30 July 2008

Sweet Victory

The pillow is finished.  After closer inspection of the hand sewn closing seam, I decided to just leave it for now.  If the poor thing falls apart, I will fix it then.  My perfectionist tendencies cause me to re-do things over and over until they turn out worse than they were in the first place.  I'm pleased with it over all.  The next one will be better and the sense of accomplishment I have is motivation enough.  I'd start on another one tonight, but I don't have enough material to make the pillow lining.  Anyway.

Things I learned tonight:
  • Less is more when it comes to pillow stuffing
  • 5 inch doll maker's needles are scary
  • Tufted 25 inch pillows are not that hard to make
  • It's fun to cover buttons.  You should really try it.
If I had someone to cut the fabric for me, I'd plow through these like nobody's business.  Unfortunately, I am not at a point where I can afford employees for my hobbies.    

This picture is not the best, perhaps a better one will come soon.  But there it is.  My pillow.  Not too shabby for the first one, don't you think?

On a slightly different note, I bought lining for my future drapes today.  If the fabric I want ever goes on sale, my living room will get a face lift, and my new pillow will have a new home.

God created man to create machines for a reason

Last night, after various chores had been completed, I sat down to watch tv and picked up my pillow form, liner, whatever you want to call it. I made a few stitches. It wasn't so bad, but I quickly ran out of patience, and my fingers were bleeding. All the confidence I had built the previous night was shattered. I put it down. I picked it up. My attention was waning, but I really really really want to accomplish this. So, I stomped downstairs, grabbed the sewing machine, and took it to my dining room table and set it up.

We fought for a little while. I brought over my pillow form, and tried to sew it closed. The thread broke, as it always does. I couldn't keep it going straight. But I was determined. And finally, after what seemed like forever, but was probably just 10 minutes, it all came together. I sewed that pillow form's seams. It took 5 minutes. FIVE! The machine worked, and it worked fast, and it worked well. What was I thinking hand sewing? It took me two hours to get halfway through that pillow form. It took me 2 minutes to do the rest with that glorious machine.

Which left me enough time to cut, pin and sew the outside pillow cover. Which took maybe 10 minutes to sew with that machine. The real challenge of the evening was sewing the outside cover shut without the seam showing. That was tough, especially because it was a full pillow, filled with 1.5 pounds of poly-fil stuffing. The seam is messy. I didn't know how to finish it off. That is what seam rippers are for.

To the casual observer, it probably doesn't matter. But the integrity of the pillow is at stake. So, either way, I'm almost done. Just that tricky seam and the decorative buttons.

The point of this story is this:

I should have just started with that machine. Instead of going the hand sewing route. I could have made 5 pillows by now!

Ok. Maybe just 1. Possibly 2 if I had been really determined.

But still. I'm in love with this machine. I have a feeling we're going to be good friends.

29 July 2008

The Pillow

Last night, I began my first sewing project. Ok. Not the first one, as several months ago (could it be a year now?) I decided to take up quilting. It was much more difficult than I imagined. Difficult in that there are too many steps and I have a short attention span. After a few small quilt tops that never met their backing, I decided to take a step back and begin sewing. And then life happened, and home buying happened, and moving happened, and mess happened, and the sewing machine and all of its companions were lost.

Until now.

A friend, the baron, showed me some of her favorite fabrics, and I decided that I would be using these fabrics to make wonderful home accessories. So I bought fabric. And it sat for a week. Then this past weekend, I went to the bookstore and bought a book of projects and patterns, and settled on a pillow. It is large, but it is relatively simple. I went to get the notions I needed last night at the behest of my husband who insists I just think about projects without doing. Now I have to prove him wrong.

When I got home, after a small bowl of my new favorite frozen yogurt, I arranged all of the tools I would need. I cleared off the coffee table (which is not an adequate workspace) and unfolded my fabric to measure and mark where I needed to cut. And then I cut the liner. It was not straight. I am not good with scissors. Maybe I missed that day in kindergarten. But I powered through. I pinned the ends together, and against the advice of the book of patterns, I began sewing by hand. Mostly because I didn't feel like setting up the sewing machine. Turns out sewing by hand is harder than walking downstairs to get my machine and plugging it into the wall, and now my fingers hurt. However, I find that ten thousand back stitches in a row is rather relaxing, and half way through my pillow liner seam, the stitches are even and strong.

I am getting better already.