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Postcard Pillow



Though we’re often all about skulls and flames and edgy things, we like romance as much as the next person, and the bright breath of spring is the perfect time to let a little light and romance into your life. Nothing says romance to me like vintage script, old postcards, Parisian wonders, and soft and airy linens. Our new Parisian Love Letter collection is meant to capture all the romance of old, handwritten notes scrawled in elegant, looping French text. The designs are designed to be light stitching and airy, and perfect for a gorgeous layering effect to create a stitched canvas far larger than your hoop.


The tutorial itself is simple. We’re going to use our new designs to create a postcard pillow, so we can hold a little handwritten romance close to us in our homes. To make your pillow, you’ll need:

  • Pillow form
  • Linen or linen-like fabric
  • No-show mesh cutaway stabilizer
  • Scissors and pins
  • Tape
  • Romantic Parisian embroidery designs
  • Printed templates of the designs to help with placement, if you have embroidery software with the ability to print them (optional, but handy)

To make a “postcard” pillow, you’re going to want a pillow in a rectangle shape. I found a pillow form at my local fabric store that was 12"x16". Any size will do, but keep in mind the size designs you’re working with. The 4"x4" collection won’t have as great an effect on a giant rectangular pillow.

The beauty of this project is that you can mix and match and blend designs as you please, but if you're curious, here are the ones I used:


 

Start by measuring out a rectangle the size of your pillow. Mark it out with pins. You should leave enough fabric on top and below to fold it over itself at the back. In other words, 12 plus inches each side on mine. Also be sure to leave seam allowance on the side.

The area you’ve marked out with pins is your postcard canvas.


We need to fill that canvas! This is where printed templates come in very handy. If you can’t print them, I recommend sketching out your ideas on a piece of paper.

Remember, a stamp typically goes in the upper right, and you should grab some of that French script to fill out your letter. The rest is up to you! Any of the designs can go on the postcard, and they can all be layered on top of each other for a rustic effect.


When you have everything laid out the way you like it, I’d recommend taking a picture, or drawing a sketch. You won’t be able to keep all your printed templates on your fabric as you stitch, so this is the best way to remember where everything goes.


 

I also found it helpful to write the design number on each template. That made it easy to find it on my machine while I was stitching so many out.

Hoop up your first design with some no-show mesh stabilizer. You’re going to want to start with the designs that will be on the bottom of any layering. Use your template and your hoop guides to get perfect placement.


This is my first design when it was done stitching. To further enhance the layered look, I stitched any designs that were meant to be stitched on top of in a lighter color, so they kind of “faded” into the background.


 

Once your design is done, flip it over and carefully trim away the excess stabilizer.

It’s important to do this after each design, otherwise you might end up with multiple layers of stabilizer for your designs to stitch through, and things might start to get caught on other designs' stabilizers.


Repeat the process of adding your templates back on one by one, so you can constantly be visualizing how everything will stitch out.

Here’s how I started my layering. I started with my background elements, like some text, a fleur de lis, and our postcard’s stamp.


 

I kept adding designs and started to overlap them a little. This will create the appearance of a much larger stitched canvas, and allow you to create design sets much larger than your own machine's embroidery area.

In addition to some of the small, looping text, I thought I’d make it totally clear where this postcard is from with our big and beautiful “Paris” text.


The layering is complete! Though I mostly liked to keep the postcard with text and light stamps, I think using one of the larger, painterly designs gives it a beautiful pop of color and texture.

Have fun with how you assemble your designs, and remember that they can overlap each other to create more layered effects. It will make it hard for the viewer to tell where one design ends and another begins.


 

To finish off the “postcard” effect, use your sewing machine to stitch a line down the middle of it with matching thread, like so.


Now we just need to finish of the pillow

First I would recommend wrapping your embroidered design over the front of your pillow. Shift it around till it’s centered where you like it, then carefully flip it around without moving the fabric.

Fold one edge up so it’s about 4 inches shy of the top, and pin the edge under to mark your seam. Do the same with the top flap. When folded, they should overlap each other by about four inches.


 

Once your length is marked, you can more carefully fold in each side under twice, and pin it in place. Sew a double seam down the edge to keep your fold in place.

Do this along both sides.


Once again check that your design is centered in the fold they way you like it, and then fold your pillow inside out, with the design facing in, right sides together.

Your folded rectangle should be no taller than 12 inches, and you should mark in 16 inches across (or whatever measurements your pillow is). Sew a seam down both sides to finish off your pillow, then snip off the excess.

Tip! - Depending on how you like your pillow covers, you can move all your measurements in a tiny bit to get a more snug feel, about half an inch or so.


 

Once you’re done stitching, flip your pillow right side out and push out the corners. Then stuff your pillow form inside.


Gorgeous! A vintage postcard inspired pillow that will add a romantic, whimsical touch to any decor.


 

The postcard effect is brought to life with postmark and vintage stamp designs...


…textured with beautiful, flowing script. Some works are bold and clear, others just form a delightful stitched texture that adds to the beautiful layered effect.


 

The soft, sepia tones and faded colors adds some rustic French romance to any occasion, and the designs are light enough to stitch on almost any fabric.


Does your decor need new life? A little romance is just the thing.


Feeling a little French? Have fun with these tutorials: Sew4Home shows how to make a French market tote; Prudent Baby demonstrates the always-handy French seam, Amelie and Atticus shares a tutorial for a sweet French top, and Everyday Art creates a classic French memo board.


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Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
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