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Happy Holidays with FreeSpirit & Rowan: Pinwheel & Pom Pom Pillow

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Some pillows are elegant, some are functional, and some are just pure entertainment. Our chubby little peppermint candy of a pillow, in fabrics from Verna Mosquera's new Pirouette collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics, is just that: jolly good fun! We spun alternating wedges of fabric into a darling pinwheel pattern ringed with poms... because you simply can't look at bouncy pom poms without smiling. This is a pillow that will brighten any surface it lands on. Today's our last day working with the vintage loveliness of Verna's new Pirouette - her ninth collection for FreeSpirit, which will begin appearing next month, December 2012, at participating online and in-store retailers. 

This is a great project to practice sewing curves, attaching trims and making covered buttons. But even with all these great little touches, it's still a very easy project.

Three designers down... one to go! It's been a joy to work with FreeSpirit, Rowan Fabrics and Ty Pennington Impressions to create a slate of fast and easy, "do-it-in-a-day" projects during our Happy Holidays series. These are simple yet classic creations executed in gorgeous fabrics - perfect for holiday giving and decorating, but with a beauty that will last year 'round. 

During our first week, you met Melissa White of Rowan Fabrics and her new Amelie's Attic collection. For Week #2, we paired up with Ty Pennington Impressions to feature Ty's new Fall 2012 Collection. This week, you've been experiencing the charming sweetness of Verna Mosquera's Pirouette. Coming up right after Thanksgiving, we bring you Alchemy from Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics, using Rayon, Velveteen, Sateen Bliss and Cotton Laminates along with traditional Cottons.

In addition, for all of the projects in our series, Westminster helped us put together a handy Where to Buy Retailer Locator, giving you a fast and easy way to source the fabrics we are featuring from both brick and mortar stores in your area (the page is broken out by state) as well as online options. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

The yardage shown below includes extra to allow you to fussy cut all the wedges. If you do not feel your fabric requires fussy cutting, you can probably get away with just ½ yard of each .

  • ¾ yard EACH of TWO coordinating 44-45" wide fabrics for the pillow wedges; we used Vintage Ticking in Ruby and Rose Wreath in Ruby from Verna Mosquera's Pirouette collection for FreeSpirit Fabrics
  • 1¼ yard of lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Shir-Tailor® by Pellon
  • 1½ yards of medium pom pom trim; we used white
  • TWO 1½" covered buttons 
  • One 12" round pillow formor one small bag of Fairfield Poly-fil® fiberfill
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics
  • Button or carpet thread (optional, for sewing on buttons)
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Tape measure
  • See-through ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Curved needle (optional, for sewing on buttons)

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Pillow Wedge Pattern
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
  3. Using the pattern as your guide, plan a fussy cut for each wedge so it has a nicely centered design.
  4. Cut out EIGHT wedge shapes from each of the TWO fabrics for a total of 16 wedges. 
    NOTE: Be sure to watch the grain direction of your fabric. Your pieces will have some stretch to them, so handle each one with care to retain its shape.
  5. Lay out the wedges in order for both the front and back of the pillow (the sides are identical). The two fabrics simply alternate around the pillow.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Separate your wedges into two sets of four for the front and two sets of four for the back. In other words, two HALVES of what will be each finished circle. For each circle, you will sew one half, then sew the other half, then sew the two halves together.
  2. For the front of the pillow, select the first pair of wedges from your first set of four. Place them right sides together. Pin along one side.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the wedge shapes together along one side. 

    NOTE: Because you are sewing wedges, you will have a point, like a little 'ear' at one end of each seam.
  4. Press the seam allowance together and towards the darkest color.
  5. Select the next wedge in the sequence. Place it right sides together with the sewn pair. Pin along one side. As above, align the bottom curved edges and let the top points overlap. 
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the wedge shapes together.
  7. Press the seam alloance together and towards the darkest color. 
  8. Select the final wedge in this first four-wedge sequence. Place it right sides together with the sewn trio of wedges. Pin along one side. As above, align the bottom curved edges and let the top points overlap.
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, sew the wedge shapes together to complete your half circle.
  10. Press the seam allowance together and towards the darkest color.
  11. Repeat to create the second half in the same manner. Press both halves flat.
  12. Pin the two halves together along the center line.
  13. Sew together, using a ½" seam allowance to complete the full circle shape.
  14. Repeat to create the circle for the back side of the pillow.
    NOTE: You'll notice that all the 'ears' from your various seams come together in the middle of the circle, which can make pressing a challenge. So how did we get our circle to lay nice and flat? It's a quilting technique called pinwheeling. Spread apart the center seam 'ears' so you can see the center seam. With a seam ripper, carefully rip out a few stitches in the center seam. Do this on both sides of the center seam. Once you've ripped out those few stitches, you can press the seams towards the darker fabrics and press the pinwheel open. It will lay very flat. This is, of course, an optional technique. We didn't include any photos here, because it was just a note in passing, however, we did photography the technique in our Round 'n' Round Pillow in Butterscotch & Rose.

Fusing

  1. Place the finished front and back circles onto the fusible interfacing, using them as a pattern to cut out matching circles of interfacing. 
  2. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of both the front and back circles. This extra layer of interfacing helps keep your finished pillow (with its many seams) nice and smooth.

Poms

  1. Place the front pillow circle right side up on your work surface. Pin the pom pom trim around the entire outside edge.
  2. Machine baste the trim in place.

Sew front and back together

  1. Layer front and back right sides together, carefully matching all the front and back wedge seam lines. The poms will be sandwiched between the layers. 
  2. Switch to a Zipper foot. Using an approximate ½" seam allowance, sew around the pillow, leaving a 5-6" opening for turning and stuffing. 



    NOTE: If you sew with the front of the pillow on top, on which the pom pom trim was original basted, you can use your basting as a guide to help you stay nice and close to the pom pom trim. The Zipper foot helps you keep a tight line of stitching.
  3. Turn the pillow cover right side out.
  4. Insert the pillow form or stuff the pillow with fiber fill through the opening.
  5. Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam and pin in place.
  6. Slip stitch the opening closed, hiding your stitches behind the pom trim.

Covered buttons

  1. Make two covered buttons using the leftover fabric from cutting out the wedges. We fussy cut ours from the Vintage Ticking stripe to create a pretty center feature. Then we stitched it on so the button stripe was at a diagonal to the wedge stripes. Also, we always add a small scrap of lightweight batting under our fabric for a smooth, curved shape to our covered buttons. 

    NOTE: If you are new to covering buttons, we have two tutorials, one using Covered Button Kits (what we did here) and one about Making Your Own.
  2. Thread a hand sewing needle with button or carpet thread. Hand sew one covered button to the pillow front and one to the back. Pull the buttons tight so they create a nice, tufted effect.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

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Comments (5)

joanie nasholm said:
joanie nasholm's picture

i have some left over 30's fabric i dying to use on these pillows thanks for the pattern

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

The pillow directions can help with regular quilting blocks of pinwheel wedges too. Thanks for the pretty photoage.

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