Jun 4, 2013

Union Jack Pillow

My kitchen banquette was my first large-scale upholstery DIY.  Since then, I've made Roman shades, panels, shower curtains, pillows, and even hand towels.  When I made the pillows for the banquette, it was really a hodge podge of Hobby Lobby tan-ish and blue-ish fabrics because I was impatient and didn't want to wait for samples.  The more I look at the walls and the counters each day, the more I want the pillows to be tan with some sage green accents instead of aqua blue/turquoise.

My best friend Margaret brought me a fabulous linen stripe from Paris!  She knows me too well... That immediately sparked my next project: updated pillows!  So now that it's summertime (I really am more of a summer blogger anyway), I give you my first sewing project of the season: The Union Jack Linen Pillow.

A while back, I spotted a pillow like this at an antique shop.  I loved the neutral palette--and Union Jack seems to be popping up on pillows, rugs, and dressers everywhere.  My plan was to re-purpose a tan linen drawstring bag as the main body of the pillow.  And I still had a yard of white linen left over from Selah's quilt.  Perfect and re-purposed!

Thinking this would be an easy project, I measured 19x12" for the pillow and added in my seam allowance (1/2" for me, but most prefer 1/4").  I cut 2" strips for the flag stripes and worked on pulling 6-8 threads to make the fringe on each piece.  That was a little bit harder than I thought.

I figured out a little trick that keeps the linen from getting too wonky.  Just like burlap, linen has a loose weave so I pulled a thread at the 2" mark and "ruffled" that thread all the way out.  Once it is flat again, voila!  The line that's left is the cutting line.

Starting with the front of the pillow, I laid out the X pieces, stitched, and then added the cross pieces.  This was pretty simple, but I had to pin it a lot because it kept moving around.

I wanted a flange around the edge to make it a little more interesting.  Wow, I did not know how difficult that would be.  Since the edge was unfinished , I tried cutting 2 1/2" strips and mitering a "frame" around the pillow.  I messed that up so many times I just pinned the "frame" to the front (right sides together), sewed at a 1/2" seem allowance, and then I resewed and trimmed my mitered corners.  This method worked great in the end, but I'm sure there is a more traditional/correct way to do this.

I chose to piece the flange before sewing on the back of the pillow to be sure it would line up.  I even used this pin on Pinterest to do my invisible zipper!  One down, four more pillows to go.