Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life preserver pillow

My mother-in-law's birthday was at the beginning of August and we made her a life preserver pillow. 

Her dad had owned a sailboat named the Scarlet Queen and we based the pillow off of the original life preserver that was on the boat. 
Off to the store we went to buy a cream coloured fabric and rope. I used extra fabric from my amiga's wedding date pillow for the tan bands and I already have a red fabric marker.

We bought 20 inches of fabric and magically we have a fan with a base that was just under 20 inches in diameter. So we put the fan on top of it and I traced it.
Then we found a bowl that we thought looked good, centered it and traced that. 
Then I cut out the two circles and pinned them together (photo includes tan fabric and rope).
After a lot of figuring out - we realized that we needed to keep the inner circle open so I sewed all the way around the outer circle. 
And then flipped it right side out. 
And then realized I needed to pin the inside circle. :-) So I flipped it inside out again and pinned around the edge.
 Then I hand sewed the edges....
...and left two openings (on opposite sides) for stuffing.
Next I drew on the lettering. I used my laptop as a light board again and lightly traced the letters with my red fabric marker. After I finished tracing I put a piece of plastic in between the two layers (shoved through one of the openings left for stuffing) and coloured in the letters.
Done with the words!
I stuffed the pillow and hand sewed the two openings. 
Next up - the tan bands and rope. 
I cut the tan material. I'm not sure how long they were (I estimated and trimmed them down as I went) but I want to say they are 2 1/2 inches wide. And ironed 1/4 of an inch in on either side. Then I sewed along the two long edges. 
 I wrapped the band around the pillow (I wasn't too picky about where it was because I could move it around after it was sewn) and pinned the edges.
 Then I sewed the edge. This was pretty tough and I'm sure there may have been an easier way....but this worked for me.
 As you can see it's pretty lose around the pillow but after I flipped the band right-side out I sewed another straight line so there would be a small opening for the rope. Then it fit snugly around the pillow.

I used a safety pin on one end of the rope to help feed it through.
 After threading the rope through all four bands, I trimmed the rope and taped/sewed the two ends together. Then I pulled the rope so that this part was hidden in one of the loops.
The pillow is done!!

Again, just for reference - the original life preserver:
And the pillow:
Honestly, I was amazed at how well it turned out. I love when I have an idea in my head and when I'm finished it is as good or better. This was definitely better than the one in my head. The rope was an afterthought and I'm so glad we added it.

A close up of the details.
 And another photo of the pillow.

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