Friday, August 16, 2013

Pillows from the past

Making pillows... new and old

I recently had a project to do for a dear friend.  She had a curtain panel, and asked me if I could make some pillows for her couch, using this piece of fabric.
It was a piece, about 72 inches by 80 inches, in a taupe (leaning toward gray) velveteen fabric, with a  40% cotton/ 60% polyester blend.

I went to my local JoAnn Fabric shop to get some pillowforms, in various sizes.  (I used my 40% off coupons, of course!)

24 inch, 20 inch and 14 inch pillow forms

I laid the panel out on my hardwood floor, to figure out what size to cut the pieces. I decided to make the basic envelope back pillow case.  There is a good tutorial by Susan,  from Freshly Picked blog , explaining the basics of this envelope back  pillow cover.

I wrote out the size of pieces I would need to make a 24 inch square,  a 20 inch square, and a 14 inch square pillow.
I took the time to measure out the areas I would cut, to make sure that I had enough fabric for these 3 sizes.  Tailor's chalk marked easily on the velveteen-like fabric, to show me where to cut.  I wanted the hems in the curtain to be the overlap/hemmed piece on the top of the back of each pillow.

It became a little thick at points where all 3 pieces joined, but I sewed  through slowly  at those spots. ( I helped pull it along a little, too.)

The back of each pillow....  using the hemmed edge of the curtain panel
All three pillows covered and comfy for all

Scraps left after I made the 3 pillows
I used up most of the curtain :)

While I was making these pillows,  it reminded me that I recently saw some gingham pillows in my closet, that my sister, Amy, (of Amy Made That!) and I made when we were younger.
I got them out of my closet, and called my mother to ask her what she remembered about them.  We couldn't remember much!  My mom even found the third pillow , that she has kept at her house. Amy and I used to do embroidery projects and cross stitching when we lived at home.
The third pillow at my Mom's house        photo courtesy of Amy Made That!

Our cross stitching on gingham pillows

After I asked Amy about the pillows, she did some research and  looked around on the internet, and found this blog that featured  ' cross stitches on gingham.'
The blog was called, "Susie Can Stitch."   Sept, 23, 2008, and  Susie showed these pictures from the  actual magazine we got the pattern from.   June, 1979 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. (per Susie Can Stitch)

Our pillow is like the  on the rocking chair on the right!June, 1979 issue of Better Homes and Gardens(Photo courtesy of Susie Can Stitch)
I wonder if  The Patchsmith  has  afternoon tea on a table cloth  like  this in her Palace...... hmmm

Susie Can Stitch even took a picture of the actual pattern from the magazine!  

The pattern we used  from  Better Homes and Gardens   ( June 1979)
(photo courtesy of Susie Can Stitch)
I think I made the green gingham
I think  Amy made the purple one.  It was stuffed plumper than mine!
Amy made the blue pillow      photo courtesy of Amy at  Amy Made That!

Amy sewed our pillows together, putting lace around as a border.  (I didn't ' like' to sew on a sewing machine back then....)(boy, did I miss out on a lot of fun!)
Our three gingham cross stitched pillows

I have to admit it was fun looking back and seeing something we made in a summer of the late '70s.  
Does anyone else have mothers that keep nearly everything?  What have you re-discovered from  your early sewing and stitching  past?  

By the way, Amy also has a post about  our gingham cross stitch pillows  on her latest blog.  I am hopping over to see what she has written about them.  
I'm off to my sewing room!


  1. Oh I love trips down memorie lane ! I recently found a bunch of old cross stitch magazines from the early 90's . Great post !

  2. Your pillows are beautiful! I love your cross stitched pillow. They have a "timeless" quality!

  3. How wonderful that you all have a reminder of past-times. Amy's blog tells us that it was a lazy lovely summer when two sisters shared a stitchery project and the cushions were made. I wouldn't dare to use them for my afternoon tea - they would have pride of place on my bedroom chair. I am curious though - you both say there are three cushions - who made the third?

    1. Amy made two of the three.... I guess I didn't want to make a second one!

  4. Hey......I am giggling about that remark that mine was the plumper pillow! Just like now! ;)

  5. Very clever making those pillow covers out of the curtain panel! They look great! Wow that's pretty interesting about those cross stitched pillows and the history and finding the very same pillow pattern and pictures in the "Susie can stitch" blog!

  6. What a great post! And thanks for sharing some of your memories! Love the pillows you made from both time periods in your life. Pretty sweet, Susie!!

  7. You girls are so talented and your cross-stitching is perfect! I love reading reading this post, Susie!!

  8. How luky you are!!!
    I'd like my sister sew with me, but she hate sewing, so, unfortunately, I have not such nice memories!
    Wonderful pillows!

  9. Yes, I am lucky! Do you two like to cook or bake together?
    I missed out on a lot of quilting, because I only did embroidery or sewed by hand for MANY years!!


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