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Father's Day with Fabric.com: Jumbo Lounge Pillow in Soft Sweatshirt Knit

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Is your dad an ol' softee? Then he deserves the world's most amazingly soft napping pillow. When he finds out it's a handmade gift from the heart, he's going to love it even more. Don't you remember how much he loved that shoe shine kit you made out of a scrap of flannel when you were in 2nd grade? It never changes. From the bed to the couch to the floor, this big, cushy pillow is the perfect way for Dad to rest his weary bones after a busy day. Fabric.com has lots of great colors to choose from in the super soft sweatshirt knit fabric we selected. We used a preppy color palette, and the big, bold horizontal and diagonal stripes remind us of classic yachting flags... although Dad is not required to wear top-siders while relaxing. We also show you how to make the personalized fabric tag shown in the bottom corner that tells Dad he's priceless.

Scroll through our entire week of great Father's Day projects sponsored by Fabric.com. If you're a fabric "shop-a-holic, you'll want to learn more out about their Frequent Shopper Program where you can accumulate points to redeem for discount coupons to use on future purchases. 

For great general tips and techniques, check out our handy Sewing with Knits tutorial.

Our pillow finishes at 28" x 28", excluding the piping. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies for the optional personalized label

Getting Started

Create a corner pattern

  1. Triangles aren't hard to cut freehand, but making a corner pattern allows you more precision to cut away the corners of the fabric for the front diagonal stripe and insure an accurate and easy fit with the triangles to either side. 
  2. From pattern or freezer paper, cut a 22" x 22" square. 
  3. Cut the square in half diagonally into two triangles. Discard one triangle.
  4. Fold the remaining triangle in half, matching all the edges. Trim 1" from the long edge. Unfold to yield the complete corner pattern. 

Fabric cuts

  1. From the knit fabric for the pillow front diagonal stripe, one pillow back horizontal stripe, and the binding (Organic Cotton Sweatshirt Knit in Optic White in our sample), cut the following: 
    ONE 8" x WOF (Width of Fabric) strip, then sub-cut this strip into ONE 29" strip
    ONE 3" x WOF strip, then sub-cut this strip into TWO 15" strips
    ONE 29" x 29" square
  2. From the knit fabric for the pillow front triangle corners and the binding (Organic Cotton Sweatshirt Knit in Navy in our sample), cut the following: 
    ONE 3" x WOF strip, then sub-cut this strip into TWO 15" strips
    ONE 22" x 22" square, then sub-cut this square across the diagonal into TWO triangles
  3. From the knit fabric for two pillow back horizontal stripes (Organic Cotton Sweatshirt Knit in Poinsettia Red in our sample), cut the following: 
    TWO 8" x WOF strips, then sub-cut each strip into ONE 29" strip (to give you TWO 29" strips - the fabric is not quite wide enough to yield two strips from one WOF strip).
  4. From the knit fabric for one pillow back horizontal stripe and the binding (Organic Cotton Sweatshirt Knit in Teal in our sample), cut the following: 
    ONE 8" x WOF strip, then sub-cut this strip into ONE 29" strip
    TWO 3" x WOF strip, then sub-cut this strip into FOUR 15" strips
  5. Cut the piping cord into ONE 114" length.

Cut the center diagonal stripe

  1. Place the 29" x 29" square flat on your work surface. 
  2. Find the corner pattern. Place the pattern on one corner, aligning the pattern so it is flush with the raw edges of the fabric, and pin to secure. Cut along the long inside edge.
  3. Remove the pins and drop that triangle into your stash bin. 
  4. Place the pattern on the opposite corner and repeat to yield the one center stripe.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

NOTE: As mentioned above, we used the built-in AcuFeed Flex™ system on our Janome MC8900 QCP with the option narrow foot VD throughout the entire project. If you don't have a built-in feeding system, attach a Walking foot or similar. It helps keep the knit layers feeding more smoothly. 

For great general tips and techniques, check out our handy Sewing with Knits tutorial.

Pillow front

  1. Find the center diagonal stripe and the two corner triangles.
  2. Pin a corner triangle to one side of the diagonal stripe. 
  3. The triangle points should extend beyond by ½", which will create a perfect match when your ½" seam is complete.
  4. Sew the two layers together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  5. Press the seam allowance together and toward the triangle.
  6. Trim away the corner points.
  7. Re-thread with your contrasting topstitching thread (we used off-white).
  8. Topstitch ⅛" to ¼" from the seam within the triangle. We used ⅛". Lengthen your stitch for the nicest look.
  9. Repeat to attach the remaining triangle to the opposite side. 

