A Sewing Project for Those Who Can’t Work a Sewing Machine

I have been saying for the past 15 years that I really want to take a sewing class. No, really, I am going to look into right now. And buy a sewing machine, because then I will have to find a class so I know how to use it. Then, when that one decays from lack of use, I will put one on my wedding registry so then I will really, truly, honestly take a sewing class in order to utilize the lovely gift I was given. And yet, somehow, here I sit typing this with absolutely no frickin’ idea how to thread the bobbin. I can, however, thread a needle, and so can you. Don’t let a fundamental lack of sewing machine knowledge stop you from today’s tutorial. Come with me, I’ll show you how …

I really do wish I knew how to sew, and this is evidenced by the huge stacks of fabrics taking up space in the craft closet. Amy Butler on sale? Don’t mind if I do! Awesome purse pattern download? I’ll take it! And then I add them to the pile where they collect dust. There was one fabric I had lying around that I loved and it had the teal/turquoise color I was going for, wedding-wise, in it. I used it to line the inside of a little vintage train case Nana had given me that we used for the depository for our “guest book” cards, and I thought it would be really cute to use for a ring bearer’s pillow as well. I could have asked my mom, Nana, mother-in-law or the various friends in my life that know how to sew to whip one up for me, but where would be the fun in that? Instead, armed with a needle and thread, I set to work one night in front of the TV. For those of you who know how to sew, please don’t laugh too hard. For those of you who don’t, join me in being one of those people who loves making stuff but is often too impatient to learn complicated technical skills so I just, in the immortal words of Tim Gunn, make it work.

pretty, no?

Tools

Fabric of your choice- you need less than half a yard, if that. This is a great project for leftover scraps from other endeavors. I love this pink and white hounds-tooth, purchased from Walmart for $1.97 a yard years ago, which I used to recover the cushions on a little patio set I was given.

Tulle, crepe  paper or any other kind of fabric in a contrasting color

Stuffing

Scissors

Needle and thread

Ribbon

Cut two pieces of your fabric in the same size. The ones shown are about 8″x8″, but it is really up to you on what size you would like. Place them on top of one another with the printed side facing in.

Thread your needle and pull the two ends of string even and the end and tie them together. Start sewing at any one of the corners. I don’t know what this stitch is called, but I call it the “poke through the fabric about 1/4″ from the end, bring the thread out around the edge of fabric; repeat.” (Copyeditor’s note: Sounds like a whip stitch. -PoM) I keep the stitches pretty close together so the stuffing doesn’t poke through at the end.

Sew all the way around the square until you have about 2″ left to go. At this point, turn your fabric right side out. I have found a pencil or pair of chopsticks to be helpful in aiding the process.

You now have your adorable little pillow case! Tada, you can sew!!

Using the chopsticks or pencil, start putting little balls of stuffing into the 2″ gap you left open. Use them to push the stuffing towards the back. You want the pillow to be stuffed, but not too firm.

Once you have the amount of stuffing you would like inserted, sew up the gap with your needle and thread. It’s okay if it’s not perfect; this is DIY, but we are not Martha Stewart. Anyone looking closely enough at your ring bearer pillow to notice something like that probably has bigger issues than your ability to sew can fix, so don’t worry about it too much.

For the pillow at my wedding, I used crepe paper to create a little flower thingy (that is a technical term, folks, pay attention), but here I used 4  36″ long lengths of 6″ wide tulle (Michael’s usually has this in the wedding section, or you can cut strips from regular tulle yardage). This is really the chance to get creative, though. Use whatever you would like to decorate it- sequins, random jewelry charms, buttons, whatever. I think so many of us get wrapped up in needing everything to be absolutely perfect (and often a wedding will bring this out in one that isn’t typically like that) that we forget to have fun with our DIY stuff. It’s a pillow that holds rings for a walk up an aisle, so nobody’s life is really going to change because of it. So I repeat- have some fun with it.

I took the length of tulle here and twisted it in the middle, then stuck the needle and thread through the center of the pillow and pulled it through out the bottom.

I have found that using a button on the bottom makes it easier to anchor your work without having a bunch of random thread all over the place.

Take an end of the tulle and make a loop about three inches big. Place the bottom of the loop at the center of the pillow and sew a stitch through the pillow. Repeat this process until you run out of tulle. You will end up with a poof that looks incredibly similar to a pile of poop in photographs.

Take your ribbon and cut it into two equal lengths about 12″ long. Center them on the pillow and sew a few stitches through the pillow to anchor them.

You can leave the tulle poofy, or cut all the rounded edges so you have something that looks more like an awesome explosion.

Tie the rings on and your ready to go!

Full disclosure: having a super cute pillow to carry will not protect you from the terror of a bunch of people staring at you. Carrying it like a football may help.

Also, neck tattoos and full sleeves can’t fully make up for the fact that you are stuck holding a cutesy homemade pillow, though they do help.

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