Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Gift and a Tutorial All in One!

Last year while living in TX and working at Western Hills Elementary school, one of my dear friends was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. I knew that she would be doing a lot of going back and forth to the hospital, I knew that she would need a bag to carry everything in. I scouted around online and found some pretty teal ribbon fabric along with some pretty sparkly butterfly fabric from the same line. I made her this bag.

The handle was long to swing around and there was a pocket on the inside. Another friend of hers (who I had never met) made her a blanket from the same exact fabric!

Not too long ago I heard the news that after a non-cancer related surgery it was found that the cancer was back and had spread. This was very heartbreaking for all of us but I know that if anyone can fight it off a second time it would be her!! 

I knew that I had to make her something else so I racked my brain and talked to her wonderful British husband and he suggested a pillow. Of Course!! I also knew that she liked British shows like me and I just happened to have a Tardis pattern that I had been dying to try. The Tardis is the space ship from Dr.Who which is one of the best shows ever!!

At the same time, I also needed to write a tutorial for the upcoming Craft Market that I am in....
be sure to mark your calendars for this!!

So my tutorial will be for adding a zipper to a pillow cover. I know that a lot of people are afraid of zippers and prefer to do an envelope type cover but I like the zipper....little boys are tempted to stick their hands and stuff in the envelope pillows! 

The first thing you need to do is finish the front and back of the pillow. Size is totally up to you and what you are making. Mine are a finished size of 18 in by 24 in. I accidently got a 24 in zipper instead of a 18 in one but longer is always better than shorter. 

 The next thing you are going to do is line up the bottom edges of the front and back covers, right sides together. 

The draw a line 1/2 in in from the edge across the whole length of the bottom edge.

Then draw a line one inch in from each side.

 Now you will sew along the line you made 1/2 in. in from the bottom. You will sew the first inch with a regular stitch, making sure to back-stitch at the beginning and end of the one inch. When you get past the one inch mark, increase your stitch length to as high as it will go to make a basting stitch.

It should look something like this. I am using a more contrasting thread but you can also use something that blends in. No one will see this part of it anyways.

Now you are going to iron the seam open. See how it sticks up? (Please excuse messy desk in the background!)

Press open the seam so that both sides lay flat and open. 

Now you are going to lay your zipper face down along the crease where the 2 pieces connect.

I like to open the zipper a little so that I know it is inside the area it needs to be. This also helps you to be able to sew the ends down well. 

Then pin the zipper down along the length of it so it doesn't move. You may also mark a 1/2 inch in from the edges on the zipper so that you know where you started basting. 

Then it is time to put your zipper foot on your machine and start sewing around the zipper. I like to do extra back stitching at the ends to make it more sturdy. 

Once I get down to the opposite end as the zipper, I like to  flip it over and clip the threads right on top of the zipper so that I can move the zipper further down and out of the way when I get to the area that I started. 

Here is what is should look like on the front after you have sewn around the zipper! Now remember how I clipped the threads over the zipper pull? Now is the time to clip the rest of the basting stitches and pull the little threads out! (I really hate this part)

This is also the time to cut any over hang you have on your zipper ends.

 Before sewing your pillow closed on the other 3 edges, be sure to open the zipper at least half way!!!! This is very important. It is quite a pain to not open the zipper.....trust me, I have been there!

Sew them together, turn inside out, and stuff with whatever you desire!!!
Doesn't this look nice?!!

As I mentioned, I made this pillow as a comfy pillow. Instead of using a pillow-form, I made my own pillow for the inside. I got some Micro Beads to give it some weight and them I stuffed the rest with Pellon Perfect Loft to give it some comfiness!

Lesli received the pillow and loved it! I hope to be able to add picture of her and the pillow soon!

You can read more about her and her amazing journey here

Let me know if you try out my pillow zipper and if you have any questions!!


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