October 2, 2013

Halloween Throw Pillow Project

Part of the Holiday Throw Pillow Project series

I began planning this pillow project a full year ago and I'm super excited that it is now in the works.  This is a great gift series for those hard to buy for grandparents, so get ready!  

Here's how it is going to work.  I purchased the same size throw pillow for every grandparent and god parent recipient and for myself.  For each season or holiday that rolls around, I will make a new slip cover for that same pillow and send it in the mail.  Family members with these pillows can just pull off the case for the bygone holiday and replace it with the new one that comes in the mail for the new season.  It's a year of heartfelt family themed gifts that place the faces of their favorite shorties right on their couch, even if their couch is a thousand miles away.

I just mailed out round one - the actual pillow and the first case, which was Halloween themed.  I haven't thought too far ahead in terms of how each case will be styled, but I did start buying fabric for this project a full year ago.  If you'er thrifty, like me, you can hit the fabric stores the day after each holiday and get half off super adorable holiday fabrics.  I scored big time on Halloween and Valentines prints last year, but the stores apparently hoarded their Christmas fabric and didn't ever mark it down significantly.  

The original plan was to sew on a vinyl photo pocket so that I could just mail new pictures each year after this for placing in the pillow, but recent adventures in machine sewing vinyl to fabric convinced me that it would not be a very durable option, and this is a lot of work for something that will fall apart.  

Still, I wanted photos of the kids to be on most of the pillows, so I tried that wax paper transfer method that I've been seeing online for years.  It actually worked!  I edited a pic of the kids in their costumes from a few years ago, lifted off the background and gave their images a distressed, vintage look.  They are almost ghostly, which fit the theme just fine!

It's going to be important to have one of the correctly sized pillows for yourself so that you can test your cases for size before you mail them.  You don't have to be terribly precise with the sizing on pillow cases, but you want to end up with something only slightly larger than the pillow itself.  I didn't have a blocking plan going in, so each of the pillows are slightly different.  My first one was too elaborate and involved to repeat for every grandparent, so I streamlined the process and actually thought the simpler blocking was cuter.  Anyway, once I had front and back rectangles roughly the right size, I just stacked them and rotary cut around the edges, crossing my fingers that it was a close enough fit.  See how precise I am with my sewing projects?  

The backs are a solid orange, but the fronts are blocked.  Rather than messing with zippers, which probably wouldn't hold up to the on and off plan for these pillows, I stitched ribbons into the open side such that the case is held closed by 2 bows.  My mom gave me a throw with ribbon closures and I had never seen one quite like it.  So much simpler and the bows add a little flare.

I sent these out this past week, hoping they'll find homes on couches and porch benches through the month of October.  I'm already pondering what the Thanksgiving cases might look like.  Better go get started!

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