Monday, December 14, 2009

Cardinal Pillow Pattern/Tutorial

Cardinal Pillow Pattern/Tutorial

Begin by using waxed paper (the kitchen/cooking type) to trace the cardinal body, wings, and black shaded portion of face. Use these waxed paper pattern pieces to cut the body and wings out of red felt and the face portion out of black felt. The wing pieces and the black face portion lie on top of the red cardinal body piece.

TIP FOR CUTTING OUT FELT PIECES: The best advice I ever got for cutting out small pattern pieces: Turn the piece you are cutting, don't turn your scissors. In other words, your right hand holding the scissors does not turn, your left hand turns the piece that you are cutting. Or vice versa if you are left-handed.

You should be able to print out the following picture and enlarge it on a photocopier to get the cardinal image to trace. I used a calendar photo.

Cut your branches out of strips of brown felt. Don't make perfectly cut strips -- bumpy-edged strips look more like real branches. You can cut straight strips out of the felt and still make some bends in the branches when you place it on your background fabric. Use a background fabric that is at least 13 inches square. I used a fat quarter and placed my felt pieces in the bottom left corner of the fat quarter so as not to waste any fabric.

Pin the branch pieces to your background fabric, curving the branches a bit as you go to give them a realistic look.

I usually match my thread to the applique pieces, but in this case I used a dark grayish tan thread on all to make it look more natural, like bark on the branches and feather edges on the bird.

TIPS FOR APPLIQUE USING BLANKET STITCH: 1. Go slow. In the tricky areas like the black face section, I actually used needle up/needle down to go very very slowly. 2. When you are stitching along outer curves, put your needle down on the outer edge of the applique and then lift your presser foot and turn your fabric. When you are stitching within an inner curve, leave your needle down on the inside of the applique (when the blanket stitched jumps to the left) and then lift your presser foot and turn your fabric.

Stitch the branches down using a machine or hand blanket stitch. Stitch the two off-shoot branches down first and nestle them under the main branch, as shown in the photo. Stitch the main branch down last. I found that the felt "stuck" to the fabric enough, but if you need to you can use a bit of fabric glue. Try first without glue, I think you'll find it works just fine.

Pin down the main body piece and the wings and the black face area.

First stitch the cardinal body down, using blanket stitch. Next stitch the wings down. Next stitch the black face portion. Stitch all the way through all layers, since this gives a more layered and dimensional look.

Sew a small black button on for the eye. Trim your composition down to 12 1/2 inches square.

Now, at this point you'll need to do some math. I was covering a 20-inch pillow. I just added borders until I had a 20.5-inch square. OR if you wish, you can add borders, quilt, and bind to make a wall-hanging.

Layer your backing (I used a muslin for backing), batting, and top, pin and quilt as desired. I used an echo-quilting pattern around the cardinal and just straight line quilting in the borders. For the echo-quilting, I used the edge of my walking foot following my previous stitching line as a guide.

Trim your quilt sandwich down to the size of your pillow form, plus 1/2 inch. Don't worry about trimming it too small, it's better to overstuff a pillow than to understuff it.

To make the overlapping envelope back, cut two pieces of fabric, the width of your pillow front (in my case 20.5 inches) by 1/2 the width plus 3 inches. If you use the unprinted selvage edge for one of the overlapping edges, you only have to finish off one opening edge with a rolled edge hem. Then overlap the two pieces as shown, with right sides facing the right side of the pillow front. Stitch all four sides together. Trim corners and turn right sides out.

This is my very first attempt at a tutorial, so feedback is very much appreciated. Please let me know if you have questions or if anything is confusing. Thanks!


blueberrymoon said...

AMAZING!!! This is really inspiring. I ran around showing all my girls. Thanks!!

Cathy said...

That is one gorgeous pillow!! Thank you so much for the tutorial.

Dee said...

This is so blasted cute! Son who will be a freshman next year at a college where the cardinal is the mascot...just might get one of these!

thanks for the tute!

cvinzant said...

neat project. thanks for the tips

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