Monday, April 10, 2017

Re purposed Needlework in Patchwork Pillows

I've been busy making pillows.  It's fun stuff I tell you.  I've had an idea for a while now: I can't seem to resist buying handmade embroidery and cross stitch pieces when I see them at yard sales.  As a person who sews, I appreciate all of the time and effort that goes into hand stitching.  I can't resist buying these pieces when I see them, and for the items I detail here, none of them cost more than $2.  $2!  Think of all that time and care given to these pretty pieces of needlework, only to be given away for mere pennies.  But I do get it, they aren't appreciated by everyone and I am sure a lot of people don't know what to do with these items.  Styles and decoration preferences change.  Some items become irreparably stained or damaged over time.  It feels exciting to take these treasured pieces of the past and transform them into something pretty and useful once again.

Here's a picture of me holding all of these pillows in front of a recently finished quilt top:


I bought this chair cover (?) piece for $1 this summer:


I cut it up and put it with just two other stash fabrics, using my favorite size of patchwork square: 2.5".


This table runner was in rough shape but look how pretty the flower and butterfly embroidery is:


Here's what I made it into:


On the blog, I've shown this before.  But I found these armchair cozies irresistible!  The pair was only 50 cents.  I love me a bright orange/red.  I found a way to use the roses and butterflies in two separate projects:


This pillow was made with all scrap fabrics and vintage tiny ric rac:


A mini charm pack of Moda's PB & J added some fun and style to these butterflies:


Hot air balloons have a special place in my heart because every year we attend a balloon festival in the Springs and the whole family loves it.  I found this piece framed at a garage sale for $2.  In pondering how to use it, I was tempted to go a little crazy and add all sorts of colorful, scrappy fabrics to frame this cross stitch but when I found this somewhat muted blue/gray polka dot in my stash, I loved how it coordinated and I knew the pairing would better allow the needlework to be the center of attention.


Finally, this butterfly embroidery was previously part of a small white tablecloth.  I went ahead and kept this design simple too.


All of the pillows have zippered flap backings like this:



I think I've said before here that I have been trying to get an Etsy shop.  In the fall/winter, I had success at craft fairs selling many items: bibs, reusable snack bags, patchwork dish towels, crayon wallets, etc.  But it isn't very stimulating or super creative to sew those kinds of items over and over.  I've been trying to think of something I could sew that is unique and more fun to create and designing and creating items from "upcycled needlework" is one of my more unique ideas for the shop.  I intend to develop a service for people where they could give me their (perhaps) sentimental needlework items and I could transform them into a more meaningful keepsake/item such as a pillow, mini quilt, etc.  By making all of these "examples" of what I can do with embroidery pieces, I have created a bit of a "portfolio" to show what I can do.  I have listed these pillow covers in my Etsy shop as well, I'm hoping this idea will appeal to people whether they purchase a custom order or not.  It's still a work in progress and I am not done setting it up, but feel free to check out my Etsy shop: Dresden Lane Designs.

On the side, I have still been working on plenty of "personal" sewing projects which I will share soon!

4 comments:

Kathy@KayakQuilting said...

I love this idea! Your finished pillows are beautiful! Did you do anything with the needlework to prep it? Special washing or ironing? I have a smal pile of old cross stitch items I should put to work!

Leslie at the Sugarhouse said...

I love your pillow creations and the artistic way you use the embroidered accents! I am the fortunate recipient of both my grandmothers linens and have been hoarding them for years. You have inspired me to get to work and start sewing some special pillows!
So happy to have found your blog!

Danette Stankovich said...

These are all really neat! I love the idea of using these as repurposed items in a pillow. I think you will get offers from people.

Amy's Crafty Shenanigans said...

You have an eye for colour and pattern which makes those precious embroideries extra special!