Pillowcases.

After Gavin read my “to quilt or not to quilt” blog post we had a conversation in which he reminded me that I had

  1. not yet totally figured out how to work my sewing machine
  2. not managed to sew straight seams on the projects I had undertaken (slipcovers for some pillows in the baby’s room)
  3. still needed to practice making pillow cases

Well, now I’ve made pillowcases, and without the assistance of my dear toddler halper things seem to go a bit more smoothly. My halper enjoys fiddling with all the knobs and buttons and do-dads on the “cheen” (machine). O spent part of the afternoon on his “bak!” (bike) under the watchful eye of A, while P snoozed in his swing next to the kitchen table.

I decided to slipcover green, rectangular shaped bolster pillows that we’d gotten out of my MIL’s storage unit back in 2007 shortly after we moved to California. I’ve tried to do so once before, but the seams were so off and the end result looked so awful that the one I attempted was quickly returned to it’s original state within minutes.

I don’t really have a budget for fabric to possibly accidentally destroy in my sewing endeavors – which is part of the reason I’m going to make a quilt out of old onesies, I already have tons of them – but I did come across a bag of random fabric bits that my mother gave me at some point and I unearthed when clearing out a closet. This makes for some pretty interesting fabric selections.

With that in mind, I set out a few goals to accomplish a few things with this project:

  1. have decent results
  2. get better aquatinted with the machine
  3. practice sewing straight (or at least straighter) seams
  4. practice piecing things together (to help with my end goal of piecing together a quilt)
  5. work with different types of material

I set up the machine at the kitchen table so I’d have a large area to work with. I carefully measured, measured again, and then cut out squares of fabric, and pieced them together. I sewed alternating pieces together into long strips and then sewed the long strips together. I didn’t have quite enough to cover the entire pillow, so the back side is a large rectangular piece.

I’d like to think I accomplished my goals.

  • O has decided he wants them for his room (he clutched the blue & white one announced “me!” and refused to let it go until I offered him juice), and Gavin has deemed the pillows to be “fun” so the results are, at the very least, decent.
  • I’ve gotten better aquatinted with the machine. The tracking is occasionally off, and I need to work on the pressure I apply to the foot pedal. I should probably flip through the manual again.
  • The seams are getting better. On little pieces, like the squares I was piecing, I can sew fairly straight lines, the problem comes when I’m doing a long run of them.
  • I worked with a variety of materials for this project, flannel and a dishcloth (the coke print & red), cotton and some synthetic unknown that frayed at the edges (the blue and white).

I also talked with one of my friends who has made several quilts. She’s advised me to get “fusible interfacing” to help keep the fabric from stretching oddly – this was a problem with the dishcloth, and I imagine it will be an issue with the t-shirt-like onesies.

My confidence has been slightly boosted, and while I still feel more comfortable baking than sewing, I think that, with a little more practice (and reading the machine’s manual) in a few months (when P grows through the 3 remaining bins of clothing) I’ll be ready to take on the baby clothes quilt project. Until then, if anyone has any junk fabric that I could practice on, that’d be great.


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