Posts Tagged ‘pillowcases’

This week I’ve been sewing 18 pillowcases for Christmas gifts for family members — everyone is getting two pillowcases each because I had lots of fabric!

I used two of my all-time favourite fabrics, which I have been saving for a “worthy purpose” like this.    🙂


and Cute Chairs…

I’m not sure where I bought these fabrics, but they came with me from America when I moved to England in 1997!  Vintage, I call that.   😉

Here are my two favourite pillowcase patterns:

1.  Mary Johnson’s great pattern with a step-by-step tutorial, which has all enclosed seams and is very good when you have larger pieces of fabric;  and

2. Mary Lou Weidman’s pattern at the Benartex website, Bee Happy Pillowcases, which works well with smaller pieces of fabric and looks fine with overcast or serged seams.

Here’s my stash report for Week 50:

Bought this week:  0
Used this week:  20.25
Bought Year-to-Date:  24.875
Used Year-to-Date:  149.875
Net Used: 125

Is this naughty?  I’m thinking that since I’ve reached my goal and exceeded it a little bit, I could even buy some new fabric before the end of the year without getting myself in too much trouble.  My stash of neutrals and backgrounds could use a boost.

To see how others are progressing with Stashbusting this week, please visit Judy’s blog.

Happy Quilting!

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I have found the Quilts of Valor group for the UK, thanks to information from one of the American QOV coordinators, and I have now joined them as a volunteer.  I am going to make quilt tops and pillowcases.

Contact details for the UK coordinator can be found on the main Quilts of Valor website, along the lefthand side of the Home page.  Or you can contact me, and I can give you the email address.

I am so excited about the opportunity to participate in this worthwhile and uplifting project.  I am an American, and I was very happy to have made a few things for the American group.  With the UK group, I will now be able to show my appreciation to service personnel in the country where I presently make my home with my wonderful family.

If you live in the UK and have been thinking about doing some volunteer quilting work for a worthy cause, please think about joining Quilts of Valor – UK.

My first project?  Well, I have these beautiful Makower coordinates just languishing in my stash….


Happy Sewing!  🙂

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This morning I finished my first HeartStrings Quilt top, using scraps left over from the Quilts of Valor pillowcases made during November’s Pillowcase Party.  This is going to be posted to Alycia, who is working on a mighty QOV project to personally deliver 400 quilts to the project in May 2009.   She will finish it into a proper quilt with batting, backing and binding.


We went outside to take advantage of the lovely January sunshine, and my husband and teenage daughter held the quilt up for me to photograph.

I used 6 yards of fabric for this quilt top.  The centre lattice strips are blue Kona cotton purchased on our last trip to America a few years ago, and all the strips are pieced onto muslin squares.


When you make a scrap quilt, do you ever have a favourite block?  This is my favourite from this project.  It just looked so “right” to me that I had to take a picture!  😉


Stash Buster Report for Week 3:

  • Fabric purchased:  0
  • Fabric used:  6 yards.
  • Year-to-date purchased:  0
  • Year-to-date used:  6.75 yards.

Now I can’t wait to get started on something new!

Happy Sewing!

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Yippee, my red and black project is finished and ready to be delivered to its new owner!  This has been a great learning experience.  Now I know that I cannot do 10,000 things in three days, no matter how optimistic I feel.  And I have also realised how much I do NOT know about quilting (yet!).  😉

We were out of town from Boxing Day (Dec. 26) until the New Year, so I didn’t get back to work on the quilt until January 2.  Then I discovered that I had made some really terrible mistakes in my machine quilting, and all my stitching had to be unpicked.

This is the largest quilt I have ever made, and the safety pin basting just wasn’t adequate.  The layers had shifted, and there were big wrinkles in the backing.  What to do, what to do….

One of my Stashbuster sisters posted a link to Sharon Schamber’s You Tube video tutorial on hand basting.  I wondered if I had the time to learn a new technique to save this quilt.   The legendary basketball coach John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

So I decided to go for it, bought some architrave boards (door facings) from the home improvement shop, put the two extra leaves in the dining table, and set to work.  It only took me a little while to get the hang of this technique, and I had the whole quilt *securely* basted and ready for quilting in less than two hours.  This method worked so well for me that I plan to do all my quilts this way in the future.







I kept several needles pre-threaded for basting each round, and this made the work go quickly.  Stopping to re-thread needles also gave me a chance to rest my hand, as I have a bit of arthritis and hand stitching can be difficult sometimes.


I haven’t learned yet how to do fancy machine quilting (although it’s on my list for 2009), so I used one of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine to outline each seam.  My sewing machine is a Janome 6500P, and the stitch I used is Mode 2 Quilt, Stitch No. 50.  It’s sort of like a stretched out zigzag with bar tacks, and I was pleased with the way its geometric pattern suits the quilt design.



I like the way the back looks, too.


I cut 2.5 inch strips from my scraps and joined them together to make the binding.


I laid the finished quilt out on a bed to photograph it.  This bed is a UK King size (USA Queen size), so the quilt will be just the right size for a standard double bed.


