Saturday, May 14, 2016

Memory Pillow Tutorial

Ok, Friends, its time for Part 2 of my latest project.  A very dear family friend recently lost her husband in a motorcycle accident, so I have been making memory pillows for her and her family (her husband had a very unique sense of style) and wanted to post a tutorial for how to make them. I posted earlier in this post how to make them, but this post is about making the covers.

 But first I want to take a chance to say ALWAYS watch out for motorcycles when you're driving, you have a Ton of metal protecting you, they have leather and a helmet protecting them.  You're Bigger and Stronger, WATCH OUT FOR THEM. Its just like we teach our kids. Watch out for the little kids, help them, keep them safe. Do the same for the riders, they're smaller and lighter. and if you bump them its minor for you, but a big deal for them.

OK, anyways, back on topic.

The first step is to pick your shirt and  inspect all the button holes
Like I said, he was unique :-)


A button hole this warn is one to avoid, it won't hold very well on a pillow, so go around it for your pieces

 Measure your shirt and try to figure out your placement.  Watch out for the arm seams, this tends to be right around the shirt pocket and is often the narrowest part, If you get the shirt seems on to the front of the pillow it looks a little weird,  but not unuseable, its ok to have the seams for the sleeves in your seams, so don't be afraid to have the seams in your first cut, just don't let them be more than an inch or two from the edge.

I like to center my measurements over the buttons, Like this pillow below is going to be 19" on the cut (since its an 18" pillow) so I have the measuring tape centered at 9.5" over the button hole

Cut your pieces to be an Inch bigger than your pillow form (like for an 18" pillow you would cut a 19" square.

The first time you make one of these pillows, especially if it was a friend or family member, it will be very difficult to cut into the shirt, that's OK. Grab a glass of wine, or cut it WAY bigger than you need.  Remember you can always take it in and make it smaller.  Now that I've done quite a few of these, it doesn't bother me to cut into the shirts, but the first couple took some psyching up (or liquid courage ;-) ).

 Put your pieces right sides together and sew all 4 sides, don't worry about leaving a turning space because you can unbutton the buttons and use them to turn it right side out.

I like to use my serger, but I know not everyone has one.  I would recommend  doubling up on your stitching, like doing two rows of straight, stitch, or zigzag if your fabric has some stretch too it.  there won't be a ton of force on the stitching, because if its too tight the buttons will gape, but there will be some force on it if anyone leans on the pillow or sits on it, and you don't want the stitching to pop.
 Try it on the pillow to see how it fits, you don't need to turn it right side out for the first fitting, this is just to make sure its close.  The more you do, the less you'll have to fix each time.  Feel free to sew it looser the first few you make, its easier to take in the pillow case than the pillow.

I didn't take a good picture of the next step, but I'm going to tell you anyways. Its totally optional, but  I like to dock the corners of my pillow cases.  It keeps you from getting floppy corners.  That always bugged me about the throw pillows at the stores.  When you sew a straight square you can't get the pointed corners stuffed in a way I like.  So I notch off about an Inch off each corner.  I also use this opportunity to sew the care tag from the shirt onto the corner, especially if its not a standard wash and dry fabric. For example, my friend had ALOT of Silk shirts with very unique embroidery, and I'd sew the care tag and the description of he embroidery into the corners.

Turn it right side out and stuff your pillow form in.  Button up the pillow and you're good to go!
Isn't that Sew Cool! 

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