TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List

Sunday, April 13, 2008

"Pillowing" A Quilt

I made a couple of quilts for Christmas 2006 using what women around here call the "pillowing" technique. You take the front and back fabric, sew them all the way around, back to back, leaving a little opening where you can flip it back out to show the right sides of the fabrics. These are then assembled together by zig zagging the pieces together until it grows into the full sized quilt. If batting is used, it's also sandwiched and flipped so that it ends up in the middle layer.

The first quilt I made was for my nephew, Nathan.

Nathan loves bugs, reptiles, sea creatures, and anything slimy, green, or strange looking. He knows the names of many obscure species, reading about them whenever he can. So, of course, his quilt was green with a fish and reptile theme:

The front has appliquéd fish and his name.

I used faux fur for the back and sewed on some plastic frogs and snakes:

I figured they would probably come off pretty easily, but he could play with them or sew them back on or sew other things on.

The second quilt was for my husband, Mohammed.

My fiber art group laughed when I showed them what I was working on and told them that his favorite color is brown. Brown actually has wonderful variations, goes with anything else and is rich and warm.

His pillowed squares were larger. I made a log cabin design around central images that represented different things about our life. The central panel has appliquéd arms reaching up towards a heart. Seven dogwood flowers represent each day in a week.

I used larger pieces of the fabrics from the front for the back.

At the time, the sewing machine I had wasn't working properly and both pieces were challenging to sew because of the thickness of the seams after they are pillowed. I now have a powerful Bernina that would have gone through the layers like butter. Attaching the pillows by hand with contrasting embroidery thread would work and add another decorative element.

This technique is useful for people with space constraints. I have other ideas for this that I want to try in the future. I think it would be interesting to work with open spaces, pockets, Velcroed windows and more textures. Pillowing is a relatively quick technique, perfect for that baby blanket or wedding gift that just has to get done!

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