Monday, February 15, 2010

How to make a felted wool pillow

Somebody very special to me had a birthday this month. Naturally, she already has everything - except a felted wool pillow. So that is what I made her, and here is how.

First, you need a wool sweater that, once felted, fits over the pillow form you bought or rediscovered as the real first step. I chose a very soft sweater in cream, so it would feel and look nice anywhere she wanted to put it. It had a few moth holes in it, but nothing I couldn't hide.

Then you need to make it square - first by cutting off the arms and neck,

and then by piecing sleeve patches over the curves left by the arms and neck.

(See how the pieces got skewed in the felting process? They don't line up, which posed a problem when it came to the button band. More details on that later.)

This brings us to the 'if you can't hide it, focus on it' part of our program. We are dealing with moth holes and giant ovals that just look weird. Solution? Flowers.

A lot of flowers.

All cut from one of the sleeves, by the way. Once they're pinned you can hand- or, in my case, machine-stitch them down:

and find matching buttons. Around this time I also stitched down the corners of one side of the bottom of the pillow, a nice finish that didn't work because of the skewing problem, as you'll see shortly. I had to rip that stitching out.

Then it's buttonhole city - measuring for them and pinning to mark where to cut them open with a ripper:

I used the pins that ran perpendicular to the buttonhole to help me line up the buttons when I sewed them onto the other side:

You could probably leave the buttonholes unfinished, but I didn't want to. I also didn't have any matching embroidery thread, so I had to settle for the same sewing thread I'd used to stitch the pieces together:

Sewing thread is so fine I feared it would be way too much work, but it wasn't any trouble at all.

What gave me greater trouble was the skewed fabric - in the end I had to rip open the seam at one side of the button band and whipstitch hems for the front and back of the pillow to ensure the band didn't pull when the pillow was closed. This is the other side, pictured here - it neatly tucks under in the exact line I had stitched and ripped out:

And then - you can sit down and relax with a nice book and some cookies!


Binnie Brennan said...

It's gorgeous.

Kathleen Taylor said...

Abslolutely beautiful! What a lovely design!

TexNan said...

That's too pretty! I have a couple I need to make for March b'days, but I doubt they'll turn out as nicely. Yay, you!