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Appliquéd Accent Pillow

Appliqued Accent Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Yes, friends, I’m busting out my English teacher words today. According to wikipedia, farcical theater “revolves around humor caused by the foolish mistakes of unintelligent characters and the chaos that derives from it.” And in today’s production, I will be playing the role of the unintelligent character. Sigh. Next time I start talking about sewing, remind me that I’m terrified of my sewing machine and throw me a roll of Stitch Witchery, okay?  😉

It all started when I had this vision of super-cute accent pillows for the Cs’ new big boy room. I had made an envelope pillow before (okay, my mom helped), so I figured, “How hard can it be?” I was envisioning something like this:

Boy Room Accent Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Looks easy enough, right? I just wanted to make a simple envelope cover with three appliquéd chevron symbols on it. I hadn’t done much appliqué before, but I thought I could handle it, so one day when my mom was here (because you know I rarely attempt a sewing project alone) we set to work. Until we got to the actual sewing part, it started out kind of smoothly. We gathered up all of our materials…

Boy Room Appliqued Accent Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

I started by cutting a piece of fabric and a piece of Heat n’ Bond big enough to fit two chevron shapes {1}. (I was making one pillow for each C, so I needed two of everything.) I followed the instructions on the Heat n’ Bond and ironed them together {2}, then traced my template on the back {3} and cut it out {4}. (Note: If you’re attempting appliqué, make sure you trace the shape in reverse because the tracing side will become the back.)

Boy Room Appliqued Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Once I had completed this process for all three chevron shape colors, I centered them on the piece that would become the front of my pillow and ironed them on.

Boy Room Appliqued Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

So now I’m thinking, “This is simple! I can totally handle this!” Pssssshhh! Oh, self, you are so silly sometimes. It was at this point that I learned that sewing machines can sense my presence and automatically stop working for fear that I’ll break them permanently. All I wanted to do was sew a zig-zag stitch around each of the chevron shapes so that they wouldn’t come off when roughed up by the Cs, but the machine had different ideas.

Every time I tried to sew a stitch, it would get jammed up, the thread would break, or something would go flying off in a different direction. It was wild. I texted my expert sewing friend for troubleshooting help, but even after following her instructions, I couldn’t get it to work. {Thank goodness I was using a test piece of fabric during this whole debacle so I didn’t ruin my pillows!} I finally chalked it up to the machine being faulty and called it a day.

I still had to finish my pillows, though, so I called my mother-in-law, who is an amazing sewist, and asked for her help. Thank goodness this woman has to love me since I am married to her son. First, when we tried to fire up her sewing machine, it started doing the EXACT same things as the first one. I’m telling you, they have it out for me.

Second, after she got it to work because she is amazing, every time I would go to change the thread color, I would almost break the machine. I would mess up filling the bobbin (which I have done plenty of times before) or get the thread all tangled up or break the bobbin altogether. It was totally ridiculous. If I wasn’t almost in tears out of frustration, I would have been laughing because everything that could go wrong did. After a zillion mishaps, I somehow actually managed to end up with outlined chevron symbols. (Don’t look too closely! You’re looking! Don’t! ;))

Boy Room Appliqued Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

Now that my front piece was finished, I just had to attach my two back pieces to create the envelope, and I would be done! Easy, right?

Boy Room Appliqued Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

If only I had cut them the right size… Gah! Thankfully, I had erred on the side of caution– they were too large. My ever-patient mother-in-law helped me cut them down to size, pin them together, and then I very, VERY nervously sewed around the outside edge and was completely shocked when I came out with this:

Boy Room Appliqued Pillows by Just a Girl and Her Blog

I absolutely could not believe that after everything that went wrong, I actually ended up with useable pillows! They are certainly far from perfect, but the Cs won’t care, and I think the pillows will be a great accent in their new room. Whew! I love it when a plan comes together…eventually! 😀

{Psssst…if you’re looking for an excellent envelope pillow tutorial, clearly I’m not the one to ask. My friend Krista of The Happy Housie is wonderful at it though, so check out her tutorial here.}

Have you had any sewing mishaps lately?

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45 Comments

  1. Abby, it’s only by trying that we learn. You ended with 2 very nice pillows that I”m sure the boys will love because “YOU” made them!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So true! Thank you so much for your encouragement, Patti! I am going to keep trying…I just hope I don’t break too many sewing machines in the process! 😉 Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Bethany the ngnrdgrl says:

    I love this post because that is totally me! Sewing machines can be a total beast. I get so frustrated with them, not knowing why they aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing. The last time I attempted to sew something, I discovered that my machine no longer walks the fabric through. 🙁 So I totally got rid of it. I figured if I attempt sewing again, I’ll research and try to find a better machine. Perhaps take some classes and try out their machines? Who knows. For now, stitch witchery will be my friend too!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Stitch witchery fans unite! 😉 I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble with sewing machines! I really should take classes because I would LOVE to be able so sew well, but I fear I would go through quite a few machines because they seem to spontaneously combust in my presence, lol. Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Sarah Schultz says:

