Gathering Place Pillow - tutorial!

This tutorial was originally written as a guest post HERE for the Benartex blog.

In case you missed out on the tutorial over at Sew in Love (with Fabric), see below to make your own Gathering Place Pillow!

I am also organizing a class for this pillow, along with a few design alternatives! If you're near Glens Falls, New York, contact Patti's Quilting and Fabrics for more information!

Gathering Place Pillow

Supplies:
Fat Quarter of focal print
1/4 yard coordinating print (preferably a blender fabric)
Fat Quarter for pillow back
16" x 16" piece of lightweight fusible interfacing
16" x 16" pillow form
14" zipper (optional)

Let's start cutting!

Gathering Place Pillow

Focal fabric (zigzags): 12.5" wide x 16" long
Coordinating print (black): 8" wide x 32" long
Backing (squares print): 16" x 16"
Lightweight fusible interfacing - not shown: 16" x 16"

We are going to gather the coordinating print, so let's start by sewing gathering stitches down both long sides of the 8" x 32" piece. To do this, set your sewing machine stitch length as long as possible. Leave at least 3-4" thread tails at the beginning of your seam and sew about 1/8" from the raw edge. Leave 3-4" thread tails at the end of your seam. Sew another row of stitches in the same manner about 1/4" from the raw edge. Repeat on the other long edge of this piece.

Gathering Place Pillow

Now find both of the top threads on one side and gently tug those threads to gather the fabric up. Do this slowly and gently so as to not break the thread. Repeat on the other side. Evenly distribute the gathered fabric so that the piece is now approximately 16" long.

Gathering Place Pillow

We are going to fuse this gathered piece to the 16" x 16" square of fusible interfacing so that it is easier to work with. It doesn't need to be perfect, and you will end up pressing your gathering as you fuse. Don't worry, all of the "wrinkles" will look great on the finished pillow!
Begin by aligning one gathered edge to the edge of the fusible. Lightly fuse the piece so that you can lift it and move it slightly if you need to. When you're happy with the placement, press it once more.

Gathering Place Pillow

Next we will prepare the focal print. Cut slits into the fabric as shown with the red arrows below. I followed the zigzag print of the fabric, so my cuts aren't even or uniform. I chose to cut up to about 1/8" from the lime green zigzag so that the cream background would show.

Gathering Place Pillow

Here are my cuts in the fabric:

Gathering Place Pillow

Starting at one corner, fold the corner to the back following the zigzag.

Gathering Place Pillow

Fold one edge and press before moving on to the next fold, always following the print for guidance. Continue up the side of the fabric.

Gathering Place Pillow

This is how your piece should now look! I clipped away that little piece of fabric at the top.

Gathering Place Pillow

Here is how the back of your piece should look:

Gathering Place Pillow

Now place the focal print on the fusible interfacing. Align the raw edges and lightly fuse in place.
The points will overlap the gathered fabric, so they will not fuse down. Pin the points down as shown.

Gathering Place Pillow

Now it's time to sew again! Set your stitch length to about 2.5 and use a thread that blends with your focal print (I used cream here). Topstitch the folded edges of the zigzag. If you'd rather, you can use a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch for this step. Remove the pins as you sew.

This next step is optional. Do you see the shadowing caused by the black fabric underneath the cream?

Gathering Place Pillow

If you want to fix that, here's how:
Because we *lightly* fused the pieces down, we can go back and peel the fabric up from the interfacing.

Gathering Place Pillow

Now CAREFULLY trim away some of the  fabric underneath as shown by the red arrows. When you're done, fold the fabric back down and fuse back onto the interfacing.

Gathering Place Pillow

Let's put the pillow together! I like to zigzag stitch or serge the raw edges of my pillow front and back before assembly. You can also quilt the front and/or back of the pillow. I chose to quilt the back with straight lines.

Gathering Place Pillow

To install the zipper, place the zipper down along the bottom edge of the pillow front and sew down using your zipper foot. I start and stop my stitching 1-2" in from the pillow corners as shown below (my stitch line is the white thread on the blue zipper).
**As an alternate to the zipper closure, you may wish to finish the pillow with an envelope-style back or another technique of your choice!**

Gathering Place Pillow

Now sew the other edge of the zipper to the pillow back.
Open up your zipper at least half way. Now line up the raw edges of the pillow front and back, and sew using a 1/2" seam. On the bottom edge of the pillow where you installed the zipper, pull the zipper ends out and away from the seam, and stitch from the corner up to the zipper seam, as shown below.

Gathering Place Pillow

Turn your pillow cover right-side out, poke the corners out nicely, and give it a light press with your iron.

Now you can insert your pillow form, and you're finished!

Gathering Place Pillow 

Pillow front:

Gathering Place Pillow 

Pillow back:

Gathering Place Pillow

Modern Quilted Tote

Have I mentioned that I have a ton of sewing to do for my sister's wedding? Well, I do. And as a true procrastinator, I decided to start a new project in lieu of working on the wedding quilt.

A few days ago Elizabeth posted her technique for creating patchwork panels, as she used in her Weekender Bag. I've been itching to make a patchwork tote lately, so I tossed aside my sewing obligations and started digging through my stash! I didn't have large enough pieces of Cotton Duck Canvas, but I do have a ton of hymo canvas (also known as haircanvas). Hymo canvas is typically used to add shape to outerwear pieces, but I've also read that it has been used in handbags. And while it's not an inexpensive supply, I don't have any plans to use it - so I cut into my yardage for this tote!

Modern Quilted Tote

I absolutely L.O.V.E. everything about this bag. At 14" tall, 11" wide, and 3" deep, it's a great size and shape, and the 25" long straps make the tote easy to carry.The hymo canvas gives the tote a lot of structure without adding ANY stiffness.

Modern Quilted Tote

For my quilting and construction, I used a slightly different style than Elizabeth. I pieced my tote panels using the hymo canvas and a layer of cotton batting as a foundation (very similar to how I piece my scrap blocks). After my panels were pieced, I quilted them with very dense organic lines.

Modern Quilted Tote

The two sides of the tote are unique.

Modern Quilted Tote

When I first started this project, I knew the approximate size and shape that I wanted for the finished tote. The dense quilting took quite awhile, during which time I started to think more about the construction. I decided to try a new (to me) style by folding the top of the tote down by 2". I attached the straps inside the tote as well, so that they appeared to be seamless from the outside.

Modern Quilted Tote

To further secure the straps to the tote, I added metal rivets. They are visible from inside:

Modern Quilted Tote

And on the exterior of the tote:

Modern Quilted Tote

You may see a few more of these totes around here soon. I have enough hymo canvas for 3 more totes, I think. After that, I may have to look into a reasonably priced source to purchase more!

This tote is now listed in the shop!