Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Transforming a Turkish Table Runner into Pillows

My daughter had the extreme good fortune to spend a bit of her summer in Turkey and she returned with lovely tapestry woven table runners- one for me and one for her.
Of course she had a plan for hers that involved me using the table runner to create two matching pillows to replace the ones I had sewn for her as a house warming present last year ( the girl is seriously hard on pillows ).
She said "all" she needed was the pillow covers because the pillow forms were still usable... see how easy it would be?

Of course I agreed and working off the  18"X18" measurements of the pillow forms I  cut two pillow fronts out of the Turkish tapestry table runners. I also carefully removed the tassels ( I love tassels ).

I purchased 5/8 of a yard of fabric for the back on the pillows and two 16" all purpose zippers.
I was ready to start sewing...

Sewing a Lapped Zipper

I am certain these pillows will require frequent washings so a zipper was mandatory. I will sew a  lapped zipper which has a pleat that covers the zipper and is stronger than an invisible zipper but, still looks good. 

Directions for sewing a lapped zipper are included in the all purpose zipper package but, here are the steps. First machine baste the two pieces together that will have the zipper inserted. Use a generous 5/8" seam allowance and I also overlocked the edges before I basted the pieces together.
1. Carefully place the right side ( has the zipper pull ) of the zipper face down on one side of the seam allowance with the zipper teeth NEXT to NOT on the seam.

2. Using a zipper foot on the sewing machine sew the zipper to the one side of the seam allowance, and just the seam allowance. These stitches do not show on the front side of the fabric. Keep the zipper teeth next to the seam ( seam is what scissors are pointing at ).

3. Here's the confusing part. Fold back the side of the seam allowance that now has the zipper attached  so the zipper is now right side ( see the zipper pull ) facing up. Carefully stitch in the folded back seam allowance between the zipper and the seam ( scissors are pointing to seam ). This is the step that creates the 'lap' in a lapped zipper.

4. Now the zipper is completely sewn to one side of the seam allowance and the other side of the zipper is not sewn to anything. Turn your entire fabric back right side up and stitch the fabric to the zipper side that is not sewn to anything. You can feel the zipper through the fabric but, ideally you are stitching about 1/4" from the seam ( where the scissors are pointing ).

5. CAREFULLY remove/cut away the original machine basted seam and the zipper should peek out from under the lapped edge of fabric.
If this is your first lapped zipper I suggest you practice on spare fabric first. That's the great thing about sewing- ALL the stitches can always be removed and you get a second chance ( and third chance and fourth chance and fifth...)

Sewing Tassels in Pillows

To strengthen the tassels I enclosed the tips of the tassels in interfacing and zigzagged to hold it all together. I am hoping this will help prevent the tassels from accidentally being pulled out of the finished pillow.

I hand based a tassel at each corner and even basted down the fringe end to prevent it from being caught in the seams.

The pillow fronts with the tassels securely basted is placed with the right side of the pillow front onto the right side of the lapped zipper backing ( remember it is always right sides together! ).

I pinned each corner diagonally so the motion of sewing would not dislodge the tassel from the corner. I also marked with red ink pen where to stitch so all tassels on finished pillows would be identical lengths. The measurement is about 1/2" from the tassel bead.

After sewing the four sides together I ovelocked the sides for added strength and to help stop the tapestry pillow front from fraying.

Tah dah! 
My daughter now has two matching pillows to remember her Turkish adventure.
You're welcome Sarah :)