December 20, 2013

Embroidered Pillow

Nothing screams "beginner" more than a hastily-made pillow. Since I've been a beginner for more years than not, I've certainly made my fair share of substandard pillows. In third grade sewing club, pillows were produced in bulk by girls and boys alike, all of which were of juvenile quality. These messes are such embarrassments that I've long undone the worst masterpieces from this era. Most of the pillows I made were simply two pieces of fabric sewn together, turned inside-out, and stuffed directly. Some had a little bit more flair by having a quilted, appliqu├ęd, knit, or simple embroidered pattern, but are nothing special to look at. 
From experience, I've learned that as the effort put into a project increases, the amount of pride upon its completion also increases. I've also learned that as the project becomes more ambitious, its completion is increasingly less likely. One must look no further than my blanket saga for proof of this. But when there is an incentive to finish a project promptly, like birthday or class deadlines, bigger projects are more approachable and more likely to be finished.

So it was great to tackle this beast of a pillow in my Fiber Arts class. It took the greater part of 2.5 months where I worked at least four hours a week. After a dysfunctional relationship with Google Images endlessly searching keywords like "flower embroidery patterns," "flower outlines," and "flower bouquet stencils," I finally found a pattern that I liked. After printing it, I traced the pattern with a transfer pencil, ironed on the pattern to the fabric, dug out my great-grandmother's embroidery thread collection, and finally began the stitching. 
"Wildflower Bouquet Embroidered Pillow," completed October 2013. 
My design was one of the more complicated patterns in the class, but I still finished soon enough to have enough time for the next project. I did a significant portion of the work at home (as in, all of the French knots on one popping Friday night), and have remember enough embroidery from elementary school that I could work rather efficiently. Nevertheless, I was so thankful to be done when I completed the embroidery. 

My mother graciously made an expedition to the craft store to buy the fabric for the pillow and a pillow form so I could die in college app land instead. A pillow form is basically a pillow that looks exactly like a pillowcase-less pillow that belongs on your bed (aside from the size). This pillow I made is only a pillowcase that goes over the form pillow, technically speaking.

After attaching the embroidered piece to the fabric and sewing the pillow, it was done! This is by far the most intricate embroidery work I've ever done, and I found it pretty enjoyable. I hope to do more embroidery projects in the future when I'm not knitting or quilting or singing or living life in other satisfying ways. 
I spent the bulk of my hours working on this wildflower bouquet embroidery pattern. You can find the  pattern here


Close-up of embroidery. Prominent stitches: satin, French knot, stem, chain, leaf, split
Thanks for taking a peek! Stay tuned for next time. 

Happy Crafting,
--Elizabeth

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