Friday, November 6, 2015

Pillow Projects Part 2: The Wooly Friend

Welcome to part two of my pillow project posts!  Today's project is the wooly friend pillow, made from Merino wool.  These pillows are pretty delicate, so they certainly shouldn't be part of a major snuggle fest, but they'll look real pretty sitting on your sofa!


Merino Wool 

I picked this up at my local fabric store, and 5 bags was just about right for this project.

Pillow Base  

This was again, a pillow I found at Goodwill. The one I used for my plaid pillow had a pillow insert inside, but this one was filled with batting.  I suppose it's good to have an example of each for these DIY posts.


I chose a neutral fabric for this pillow because I really wanted the wool to stand out and be the star.  I got about a half yard, which was enough to cover the whole pillow.


For this pillow you will need a pair of scissors, a seam ripper if you have one, a sewing machine (not really optional), and a needle, thread and pins.

Getting Started…

First things first, you'll need to open up your pillow to see what's inside. You can use a seam ripper as shown, or you can use scissors. I figured out upon opening mine up that I had a batting filled pillow, so I was careful not to tear up my outside fabric too much as I cut it open (otherwise you won't have a good stencil to work with).  Next I used the old fabric as a stencil and cut two pieces of the neutral fabric I wanted on my pillow. 

Making the Wool Feature…

The next step in having your very own braided wool pillow to hug whenever you want is to make your wool feature.  Take your strands of merino wool and lay them out, measuring strips the length of your pillow.  The rows should run the same way you want your braids to run, and you should give them a little extra over the edges of your fabric — the length with shrink a little when you start braiding.


For each strip, you will need to divide the wool into three parts to braid. The wool is fragile and will pull apart easily.  I found that it works best not to completely separate it into three new strands, but rather to stop separating about an inch from the top, as shown above. This way the top of your braid is already held together.

Then you can braid the strands together and place them on top of your fabric, and do so with each strand of wool, working to cover the length of your pillow in braided wool.

Once you have your braids all laid out, you can take some extra fabric and pin it along the edges of your braids, holding them in place on your backing fabric.   After your fabric and braids are pinned in place, use a sewing machine to sew together where you've pinned. This will reinforce the braids and make it an easier piece to work with when approaching the final step on your pillow. 


Putting it all Together...

Now you should have two pieces to work with : a braided blanket sewed to fabric, and another piece of fabric of the same size.  Place your braid blanket wool side up, and then place your extra fabric piece on top of it so that the pattern side is faced toward the wool side, and all the edges are meeting nicely (you are sewing an inside out pillow).  Pin around the edges to hold the pieces in place and sew with a 1/2 inch outer edge clearance using a sewing machine.  Be sure to only sew three sides to your pillow, as this one will be especially hard to inside out.  Once your pillow is sewn on three sides, you can inside it out, but do so carefully, the wool is fragile!

Finally, you will need to fill your pillow.  My pillow came with batting, so that is what I filled mine with.  If you are working with batting you need to be sure you are getting it in all the corners so they pop out nicely, and then continue to smooth out your batting as you work it into the pillow.  Nobody likes that batting pillow that you can tell is balling up inside.  Its like trying to rest your head on a bunch of little fluffy blobs.  Not fun.  I like to to pack batting in heavily to make a very strong pillow.

The last step is to sew up the remaining edge of your pillow with a whip-stitch.  More information on this is in my previous pillow post if you need a better visual on how to do this.  After you sew it up you have a wonderful fluffy friend!!

- The Lovely Red Fox

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