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Pillow Personality with Fairfield Processing: Secret Pocket Pillow

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All our projects here at Sew4Home focus on the fabric, because the right combination of color and design makes all the difference between a project that turns out so-so and one that is decidedly so-cool. But every so often, a fabric arrives in our hands that demands to be made into something particularly unique. Such was the case when we received a Layer Cake of Moda's collection, Get A Clue With Nancy Drew®. Senior Designer, Alicia Thommas took one look at this collection, and memories flooded back of hiding under the covers with a flashlight to read just one more chapter of The Secret of the Old Clock or The Clue of the Velvet Mask. And so... today's Secret Pocket Pillow was born. Hidden in the pillow's four patchwork quadrants are four pockets to hold your most secret treasures.

This project was designed specifically for this very unique collection of fabrics, therefore, our instructions list the exact pieces we used and how to put them together to create your own Secret Pockets Pillow. You could use other fabric, but you'll be on your own to figure out the exact cutting and folding needed to achieve the same effect. But really... how many teenage super sleuths do you know (and, no, the Scooby Doo™ gang does not count)?! To be true, it's got to be Nancy Drew®!

As we mentioned above, our pillow is made as quadrants, then patchworked together. Each quadrant is a 10" x 10" square prior to patchworking. The finished cover will be 18¼" x 18¼" for our 18" x 18" pillow insert. This bigger size is not what we usually recommend. But, as in life, there is usually an exception to every rule in sewing! Normally, we specify a pillow cover that is from ½" to 2" smaller than the pillow insert, because a slightly over-stuffed pillow looks best. However, this pillow cover can't be too snug or the imprint of the hidden items in the pockets will show, and then they won't be a secret! 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • One Layer Cake of the Nancy Drew® Get A Clue collection, coming out this November from Moda Fabrics
  • One 18" x 18" Nature-Fil® by Fairfield pillow insert, this luxurious insert has a 100% cotton cover that is filled with a blend of 50% rayon from fiber from bamboo 50% polyester
  • 2⅛ yards of ½" pom pom trim in black 
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

Pull the appropriate fifteen 10" x 10" squares from the Nancy Drew® Get A Clue collection Layer Cake. We used:

Silhouette Dots Dark Blue - 1 piece

Magnifying Glass Black - 1 piece

Nancy Drew Dot Dark Blue - 2 pieces

Book Spines Bookcase - 2 pieces

Silhouettes Mystery Scene Dark Blue - 1 piece

Nancy Drew Signatures Red - 2 pieces

Magnifying Glass Dark Blue - 2 pieces

Silhouette Dots Yellow - 2 pieces

Silhouettes Mystery Scene White - 2 pieces

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Front Quadrant #1: Upper Left

  1. Place the Magnifying Glass Black piece right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Fold the Silhouette Dots Dark Blue piece in half and press well. 
  3. Place the Dots on top of the Magnifying Glass, aligning the sides and bottom raw edges as shown. Pin in place along the sides of the pocket and across the bottom. 
  4. Machine baste in place along the sides and bottom, staying within the seam allowance. In other words, approximately ¼- ⅜" from the raw edge. 

Front Quadrant #2: Upper Right

  1. Place one piece of Nancy Drew Dot Dark Blue right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Carefully fold the second piece of Nancy Drew Dot Dark Blue so the rows of dots perfectly align, hiding the edge of the pocket. This is similar to fussy cutting, but we are "fussy-folding-and-pressing."
  3. When it matches up perfectly, pin the folded piece in place over the flat piece . As you did with the pocket on Quadrant #1, pin and then machine baste the pocket piece in place. In this case, you are pinning and basting along the top and bottom and the right side.

Front Quadrant #3: Lower Left

  1. Place one piece of Book Spines Bookshelf right side up and flat on your work surface.
  2. Carefully "fussy-fold-and-press" the second piece of Book Spines Bookshelf along the brown line of the bookshelf line in the motif. 
  3. Place the folded piece on the flat piece, and exactly match the shelf and the books so you create the look of two shelves. When it matches up perfectly, pin in place. 
  4. Trim off the excess to create a 10" x 10" square. In our sample, we opted to have full spines showing on the "bottom shelf" (the pocket), and so trimmed just a little bit off the bottom with the majority coming off the top. 
  5. Machine baste in place along the sides of the pocket and across the bottom. 

Front Quadrant #4: Lower Right

  1. Cut the Silhouettes Mystery Scene Dark Blue piece horizontally to 5¼" x 10".
  2. Fold under the top edge of this cut piece ¼" and press well, giving you a finished top edge and creating a piece that is now 5" x 10". Set aside.
  3. Place one piece of Nancy Drew Signatures Red right side up and flat on your work surface.
  4. Carefully "fussy-fold-and-press" the second piece of Nancy Drew Signatures Red vertically.
  5. Align the folded piece as shown to match the faces and signatures. Pin in place.
  6. Trim the excess along the top.
  7. Machine baste in place along the top and bottom of the pocket.
  8. Place the sewn Signature piece right side up and flat on your work surface.
  9. Place the Mystery Scene piece on top, aligning and sides and the bottom raw edges of the two pieces.
  10. Very carefully, flip up the Mystery Scene piece so it is now right sides together with the top half of the Signatures piece. Pin in place along the sides. As a check for position, the sides and the top edges should now be flush. 
  11. Sew a ¼" seam across the center of the quadrant. You should be able to follow the crease line of the ¼" hem you made earlier. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot to be doubly sure. 
  12. Fold the Mystery Scene back into place and press. Pin along the sides and across the bottom. 
  13. Machine baste along the sides and across the bottom.

