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project: a pillow for the birds

Bird Pillow


Today's project is for the birds. But not really. Because I'm thinking that a bird wouldn't enjoy a hand stitched pillow as much as you would!

But let's back up. Nancy from Do Small Things with Love emailed me a little over a month ago, and we decided to do a little project collaboration. I thought it sounded fun, but never expected us to be so in sync. You see, the idea was for each of us to make an embroidery project with a bird theme. That was all we discussed...and we both managed to make bird pillows!

bird pillow

Here's Nancy's amazing satin stitched bird. Don't you just love how she fills in with different shades and angles? It's like stitched stained glass! Go visit her to check out her pillow, and read on to make the Scandinavian Avian that I've made. Oh, and if you've made a bird project that you'd like to share, add your link at the end of this post!

Here's what you need to make my bird pillow:

Osnaburg fabric (this is considered a "utility" fabric, but makes an inexpensive substitute for linen)
Cotton fabric
Pearl cotton
Pillow form (alternately, you could use stuffing)

Tools: Scissors, pins, sewing machine, needle and thread
Pattern: PDF embroidery design for the Scandinavian Avian. Large (what I used) & Small are included.

Bird Pillow

On a piece of osnaburg fabric that is at least one inch larger than your pillow form dimensions, embroider the bird design. I used pearl cotton in one color for the entire design, but you could do this lots of ways. For the main outlines I used chain stitch, and for the other areas I used stem stitch.

Bird Pillow

Cut a piece of cotton fabric to match your front fabric. My pillow form is 12x12, and my fabric is 13x13. Add a little extra if you want to have a hint of wiggle room, or consult your pillow form packaging for recommended cutting size.

Actually, I did mine a little backwards due to a planning error on my end. The front of my pillow was about 1/4 inch smaller. But it worked out.

Bird Pillow
Bird Pillow

Pin the fabric wrong sides together. Plan to leave a large opening at the bottom. The opening on my pillow cover was about 10 inches. If you're using stuffing, the opening doesn't need to be so large.

Bird Pillow

Sew around the pillow with 1/2 inch seams. On each side of the opening, back stitch it like crazy so your seam doesn't pop when you're inserting the pillow form. Clip all the corners, but not too close.

Bird Pillow
Bird Pillow

Turn the cover right side out and poke those corners out so they look pretty.

Bird Pillow

I found that the easiest way to get the pillow form into the cover was to sort of roll the pillow. Once it's in all the way, get it nice and situated the way it should fit.

Bird Pillow

Not gonna lie. This giant opening scared me. It really didn't look like it would be sewing together very well. But it worked!

Bird Pillow

Fold the raw edges in and hold the two sides together and pin, pin, pin.

Bird Pillow
Bird Pillow

Stitch the opening closed with ladder stitch. It's sort of like running stitch that is hidden between the layers, and nice and strong for closing up openings. If you've never learned this method, you need to! And next week I'll be showing how it's done.

As you make your way across the opening, you'll want to remove the pins when you can no longer stitch with them.

Bird Pillow

Tie off your thread, and you've got a new pillow!

Bird Pillow
Bird Pillow

I'm very happy to say that this Scandinavian Avian was promptly snatched up by one of my sisters to go in her freshly decorated (almost finished) room. I think it was a hit!

Thanks again to Nancy for setting up this little blog project collaboration! Now it's your turn...



8 comments:

  1. I love this! So simple and it would make a great gift! I may try to make a few of these for Christmas presents.... :)

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  2. These are both so cute! I need to embroider some pillows, ASAP!

    -Becca
    Ladyface Blog

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  3. This pillow is so gorgeous, I love it! It looks so pretty and neatly done :) xx

    www.jessthetics.wordpress.com

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  4. I love BOTH pillows! Thanks for sharing yours!

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  5. Cute pillow! I made this owl picture a year ago. You may like it. One of these days (when I figure out how) I'm going to make a tutorial for it.

    http://inlovewiththreads.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/look-what-i-won/

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  6. gorgeous! Even as a lady who is scared of birds.

    I love embroidered cushions. They're one of my favourite things to make.
    I'm a bit afraid that when I get a house it will be covered in cushions.

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  7. Lovely on both counts! I have an owl in the works from a sketch I did eons ago, but alas, it's still in sketch mode. ;)

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