Then all I had to do was make the pillowcases (from Mary Johnson’s pattern), and the quilt label, which is framed with red scraps and has the information handwritten with permanent marking pen.


The pattern I used for this quilt can be found here:


(note: link updated 30-8-11)

I added more blocks to make it double-bed size (30 blocks, set 5×6).

The backing fabric was bought especially for this quilt because I had nothing suitable at home, but everything else came from my stash — all the fabric for the top, the piecing thread and quilting thread (YLI Select),  and the batting (Soft & Bright needled polyester batting from the Warm & Natural company).

And now it’s all done.  It’s really, really finished.  🙂

Happy Sewing!

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I finished all my Quilts of Valor pillowcases today and used up almost every bit of patriotic fabric in my stash!  There is nothing left now but one shoe box of strings, which will probably find their way into a string quilt later on.  I had enough fabric for 15 standard size pillowcases.  Patriotic fabric was not a requirement for the Pillowcase Party, but I had a huge stash of red-white-and-blue and thought this would be a great use for it.  I had a wonderful time doing this — I learned a new skill, cleared some space in my fabric cupboard, and got to join in with the online group HeartStrings Quilt Project in a team effort for a worthy cause.



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Three more pillowcases completed for the Quilts of Valor project!  I am hoping to have 12 finished by the end of the weekend.


The pillowcase on the left is made from Mary Johnson’s pattern,


I couldn’t understand the directions for this technique until I saw Mary’s photos on her tutorial, and then it was suddenly clear.  Thank you, Mary!  This is a wonderful pattern and works well if you have large pieces of fabric (27 inches x Width of Fabric, and strips 9.5 and 2.5 inches x WOF).  It’s beautifully finished with enclosed seams and has a faced cuff.

The pillowcase in the centre is Mary Lou Weidman’s “Bee Happy” pillowcase,


This pattern is excellent if you have smaller pieces of fabric (20.5 x 20.5 inch squares and strips 4.5 and 2.5 inches x 20.5 wide).  I experimented with making the cuff and accent strips wider to make a longer pillowcase, but discovered it’s better to make the body longer, say 23.5 inches long x 20.5 inches wide instead.   Most of my patriotic fabrics were fat quarters, or treasures from remnant bins at fabric stores in my old neighbourhood in Texas.

The pillowcase on the right is from a suggestion by one of the members of the HeartStrings list.  She said to use approximately 27 inches x WOF for the body, and approximately 9 inches x WOF for the cuff.  I cut mine 9.5 inches, turned up 1/2 inch for a hem and then folded the cuff in half to make a facing and conceal the top seam.  I zig-zagged to overcast the side and bottom seams.  This pillowcase turned out nicely too, and I didn’t have to think too much about what I was doing.

Happy Sewing!

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Two finished so far!  These are the first pillowcases I’ve completed for Quilts of Valor, in conjunction with the Heartstrings Quilt Project Thanksgiving weekend Pillowcase Party.  I’m going to use each of the three patterns listed in my previous post about this project.  These two cases were made with the Bee Happy pattern by Mary Lou Weidman.  I made two small changes, as I wanted these pillowcases to be plenty long enough to hold a good-sized quilt.  I cut the wide band 6.5 inches wide (rather than 4.5 inches), and I cut the narrow band 3.5 inches wide (rather than 2.5 inches).  Finished size is approximately 20 inches by 28.5 inches.  The seams are not enclosed in this pattern, but I have overcast them with a zig-zag stitch to prevent ravelling.  These pillowcases have turned out really well, and I will “Bee Happy” to use this pattern again! 🙂



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If a collection of fabric can be counted as a UFO, then this is one of mine.  I collected patriotic fabrics for many years when I lived in America.  I thought they were really pretty and inspiring, and I dreamed that I would make tablecloths and napkins for 4th of July barbecues, and picnic quilts, and bed quilts and wall hangings and Memorial Day banners…..I don’t know.  Wonderful things.
Well, I never did any of that.  And isn’t it marvelous that fabric does not have a “best before end” date?!  Carefully stored away from sunlight and dust, these fabrics are still good as new, even though some of them date from the early 1990’s.    And now they are finally going to be used for something worthwhile.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I am going to help some members of the HeartStrings Quilt Project make pillowcases for the Quilts of Valor Foundation.  (I think other members might be making pillowcases for other charities.)  It’s my first time to help with a project like this, and I am really excited about it.   The QOV makes quilts for military personnel wounded in the line of duty, and the pillowcases are part of the gift and hold the rolled-up quilts when they are presented to the recipients.

If you are interested in the work of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, here is a link to their website:


If you would like more information on the HeartStrings Quilt Project, here is their link:


And here are three links for excellent Pillowcase sewing instructions:

From Mary Johnson (who I always think is the “Heart” of HeartStrings):

Quiltmaker magazine:

Bee Happy Pillowcase by Mary Lou Weidman at the Benartex site:

I don’t think I can wait until Thanksgiving weekend to start working on these pillowcases.  I want to start sewing right now.  And I surely have enough fabric to start now and still be sewing next weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Sewing!

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