Assemble the front quadrants

  1. Lay out the four Quadrants in order to insure everything is facing the right direction!
  2. Place Quadrant #1 and Quadrant #2 right sides together. Pin in place along the inner edge.
  3. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch together. We used our Janome Quarter Inch Seam foot for all our seams. Press the seam allowance to the right. 
  4. Place Quadrant #3 and Quadrant #4 right sides together. Pin in place along the inner edge.
  5. Using a ¼" seam allowance, stitch together. Press the seam allowance to the left.
  6. Place the top and the bottom rows right sides together and pin in place. As with all patchworking, the seams meeting in the center should be facing in opposite directions in order to create the perfect center point on the front. 

Pillow Back

  1. Cut both pieces of Magnifying Glass Dark Blue in half vertically.

Quadrants #2 and #4

  1. Place one Magnifying Glass strip right sides together with the inside edge (the left edge) of one Silhouettes Mystery Scene White piece.
  2. Place one Magnifying Glass strip right sides together with the inside edge (the left edge) of one Silhouette Dots Yellow piece.
  3. Stitch each strip to each square, using a ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam allowances towards the Magnifying Glass. 
  4. Place Quadrant #2 (Silhouette Dots Yellow) and #4 (Silhouettes Mystery Scene White) right sides together. Pin along the bottom of Quadrant #2 and the top of Quadrant #4. Double check that both pieces are going the right direction before you sew! Carefully match the strip seams. 
  5. Stitch together, using a ¼" seam allowance. Press the seam allowance up.
  6. Along the raw edge of the Magnifying Glass strip, use a see-through ruler and fabric pen or pencil to draw a line ¼" from the raw edge. 
  7. Fold under along this line and press well. 
  8. Flip the #2/#4 Quadrant piece over to the wrong side. 
  9. Fold the strip back so the folded edge of the strip covers the seam. Pin in place.
  10. Top stitch in place within the Magnifying Glass strip, staying ⅛" from the seam. 

Quadrants #1 and #3

  1. Repeat the steps used above for Quadrants #2 and #4 but as a mirror image. The Silhouette Dots Yellow will be on the bottom, Silhouettes Mystery Scene White will be on the top, and the Magnifying Glass strips will be on the right inside edge. 
  2. When both back panels are done, place them right side up on your work surface.
  3. Overlap the two panels until the entire piece measures 19½" x 19½".
  4. Pin the two layers together at the middle overlap point. Machine baste them together at this point with a short seam approximately ⅜" from the raw edge at both the top and bottom. This will make it easier to handle these two pieces as one for the final assembly. 

Poms and final assembly

  1. Find the length of pom pom trim.
  2. Starting in the middle of the bottom edge, pin the trim around the entire outside edge of the pillow front, aligning the pom pom trim flange with the raw edge of the fabric. Overlap the ends and trim the excess. Try to keep the poms spaced as evenly as possible at this overlap point. 
  3. Machine baste the pom trim in place all around. We used our Janome Quarter Inch foot to keep a consistent basting seam.
  4. Place the pillow front and pillow back right sides together, sandwiching the poms in between the layers. Double check that the front and back pieces are both directionally aligned: top to top, bottom to bottom! 
  5. Pin in place around all four sides.
  6. Attach a Zipper foot. Stitch around all four sides, using a ½" seam allowance, which means you should be a close as possible to the bottom of the pom flange. You want just the dangling poms to show from the right side.
  7. Clip the corners. Turn right side out through the back opening. Gently poke out all the corners with a long, blunt end tool, such as a chopstick. 
  8. Press well.
  9. Insert the Nature-Fil® pillow insert through the back opening. Fluff it into the corners.
  10. Hide your treasures and clues in the four secret pockets.

Contributors

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

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Comments (4)

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

What a great place to store the remote from wandering toddlers. It would look good in the back of my roadster!

Banderson said:
Banderson's picture

Oh my goodness!  I LOVE this!  The pockets - brilliant idea.  And, I think you nailed this pillow with the fabric choice - great vision for the fabric. 

icouldbefake said:
icouldbefake's picture

Very clever. I would never think to add pockets, especially so many, into a pillow.

Jacki said:
Jacki's picture

I LOVE THIS FABRIC!!!!!  Nancy Drew was one of my FAVORITE books growing up!!!  I cannot wait to get my hands on it and make one of these pillows!!!  Thanks for the great tutorial!!

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