My latest pushion has been very much influenced by Autumn and a tree shedding it's leaves. It's not been easy going by any means. Now why is it the easy stuff I find difficult?
I used some of the lovely Aviary 2 wood grain fabric I bought the other day to make a tree trunk and along with a selection of fabric scraps I fused them onto a panel of cream coloured solid. I wanted it to look like the leaves were coming off of the tree. I did think about using a zigzag stitch on all the applique bits; only I thought it might look nicer if the edges started to fray over time giving some slight texture, so I used sketchy embroidery quilting to attach these. I then used some 2.5" scrap squares in colours that reminded me of Autumn to create a border. Once that was done I decided to tackle free motion quilting for the first time.
Disaster struck before I even got started. I don't use my trusty Janome for anything that requires a darning foot because I don't have one. A friend generously gave me their sewing machine when they were downsizing. It was almost new as they'd not used it that much. They had also bought a darning/embroidery foot with the express intention of using the machine for more arty rather than practical sewing. So for a variety of reasons (including having no manual so not knowing how to do things like wind bobbins on this machine - although thanks to Kat I can do that now!) I've been using this machine for embroidery/free motion type work. Last night when I was getting the Brother out of it's bag the case/tray bit you detach when you want to get into the bobbin area or sew an arm or tube fell off and hit the laminate floor in my dining room. It only fell about 3 inches, but it broke both the plastic bits that attach it to the machine. It is a really cheap/poor design which means every time I've ever moved the machine it's tended to come off and it's a surprise disaster hasn't happened before. Given that Brother has aimed this at the budget home sewer I'm surprised they haven't made a machine with a more robust casing. I'm not a clumsy person. I've bought superglue I'll attempt a repair, but the two broken bits of plastic are smaller than little finger nails, so I'm not optimistic of success. What it did mean is my first attempt at free motion quilting involved wedging a coaster under the tray in the hope it would sit attached to the machine - as I was sewing some areas I could feel it shifting apart so I had to keep odds-ing that! However, I'm really pleased with the result. I did about 20 stitches practice. Then thought no just get on with it!
No laughing too hard this is a first ever attempt!
It was a bit fiddly going round the tree leaves and I have quilted it far more densely that you would a quilt. I am not sure I'd have the stamina (or thread) to do a whole quilt because it is quite demanding and you do have to concentrate. Once I got a rhythm going I quite enjoyed the process and definitely want to use it in other projects.
I then used some of the perle I got last week to do a few lines of stitching around the border. I decided the tree trunk was looking a bit bare so I fussy cut an owl from one of the scraps from Kaelins destash the other day and had him sat looking out of a hollow in the tree.
Assembling the pushion was when it all went wrong. I decided to make a simple envelope closure on the back and harvest an old cushion cover for fabric like I did with the last cushion. However, by the time I'd sorted the ends for fraying and then folded over for seams I had such bulk it ended up looking like a right dogs breakfast. So having wasted a lot of time and effort I grabbed my trusty unpicker and decided to start over. I had some Joel Dewberry fabric in my stash (as it was a whole yard I had wanted to save it for a larger project. But what's the point of waiting and buying fabric when I have something suitable with no project in mind!) so I used some of that and put a zipper in the back.
It was only when it was all finished I realised it was too small for any of my pillow forms. See another simple part of the making I messed up! I had a very floppy old cushion that I stole the insert from and squeezed it into the back. I still seem to get this problem with the flap to conceal the zip bulging open. I must remember to stitch it down for the next cushion. The zipper went in easily enough. It seems wrong that the zipper was easier and tidier than the envelope closure but there you go!
So now I have another new pillow for my living room make over!