    I love these! I could imagine a set of turquoise and gray in my living room.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oooh turquoise and gray sounds beautiful! Thanks so much for stopping by, Sarah! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  4. LOL! This story is great, Abby. I am the same way with sewing. I have a pillow on my couch that is literally falling apart but I refuse to remove it! I made it!!!! lol. I love how the pillows turned out though! xo Allyson@Domestic Superhero

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Stay strong! Leave it there! Lol. At this point I’m thinking of investing in a bunch of hem tape because I pretty much break something every time I even look at a sewing machine. It’s sad, really. 😀 Thanks so much for stopping by, Allyson! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Tiffany {A Touch of Grace} says:

    Girl! We are on the same page! I am on sewing maching #2 (first one was like 20 years old) and thank goodness my mother is usually here to help when I attempt a sewing project. It would be devastating otherwise.

    The pillows look great! And you have a story to tell in the end 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank goodness for moms and MILs, right?! So good to know I’m not the only one who struggles! Maybe I should have paid better attention in 8th grade home ec… 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful week, Miss Tiffany!

      ~Abby =)

  6. JaneEllen says:

    You guys crack me up. I have an old Kenmore, I mean an old Kenmore hubs bought for me shortly after we got married, I love that old machine and it goes great for me. I did something to it and can’t convince hubs what I’m showing him is what needs to be fixed.
    So I’ve been using another machine I bought but don’t really like. I have a hard time threading the bobbin, can’t seem to get the machine threaded anymore so when I need above things done I ask hubs and he nicely does them for me. Otherwise the machine might go out the window. Poor hubs. The window is really close to where the machine sits so he worries about it. That’s why he fixes things for me right away when I ask. lol. He knows this old lady too well.
    Think maybe it might be real good idea to get my old Kenmore fixed. Think it’s at least 44 yrs. old or so now but I still love that old machine. Don’t even want to throw it out the window. Amen.
    Your pillows are great and they look good. Guess maybe sewing just isn’t your thing, we all have one, it’s just figuring out what the heck it is. Maybe yours is making bat mobiles. Happy week

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That sounds like a trusty machine! 44 years?! I am determined to get this sewing thing down! Practice, practice, practice! 😉 Hope you’re having a great week, Miss Jane Ellen!

      ~Abby =)

  7. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    Oh Abby, I feel your pain. I will tell you that I broke FOUR needles the last time I sewed a pillow. AAGGHH. I am quite certain the my little Finn was messing with the dials on my ancient hand-me-down machine and got the thread all jammed up in the bobbin-zone and it snapped those needles right in two. Repeatedly. Apparently I didn’t learn from the first three breaks. It took four for me to figure it out. The cutting and pinning and ironing part of sewing is pretty easy. It is those darned machines that throw (all of)us for a loop sometimes. I LOVE the arrow design by the way, and thank you for sending envelope-tutorial-seekers my way, friend!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble with it! And those kiddos…always getting into everything! {Mine are, anyway!} I LOVE the name Finn, btw! It was actually on our list for Caleb, but we wanted his middle name to be Michael after my dad, and our last name begins with an “L”, and I just couldn’t give him the initials FML to live with his entire life, lol! Have a wonderful weekend, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Christy@ Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer says:

    Abby, these turned out awesome!! You are way too hard on yourself. I’ve been sewing for years and I too have had days like that! So frustrating, I know! Your pillows really are fantastic! XO

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Glad to know I’m not the only one! Thanks so much for your sweet words, friend! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  9. The chevron pattern looks so cute. You picked such nice, complimenting fabrics. The pillows came out great! Thank you for the link to the tutorial. I have some fabric I want to use to cover some pillows but wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it. The envelope pattern seems perfect…simple but will still look polished and neat.

    Krista’s story matches mine. My 2 year old sat at my sewing machine. It was unplugged and the needle was removed; he looked so cute playing with all the knobs and levers, so I just let him stay a while. Boy did I regret it when I was ready to continue the upholstery project I was working on and couldn’t remember what any of the settings were on before. I had to get some scraps out and make a bunch of trials runs. I broke a needle, severed a lot of expensive thread, thought I would never figure it all out again! It is off limits to him now! Then my hubby gets on there to fix a sail or something and leaves it on weird settings. I have to get the manual out to remember what normal settings are. I guess we all need separate sewing machines in our house.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! I have so been there! I let my kids play with something because, “Oh, they can’t hurt it…” and the next thing I know it’s never the same again! They’re lucky they’re so cute, right? 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by, Jennifer! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  10. I feel your pain! I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year and every time I try to use it, something goes wrong. Thank goodness my Mom knows her way around a sewing machine and comes to my rescue. I think the pillows turned out great, though!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Paige! Hooray for moms and MILs who know what they’re doing, right?! 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  11. ingrid@now at home mom says:

