillow! Quilted pillows are truly one of my favorite things to make. They make great gifts and are such a fun way to make a quick quilted project. You really can make one in an afternoon!

Here are some of my favorite pillows I've made!

Happy Pillow Making!



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