Yesterday I wrote about bravery. Today we sew pillowcases. If you missed it, here is the story behind the project. What I like about this project is it's simplicity and versatility. You may not feel inspired by the book Singing Away the Dark like I was, but maybe you have a pile of fabric scraps or a garbage bag full of your childrens clothes that you just can't seem to give away. Why not sew them into a simple scrappy set of pillowcases? Or perhaps you too are inspired by a different book, song or poem that you want to base your project on! Go crazy!
I chose a gray main fabric that had a wintery feel, to convey the early-morning winter setting of the book. The scraps I chose for the cuff of the pillowcase represented the colors of the dawn breaking towards the end of the book. I want these pillowcases to be pretty and bright for my daughters. For the dimensions of the pillowcase, I used this blog post as a guide. You can certainly follow her entire tutorial for a more professional, albeit a bit more time-consuming pillowcase. I kept mine very simple, but I still think it will last many years. First of all you need to cut your main fabric into two pieces. The front piece should be cut into a 21" x 21"square. The back piece should be cut into a 21" x 33 1/2" piece.
If you want to embroider your pillowcase like I did, use a "Mark B Gone" marker to write out the words. Then use embroidery floss to stitch over the words. I used a basic back-stitch, but feel free to get fancy-schmancy if you are embroidery-inclined, unlike me. And remember to gently rub your fabric with a wet cloth when you are done stitching to erase the marker lines.
Personally, I think it is best to embroider things while drinking a hot chocolate on a comfy couch watching some trashy TV, but maybe that's just me. I chose to embroider "Brave Maya" and "Brave Camila" because that is the lesson of Singing Away the Dark in it's simplest, most child-friendly form, in my opinion. I loved to trace cursive when I was a kid. How fun to picture my daughters tracing these words, lovingly embroidered by their mama, when they feel a tad bit lonely at their first sleepover. Oh the power of embroidery! ;)
The next step is to sew a scrappy cuff that is 21" x 13". I really wanted mine to have a random, scrap quilt look. I hunted around in my fabric scrap bin until I found the right colors. I then cut them into 2 1/2" width strips. Wanting a random scrap-quilt look, I then cut each strip into a bunch of different lengths.
The next step is a lot of guesswork, but I sewed the little rectangles into long strips until they measured to be around 21" in length.
I ended up needing 7 long strips that I then sewed together into one rectangle. Like I said, it is guesswork since the lengths were random, but that's half the fun, right?! To finish the cuff, I used my rotary cuter to cut a clean 21' by 13' rectangular cuff.
Next up, I ironed the scrappy cuff in half, lengthwise.
Putting right sides together, I sewed the front piece to the cuff so the embroidered side of the front piece met up with both rough sides of the cuff.
I then did a zig zag stitch along the rough edges to keep them from unravelling in the wash.
Iron. This is now one front piece. The cuff should be on the right-hand side with a nice folded edge.
Create a back cuff by lining up the front and back pieces and sewing back the extra length on the back fabric piece.
With right sides together, sew the front and back piece together along three of the sides (don't sew along the cuff because it already has a nice folded edge). Zig zag stitch along the rough edges, flip the pillowcase right side out and ta-da! You have a beautiful pillowcase.
I hope that these pillowcases inspire some conversations with my daughters about bravery in the years to come. They are almost ready to move out of their cribs and use pillows for the first time (yikes!) so this project is well-timed.
Next Monday I will continue with the 2nd installment of this series! It is an even simpler project combining Cesar Chavez and printable fabric!