Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wednesday Sewing - Designing Pillows Part 1

I've had making pillows for the living room on my to do list since about this time last year and somehow other projects keep taking priority!  As I sat down to finally start working on them, I thought it might be interesting to show how I go through the process of designing applique work and then putting it all together into a finished project.  Today I'll cover the design part and next week begin appliqueing.

The first thing I do is go to my fabric stash and scrap box and start pulling out fabric I think will work.  I knew I wanted this to be a desert type scene with cacti, rocks, crows, clouds and maybe flowers, so I gathered fabrics in those colors with patterns that would work with a desert theme.

The next part is the longest part of the whole process!  It'll look quick when reading this, but actually takes a couple days.  I first gather images from books, an image search engine, my sketch book - anywhere.  I'm not going to copy these images exactly, but will use them for inspiration and for help in drawing (such as what proportion to make a crow's tail) later.  With these images in front of me, I make rough sketches on a paper that's the same shape as the pillow form I'm using.  As I'm sketching, I try to think of things like what type of symmetry I want to use, do I want it balanced or unbalanced ... basic design.  A scene that's asymmetrical and a little off balance will catch the eye more.  Using a diagonal line or two will add motion to the scene.

Next, I cut the background fabric (size of the pillow form plus one inch allows for 1/2 inch seams).  I now work at making the patterns for the appliques.  There's a lot of trial and error involved here!  

As I get a pattern I feel will works, I lay it on the background fabric.

I continue this way, adding additional pieces and redoing previous ones that I decide aren't right.  As I go, I label the patterns to help me remember where they go.

Sometimes this takes awhile!  If I get frustrated or become unsure of my design, I take a break or put everything away and come back to it the next day.  Everything always works out better then!  Eventually, I have all the pattern pieces finished and marked.

I'm making two pillows, so I repeated the process with the second sketch.

The next step is to start matching fabrics to pattern pieces and deciding if I need to make a trip to the fabric store for any colors I'm missing.  That's exactly what I need to do, so we'll pick up here next week!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

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