Friday, March 9, 2012

The hardest pillows I've ever made!

Earlier this week I showed the workroom sample pillow I made in order to work out the kinks before making the real pillows- the reversible inset flanged plaid and striped wool shams with leather welting on both sides.
Well, today was supposed to be the big day- the bed was to be delivered today, and we were all set to display the pillows spectacularly on the new bedding, and guess what, no bed!  Very disappointing!  So we arranged the pillows in the corner of the room and photographed them there.

I did a lot of research to decide on a fabrication method.  Making the sample pillow ensured that the technique was sound, but I also needed to be sure that it would work with the actual materials, since they were so challenging; so I then made one corner mock-up with the wool and leather.

The big aha moment came when I realized that I could apply the welt to the flange first, rather than to the pillow body.  More on that below.  I even put in a mini zipper to be sure that would work.  To my amazement, the zipper was easy.

Since the flanges were also reversible, I cut the plaid strips and laid them out to size and pressed in the diagonal miter before sewing.  Then I laid out the striped wool on top to be sure I was making them exactly the same size.  After sewing together and pressing, I used fusible interfacing to stiffen the flange and keep the fabrics from flopping apart.

As I said earlier, my big breakthrough moment was when I thought of applying the welt to the flange instead of the body of the pillow.  I tried that technique with the little corner mock-up and was really happy with it, so I forged ahead with the four pillows.

At the corner, I clipped the welt and made a big right-angle notch, so there would be no bulk when the pillow was turned right side out.  I left the needle in the work and pivoted the flange, so the sewing continued on a straight line.

Then the flanges were applied to the pillow bodies....

and the second layer of welting went on next.... 

and finally, eventually!,  the backs and the zippers.
Since so much time went into thinking, envisioning, experimenting, and practicing, the actual fabrication was easier than I had expected, and the outcome was quite dramatic.  I delivered these pillows happily!


  1. Thats a great idea putting the welt on the flange! How did you sew the front to the back? I can imagine sewing in the ditch by the welt if there was only one layer of welt, but 2? And your matching in the miters is perfect, nice job!

  2. Thank you! Sewing front to back- I did one layer at a time, didn't try to stack them. Both flanges already had welting on.

  3. Hi, yea I got you did the welt and flanges first, but then you have to get the front and back together to keep the pillow where it belongs... Thats the part I can't envision. I have to do 2 of these but thankfully not with leather! Also wondering how you did your back zips, no picture of that and there are so many options... Thanks from a clueless seamstress.