A few months ago, I was organizing some donations for our Craft Supply Swap. I noticed a variety of blue and white fabrics and without realizing it, I began to lay out the fabrics, noting complementary tones and patterns. As the pile grew, I decided to try my hand at quilting a pillow. If it worked out, it would become a holiday gift for my parents. If not, well, the fabric would be returned to the swap like nothing happened and no one would know.
I’ve never quilted anything before and my skills as a seamstress are meager at best. I’ve attended quilt shows with my mom and observed how complex the quilts can be. I was very intimidated by the whole process. All of that piecing and design and stitching…where to start? I didn’t even have a sewing machine!
Luckily for me, the library had the tools I needed. I borrowed a sewing machine and picked out a small stack of donated fabric from the Craft Supply Swap. From there, I started sketching out some possible designs on graph paper, getting more and more bold in my layouts until I realized that I lacked the skills to bring my vision into reality. I gave up on making the next great masterpiece and settled upon a simpler design. But things didn’t exactly go according to plan.
If you’re a quilter or have ever sewn anything, you know about seam allowances. Did I know about them? Sure, but I totally forgot to take them into consideration. What was supposed to be a nice even grid of alternating squares became an abstract assembly of narrow rectangles of varying sizes. I also flipped a few of the pieces when I was pinning them together and inadvertently changed the design. I had planned (ha, best laid plans) to use all of the squares for the front of the pillow and use a couple of wide strips as the back. My “new shape” only covered one third of pillow! I decided to improvise.
I had enough of the blue batik fabric to cover the entire back of the pillow and the two white strips were repurposed to the front. Thankfully I had just enough fabric to finish the form. I jammed it full of stuffing (I didn’t trust myself to create a uniform shape that could accommodate a pillow form) and finished the seam by hand.
In the end, it actually kind of worked out. I love it when that happens! I felt it was an accurate reflection of my tendency to not follow patterns or rules. Thankfully, my parents loved it and in the end, I was proud of it, too. Is it perfect? Ha. Nope. But I made it with love and with materials that could have ended up in the landfill. Not too bad for a beginner.
My advice looking back over my project? If you’re curious about trying a new craft or skill, go for it. Have some fun and don’t take yourself too seriously. Even if it’s not perfect, especially if it’s not perfect, it’s something unique and personal. Just don’t forget about seam allowances.
Looking to explore a new hobby? Check out the library and see what we may have to get you started. Tried a new hobby and now you’re stuck with a bunch of craft supplies you’ll never use again? Drop them off at the Reference desk and we’ll add them to the Craft Supply Swap. Maybe they will inspire someone to try something new.