    🙂 even though you had a hard time, your pillows turned out lovely Abby and your boys will love them for sure because they were made with love 🙂 & believe me you are not that bad with a sewing machine, I always freak out when I use mine and I always need my mom’s help (those machines) 😉 love the arrows and the colors you chose
    you know, I was going to try to follow one of Krista’s tutorial but I’m sure I would not be able to do it, so I left the fabric in my room. Krista is really good at it and love her pillows too! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! It’s encouraging to know that I’m not the only one that struggles! Yay for moms and MILs who know their way around a sewing machine! I agree– I love Krista’s pillows too! She is so talented! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Eva Humblebee says:

    They are so cute! I love the color scheme. Appliques just about did me in when I was first learning and they STILL give me problems sometimes:)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Eva! I’m glad I’m not the only one that has trouble with them! There were a few times I thought they’d never be finished, lol. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Jessica @ Mom 4 Real says:

    OH my goodness, Abby girl! I love these!!!! Super stinkin’ cute!!!

    Jess

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Jess! There were a few times I thought they’d never be finished, but they came out in the end, lol! I’m so glad you stopped by! Have a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  14. I had to chuckle as I was reading this. It made me remember when I first tried to use a sewing machine and how many mistakes I made. My mom went to Singer sewing school and had little patience for my clumsiness. Eventually I got it. Love the results, by the way!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I’m so glad there’s hope! Maybe one day I’ll “get it” too. I’m sure going to try! Thanks so much for stopping by, Barbara! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much T’onna! The green polka dot is my favorite too! Hope you’re having a wonderful week! Happy Halloween!

      ~Abby =)

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  16. Laura @ The Experimental Home says:

    What fun is a project without a few kinks in the road! I love the pillows you made – they look gosh-darn-near perfect to me!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Laura! It took a while, but they finally turned out, lol! Hope you’re having a great week! Happy Halloween!

      ~Abby =)

  17. Katherine A. says:

    So, truth be told. I didn’t read the post, because I simply have enough throw pillows. But I wanted to say, your blog is SO calming. It’s very well set up. It makes me want to stay even if I’m not interested in the post. Haha. Do you run it on WordPress or something else? Did you design it yourself? It’s just really great!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! I love your honesty, Miss Katherine! Thank you so much! I am on self-hosted WordPress. I use the Genesis Framework, and my child theme is called “Delightful” by Restored 316. I designed my logo and the graphics in my sidebar, but everything else is part of the Delightful theme. Lauren at Restored 316 is amazing! Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Halloween!

      ~Abby =)

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  19. Abby, I think they came out great – and I WAS looking closely. hehe you can eliminate some of the sewing on envelope pillow cases, but making one big sheet of fabric and then folding it over itself…so your chevron would have been in the middle and the two ends would fold over it. I usually make mine that way and it just eliminates two of the seems. I would love it if you linked up this project at my Link it or Lump It link party this week! They’re adorable!! https://twoityourself.blogspot.com/2013/10/features-and-link-it-or-lump-it-link.html

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for the invite, Melissa! I will have to try that envelope pillow method the next time I’m brave enough to attempt the sewing machine! 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful week! Happy Halloween!

      ~Abby =)

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  22. Lauren @ The Thinking Closet says:

    You get an A++ from this theatre teacher for using the term farcical comedy in this post. It totally pulled me over from Pinterest (also, I thought, “This must be a new post by Abby!” and then I realized you shared this gem a few months ago. It must have slipped past my radar when I was in Costume Party planning mode.) 😉 But I love that you share the highs and lows of sewing with us all. As a beginner sewist myself, I can totally relate. My sewing machine STILL intimidates me…and the one applique project I have done was definitely headache inducing. But you prevailed in the end, and the pillows look fantastic, so way to not give up!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Awww…thanks for popping over, friend! I love that someone else can appreciate literary terms with me! 😀 Yes, these pillows were almost the death of me, but they ended up turning out somehow. I was shocked, lol. Have a wonderful Christmas week, Lauren!

      ~Abby =)

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  24. I feel your sewing machine pain. Over many decades of sewing I have just learned to determine and accept the limitations of my machine, ie this particular one has never wanted to sew elastic as I stretch it. (As in making leotards or swimwear.) I really liked your pillows and will probably give them a try (in fadeproof fabrics) for outdoors. BTW, that’s another lesson I learned the hard hard way. Don’t put dressmaker fabrics on the patio even in shade, they definitely lose color FAST!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles, lol! Thanks so much for the tip on fading, Miss Judy! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

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