Preparing the optional personalized label 

  1. Pre-wash your fabric (no fabric softener) to remove any sizing. Cut or tear into the size you want. It should be large enough to leave room for sewing around the actual image area. We used a 3" x 3" square. Press your fabric nice and flat to insure the best possible ink coverage.
  2. Ink your stamp by tapping it lightly a number of times on the ink pad. Don't push hard into the ink pad or you won't end up with a crisp print. Look at the stamp to be certain you have good coverage. Test your impression on a fabric scrap. 
  3. Stamp your fabric, keeping the pressure firm and even. Don't press super hard or your stamp may smear. Your practicing above should give you an idea of the required pressure. Gently pull your stamp off the fabric. Create as many patches as you want. Let the ink dry.
  4. Heat set by pressing between a pressing cloth, we used a paper towel below and on top. Press on high heat with a dry iron, holding your iron in place for a couple of 30-second sessions. 
  5. You can wash and dry stamped images, but let the ink cure for several days before laundering.
     

Attach the optional personalized label

  1. Place the finished pillow front right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Position the label in the bottom right corner, 1½" in from the side and bottom raw edges. Pin in place.
  3. Re-thread the machine with the second contrasting thread (we used red).
  4. Stitch in place with a decorative stitch square. We used a cross stitch pattern. 

Pillow back

  1. Find the FOUR 8" x 29" strips. 
  2. Working from top to bottom and following our diagram above, pin the first strip (red) to the second strip (white). Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  3. Pin the third strip (red) to the remaining raw edge of the second strip (white). Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  4. Pin the fourth strip (teal) to the remaining raw edge of the third strip (red). Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  5. Press each seam allowance together and toward the darker fabric.
  6. Re-thread with your contrasting topstitching thread (we used off-white).
  7. Topstitch ⅛" to ¼" from the seam within the darker strip as shown above. We used ⅛". Lengthen your stitch for the nicest look. 

Piping

  1. Re-thread your machine with thread to best match your fabrics.
  2. Find the EIGHT 3" x 15" strips. 
  3. Stitch the strips together end-to-end, using a ½" seam allowance. If you use the order shown above, you can nicely match up the each binding color change to an appropriate stripe on the pillow cover.
  4. Our order is: navy, teal, white, teal, navy, teal, white, teal.
  5. Place the ends of the completed strip right sides together and pin in place to create a loop. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  6. Find the 114" length of piping cord. 
  7. Hand stitch the ends of the cording together to form a ring. Stitch securely; you don't want the ring to come apart inside the fabric. 
  8. Wrap the fabric ring around the piping ring, like a pig in a blanket (ha!). Align the raw edges of the fabric and pin in place. 
  9. Attach a Zipper foot. 
  10. Secure the fabric in place around the cording, running your seam as close to the cording as possible. Go slowly; it's important the raw edges of the fabric stay even with one another. 
  11. Find your pillow front.
  12. Pin the piping to the right side of the front, aligning the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the front. As mentioned above, for an extra-professional finish, take the time to line up the the seams of the binding with the various points on the front as shown in the diagram above. 
  13. Clip the cording at the corners to allow it to curve around the corners nicely. 
  14. Still using the Zipper foot, machine baste the piping in place around all four sides. 
    NOTE: If you're new to piping, check out our tutorial for general tips on making, joining and finishing. 

Assembling the layers to finish

  1. Find your front panel with the piping stitched in place and your back panel.
  2. Place the finished front panel on your work surface right side facing up.
  3. Place your finished back panel on top, right side facing down. Your piping is sandwiched in between the layers. 
  4. Carefully align all the raw edges and pin in place, leaving an approximate 20" opening along one side. 
  5. Still using the Zipper foot, stitch together through all layers around all four sides, using a ½" seam allowance and staying as close to the piping as possible. If you sew with the pillow front on top, you can follow along in the machine basting seam line. Go slowly and make sure your layers stay flat. 
  6. When your seam is complete. Turn the pillow cover right side out through the opening. Push out the piping all around. Using a long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick, smooth out the corners.
  7. Insert the pillow form through the opening and fluff the corners into position. 
  8. Fold in the raw edge of the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam. Pin in place.
  9. Stitch in place, with tiny little stitches, matching the existing seam line.


     

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas 
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler

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Comments (4)

Gwynedd said:
Gwynedd's picture

LOVE this project. I'm thinking of using my serger. This entire series has been terrific. Thanks

JoannaD said:
JoannaD's picture

Nice tutorial on piping and pillows. I happen to LOVE fleece and this is a beautiful project. Looking at the fabric stash....hmmm!

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

Interesting tutorial -- I like the label detail as adds much interest

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