Forgetting what you know…a quilter’s tale of woe

New pillowsI have these lovely throw pillows on my couch and loveseat. Not quilted ones, just your average throw pillows with feathers inside, some in burgundy and some in jade green. These are luscious fabrics, too; the burgundy ones are taffeta, and the green ones are (were) silk dupioni. Therein lies the rub: the silk dupioni is not exactly durable fabric. I bought these pillow covers at a department store two or three years ago. If I’d made them myself to begin with, I’d either have not used the dupioni fabric at all, or I’d have backed it with something to keep it from falling apart so soon.

Surely in my copious fabric stash there would be something the right color and style. And how hard could a couple of pillow covers be, anyway?

They’ve been coming apart at the seams, literally, for a couple of years and I’ve been diligently looking for more in just the right shade of green, without luck at all. Today when I was putting the living room back together after the Christmas decorations came down, I decided I was never going to find the right covers to replace these tattered things, so I needed to just make my own. Surely in my copious fabric stash there would be something the right color and style. And how hard could a couple of pillow covers be, anyway? I do know how to make clothing and home dec items, after all, I did plenty of that kind of thing before I ever made quilts.

It’s amazing what you forget with time though. I took the old covers apart to reuse the zippers, since I didn’t have any the right color stashed anywhere. I did have some cotton fabric the right color, and it’s one of my favorite pieces, too, a sateen from RJR that I searched all over the Internet to find more of after the quilt shop here ran out. The first pillow hurdle: the serger. I thought it would be better to serge the inside raw edges of course, to prevent raveling. I use my serger about once a year, so it took awhile to figure it out again. After 40 minutes of threading and set-up, it took about 10 minutes to actually serge the edges of the pillow pieces! Sheesh!

Second hurdle: the zippers. Now how many zippers do you think I’ve put in garments and home dec items over the years? Many, though I will say that I used to use invisible zippers more than the regular ones, since contrary to popular opinion, they’re actually easier to put in. Anyway, here I was starting with leftover zippers, the regular kind, and they were chopped up funny to begin with. The first pillow cover was quite challenging, since I just didn’t remember really how the whole zipper thing goes. Gaaaak! I sat there thinking, where is my head? How hard can this be??? It’s not like this is a new thing, putting in a zipper!

New pillows

The second zipper went much better, and after that the pillow covers went together pretty easily, despite the fact that I should have serged the edges after I sewed them together (another thing forgotten). So I popped the feather inserts into the new pillow covers, zipped them up, and they instantly attracted cat hair from my shirt! At that moment, I remembered why I spent so much time looking for new covers of the same fabric as the old ones, or dupioni (or taffeta) yardage in that same color: cat hair doesn’t cling to silk or taffeta like it does to cotton. So I have covers that aren’t falling apart, but they’ll be covered in cat hair. *sigh* I think I’ll go quilt now, it’s got to be easier!

2 thoughts on “Forgetting what you know…a quilter’s tale of woe

  1. Fun and cute story. It has been years since I have sewed anything except quilts too. And I have never thought about the cat hair issue. We dont usually let our cats on the sofas so this is not a problem in the living room.

    They do like to sleep on the beds. I dont think I ever even looked for cat hair on the beds. I just assumed it would be there anyway. LOL. They say, “there are those who have forgotten more then most of us will ever learn.” It is a sign of experience. What we do with it reflects whether we have gained wisdom.


  2. Hi Jane,

    My cats go everywhere (except the table and counters), and so I do try to go for fabrics that aren’t magnets for the hair! I don’t worry about it on the beds so much, but if I’m wearing black, I do avoid sitting on the bed. 🙂 I just hope to have a spot or two in the house where a guest could sit down, and not get up looking like they sat on a cat, as opposed to the couch!

    I think the wisdom I gained today was to hunt up some instructions for things I haven’t done in a while before jumping in. Maybe it would be easier, and probably faster in the long run!


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