Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How To Make Stenciled Pillows

We found this great tutorial on how to stencil pillow from Home Life. Linen gives a wonderful crispness to these pillows. With careful stenciling the bird on the appliquéd panel should look as if it has been printed. Other simple shapes, such as hearts, stars, letters, or numbers, could also be stenciled. The more the merrier with pillows, as they work so well grouped together. The pillows have “envelope” closures, which are quick and easy to make because they don’t require zippers or buttonholes. The directions overleaf are for making the bird pillow, and you can simply adapt them for each style.  

Materials & Equipment
Tape measure and long metal ruler
Carpenter’s square (set square)
Pencil or tailor’s chalk
Pillow form (pad)
Scissors, paper, and pins
Muslin (US) or calico (UK)
Cardboard for stencil
Sharp scalpel and cutting mat or piece of thick cardboard
Acrylic fabric paint and stencil brush
Old plate and piece of paper
Ribbon and buttons
Sewing machine
Needle and sewing thread  

1. Mark out on the linen a rectangle twice the length of the pillow form plus 4in (10cm), and the width plus 1 1/4in (3cm). Cut out the linen exactly on the straight grain so that it can be frayed. Fray the two shorter edges by teasing out the threads parallel to the edge using a pin. Linen frays particularly well. Cut out a rectangle of muslin (calico) for the stenciled panel, and fray all four edges in the same way. 

2. Using an outline of a bird (such as the one pictured) or another motif of your choice, transfer the shape to a piece of cardboard. Cut it out using a sharp scalpel on a cutting mat. The stencil consists of the piece of cardboard with the central cut-out.
3. Put some paint on an old plate and dab the stencil brush into it. The brush should be covered but not too wet or it could leak under the stencil. Position the stencil on the muslin panel. Dab the brush on a piece of paper and, holding the stencil firmly so it won’t move at all, work the paint into the panel using a dabbing action. Build up the color so it looks solid. If there is not enough coverage it will look stenciled and mottled, whereas the aim is for it to look as though it has been printed. Carefully lift off the stencil.
4. When the panel is completely dry, place it on the linen. The easiest way to work out the position is to wrap the fabric around the pillow form temporarily. Pin the panel to the linen. Cut the ribbon to the correct length and pin it to the linen, too, making sure it is straight. Machine stitch the panel and ribbons in place.
5. With the fabric right side up, fold the top and bottom in toward the center, overlapping the frayed edges of the opening, until the length is the same as the length of the pillow form. Pin the side edges together, allowing for 5/8 in (1.5cm) seams. Stitch the seams, snip off the corners of the seam allowances, and press the seams open. Turn the cover right side out, press, sew on the buttons, and insert the pillow form through the opening. 

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