Project #1 – Ribbon Pillow

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Well, here it is… the Graham Crafter Blog.  Sometimes I make things, and sometimes people like them.  This is the place where I’ll show you how to make them, too.  The first project is a relatively easy pillow.  I took my inspiration from a ridiculously overpriced version at Pier One.  And if you know me, I won’t buy it if I can make it.  And, my couch came from Ikea, so I felt like the pillow should not be the most expensive thing in the living room.  This project does require that you know how to sew, but it’s all straight line sewing – no need to read a pattern!

To start, choose your materials: 5 or 6 spools of ribbon in different colors.  You can be creative with the width and texture, but you probably don’t want to go less than 1/2″ wide.  Cut the ribbon into 19″ strips.  You’ll also need two pieces of fabric, cut 18″ square.  I chose an upholstery fabric because it’s a heavier – nice for a throw pillow.  Unless you want just a pillowcase and not an actual pillow, you will also need stuffing (available at pretty much any craft store).  Finally, you’ll need thread and fusible “stitch witchery” (also available at pretty much any craft store, or even grocery superstores that have craft sections).  “Stitch witchery” is also known as “that crap you use with the iron when you don’t want to actually hem your pants.”  Oh, and you should probably use a sewing machine, but if you’re brave enough to hand sew – go for it!

Materials

To start, cut a piece of stitch witchery the same length as your first ribbon.  Place it at the bottom edge of the ribbon and iron it to the top of a fabric square.  Follow the directions on the stitch witchery package to determine the temperature of the iron.  You’ll want to start at the top and work your way down.  Keep adding ribbons in this manner until you reach the bottom.  If you’re anything like me, the ribbon ironing will take a week, because you only do like 3 at a time before you get bored.

Note to Self: paint your nails next time you have to take pictures of your hand for the Graham Crafter Blog.

Eventually, you’ll have all the ribbons ironed down and your entire square filled.

Now, cut the edges so the ribbon is more even.  This will make for easier sewing and right-side-outing later.

Next, put the other fabric square on top of your ribbon piece.  Layer them right sides facing each other.   This  matters later when you turn it right-side out (your seams will be hidden on the inside).  Pin the pieces together (I know, I know… the pinning part sucks.  But it makes for better sewing).  Sew around the edges with about a 5/8″ seam allowance (but it’s just a pillow, so the seam allowance is negotiable). Don’t forget to leave yourself a small opening (about 3 inches) to add the stuffing later!

Yep, that’s the sewing machine Santa brought me when I was 13.  Because what 13-year-old girl doesn’t want a sewing machine? If I were 13 now, I would want the Justin Bieber singing toothbrush.  Actually, I’m 31 and I still want that toothbrush.

When you’re done sewing, turn the thing right-side-out (using your little opening), and start stuffing.  You might need to use a knitting needle or butter knife to square out the corners.  Speaking of 13-year-old me, stuffing is a skill that would have come in handy back then.  But enough about that… keep stuffing until your pillow is as soft and/or firm as you’d like it.

When fully stuffed, fold in the edges of your little opening and sew it closed.  Cut your threads and you’re done!

Woo hoo! You made something! Put it on your couch and show it off proudly to all who visit.

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8 responses »

  1. Dana, this is so awesome! And, I love that I can totally hear you actually saying everything you wrote….

    p.s.
    I got a sewing machine for my 12 bday.. my response was…”what am I going to do with a sewing machine?” Rhonda told me to make scrunchies! needless to say, I still have it! And loved it in hindsight!

  2. Great question. The original pillows (Pier One had a couple different versions) were $25-$30. If you buy the ribbon on sale (nearly all the craft stores have ribbon sales quite often), all total this would run about $18 to $20. But, if you use stash fabric or ribbon (something very familiar to those of us with craft obsessions), it winds up being a lot cheaper.

  3. Great job Dana! Re: cost savings- the true cost savings on a DIY project usually comes in when you make more of 1 item, or as Dana said when you have a stash of supplies on hand. In this case you likely have enough supplies to make 4 pillows. If you did- they would work out to $4-5 a piece – a great savings!!:)

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