UFO busting: When in doubt make a pillow

Pillow bias side

You may have noticed I haven’t spent much time busting UFOs these past couple of months. This doesn’t mean I don’t have any left (if only!), it means I’ve gotten rid of a bunch, which feels pretty good, and simply moved on to creating other things. The new things I made got finished and are being used so I am definitely improving in the “finish what you start” department. Well, apart from that quilt that’s been almost stationary on my design wall since January, but I promise I’ll get to that soon.

Unfinished skirt

I haven’t done much creative things during the past couple of weeks and needed to get sewing again. Preferably with a simple no fuss instant gratification project. I had looked at this unfinished skirt several times already unsure what to do with it. I think I started it over 3 years ago and at the time it seemed like a really good idea to use this fabric for a skirt. Now I think the fabric was never really meant to be used for a garment. It is quite loosely woven and frays horribly. Cutting the pieces on the bias resulted in too much stretch so it ended up way too big. I’m also not so sure anymore that the finished skirt would flatter me all that much. But, what to do with it? Turning it into another garment wasn’t going to work either. And then it hit me.

fraying fabric

Oh the fraying…

When in doubt make a pillow.

Pillows are one of my all-time favourite projects. I should really get a larger couch just so I can properly display my mishmash of pillows in all their glory (you surely must have heard stranger reasons to buy a new couch, right?).

I used the back of the skirt to cut one side of the pillow on the bias and a left over piece of fabric to cut the other side on the straight of grain. To add some stability and minimize fraying both pieces were underlined with some Kona cotton and the edges were overlocked. The bias piece definitely stretched out during this process. Luckily not really noticeable in the finished pillow.

underlined and overlocked edges

I couldn’t find my invisible zippers so decided against making a closure. Instead I sewed all around the pillow right sides together leaving a small gap for turning. Then I stuffed the pillow with the filling of another pillow that was no longer being used because it had become lumpy from being washed too often. Worked brilliantly (and no my new pillow isn’t lumpy!). Finally the gap was closed with some invisible hand stitching.

Pillow straight of grain side

I love my new pillow and don’t care that it doesn’t really match with the rest of our living room décor. It is much more useful than the skirt ever would have been.

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20 comments on “UFO busting: When in doubt make a pillow

  1. katechiconi says:

    Good job it didn’t make it as a skirt, the bias fabric would have bagged out in the seat the first time you wore it! Even with a lining, loosely woven stuff like that stretches terribly over the bottom.

  2. onedabbles says:

    It’s great! A bunch of well-made cushions create their own style – people pay lots of pennies for that : )

    • Emmely says:

      Each one of my pillows is definitely different from all the others. My boyfriend already starts to groan when I say I am making yet another one, He should be grateful I don’t have enough pillow forms to display them all…

      • Deborah says:

        oooooooohhhhhh! We should set up a donation site for your birthday specifically for pillow forms. It would be so nice for your boyfriend to be able to see ALL of the wonderful pillows. ;-)

      • Emmely says:

        Yes, especially since he doesn’t even like using pillows on the couch so he usually throws them off! We only have 1 small couch intended for 2 people so with the current 3 pillows it’s already quite crowded. I do rotate the pillow form though so he does already get some variety.

      • Deborah says:

        He should appreciate your thoughtfulness at providing such variety for him. haha

      • Emmely says:

        He usually suffers in silence and tolerates my fabric related addictions with amusement so I am not too unlucky. ;-)

  3. Deborah says:

    What a great save! I’m sure you will enjoy the pillow much more than you would have ever used the skirt. And with the bias problem, you probably would have been more frustrated than anything. I like your strategy!

    • Emmely says:

      Yes, finishing it wasn’t really an option anymore. I remember the sewing that I did was already quite frustrating because of all the fraying that was going on. At least I could control that issue with the overlocker this time.

  4. Lovely cushion! Great way to use the fabric instead of putting it aside. My cushions are a bit of a mishmash of different fabrics as well!

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you! I always make what I feel like and don’t really take into account whether it’s going to work with what I already have.

  5. Ruthie says:

    Pillows! Why didn’t I think of that? I have an unfinished flannel shirt that can go no farther. It will be a pillow~~

  6. Carolyn says:

    What a cute pillow! I love the idea of spreading handmade items all around the house. I also like how you said your boyfriend suffers in silence, haha. Whenever I tell mine that I bought more fabric, he just laughs and walks away. :)

    • Emmely says:

      Just don’t make your own curtains, it’s torture… Pillows and (not too large) quilts are so much more fun to make.
      My boyfriend is supportive of my hobby because he sees it makes me happy, doesn’t mean he always likes what I make…

  7. erikacsc31 says:

    Love your post & blog-especially the humor! I can learn a lot from you. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Jilly says:

    That’s funny, I did the same thing. I made a skirt from a green voile print that for some reason just was not working. So I made a travel pillow case and a top. I’ll get much more wear and use out of it now.

    • Emmely says:

      Yes, sometimes we just have to ignore all the work we’ve already done on the original garment and get the scissors out. That skirt would otherwise have been left unfinished forever. I found it quite liberating to simply cut it up and make something else out of it. Good to know I’m not the only one that does this!

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