Pillow: “The Envelope, Please” from Sew Everything Workshop

I was excited to start the pillow series from Diana Rupp’s “Sew Everything Workshop” . I got enough fabric for three of the four pillows in the book: The Envelope, Please (envelope pillow), the Bloom and Border Pillow (standard throw pillow, with a quilted border), and the Zip-o-riffic Pillow (zippered pillow). The envelope pillow is a one-spool (easy) project, while the Bloom and Border pillow and the Zip-o-riffic pillow are both two-spool (less easy) projects. The Piper’s Pillow (a throw pillow with a piped border) is a three-spool project, which is much too hard for me to even consider trying right now.

For a while I was unsure if I had calculated the amount of fabric I would need correctly, so I did a marathon measure-and-cut session and cut out the fabric for all three pillows at once. This way, if I needed to get more fabric, I could go back to the store before they sold out of it. I spent quite a bit of time beforehand diagraming the most efficient use of my fabric.

Front of envelope pillow
Envelope pillowcase fron

The geometric acrobatics were sort of fun, and well worth it. I had enough fabric, but not a lot of leftover wasted fabric. Yay!

The pattern for the envelope pillow was easy, and relatively quick. I didn’t have any real problems, and don’t have any complaints about the instructions. I appreciate how it is easy to get the pillow form in (since it’s an envelope pillowcase), and how you don’t have to do any hand stitching to secure the pillow.

And, my boyfriend likes it, yay!

Grade: A. This is an easy, fun project that makes a 16″ x 12″ envelope-style pillowcase. It’s also very easy to modify, as the many variations that people have made shows!  Brownie Knits made a larger envelope pillow with French seams in a Craftsy.com class from Diana Rupp- you can read her review of that pillow here.


Right’s Easy Project: Tokyo Tie Bag

The Tokyo Tie bag from Diana Rupp’s “Sew Everything Workshop” is a popular project; do a google search for it, and you’ll see that people love it. It is quick and easy (for people who know what they are doing; for me it’s a week-long project.) I was excited to make a cute, casual purse. The design is forgiving enough so that small differences in the the size or shape of your cut-out pieces of fabric won’t matter. I cannot find the right kind of pattern paper in stores, so I had to use butcher paper for the pattern.

Tokyo Tie Bag Pattern
Pattern for the Tokyo Tie Bag. Nice and simpe!

The pattern was easy to make, but would have been impossible for my drawing-challenged hands to make without “Collins Quilt & Sew Ruler 2″X18″. Because Wrong had already made a Tokyo Tie Bag following the instructions in the book, I knew that the bag as given creates a tiny little thing. Wrong thinks that this makes it simpler for beginning sewers and helps them not waste fabric and money if things don’t work out, but I think giving people instructions to make a purse they can’t use without looking like a giant is a waste, and is simply a waste of money. So, I sized up everything by 1.5. Here are the old and new measurements in inches:

      18 3/4….28 1/8
      2 3/4…….4 1/8
      1 1/8……..1 11/16
      2 1/2……..3 3/4
      5 5/8……..8 7/16

I added as big a pocket on the inside as I could.  Best of all, I gave this bag to one of my friends. Using the purse as a present was extra motivation to do a good job and finish quickly, instead of having a half-finished project sitting around for a month, then losing interest and never finishing it.

Tokyo Tie Bag
Tokyo Tie bag- a fun, casual bag!

Grade:  A-.  This is a very good beginners project, I just felt it needed to be a bit larger, and am glad I sized it up.

Easy Project: Den of Pin Pincushion

We are using the beginner’s sewing book ( “Sew Everything Workshop” by Diana Rupp) to learn how to sew. I needed a pincushion, so I made the Den of Pin Pincushion. It’s a one-spool project (easy).

I was fully prepared to have had to have done my Simplicity 1971 reversible aprontwice in order to actually make an apron instead of a disaster, so I bought twice the amount of fabric needed. So, I had plenty of leftover fabric to use in other projects. I chose my black and white fabric with green embroidery thread. I chose the circular pincushion- you just use a cd to trace a circle on the wrong side of you cloth, so it’s super easy. It’s supposed top be topped with a button, but I didn’t feel like doing that step.

Den of Pin Pincusion
Den of Pin Pincushion

Even though this is an easy project, I still had a few problems with it.

1) Luckily I already had polyfill from when I made a scissors keeper from Crewel Embroidery by Sue Hawkins.

Scissors Keeper
Scissors keeper from Crewel Embroidery by Sue Hawkins

I think I went a little overboard with the stuffing, because I wanted to make it nice and firm. Oh well, not a big deal.

2) It was difficult to get the embroidery thread through the pincushion. I was using a big, thick needle, but I actually managed to break it. You can see that it isn’t a perfect circle and the “petals” aren’t perfectly spaced, but I am happy with it.

3) You hand sew the part where you put the stuffing in using whipstitch, which turned out a little messy when I did it. Yes, this is probably 100% my fault, but I like to complain.

Den of Pin Pincushion Profile
You can see that the hand stitching (on the left-hand side) is messy. Oh well!

4) What is the pun or reference? Den of Pin Pincushion- I don’t get it. Can anybody tell me?

Project grade: A. Yes, there were some problems, but they were my fault. Easy and useful project.