Thursday, January 9, 2014

Constellation pillows

I had the idea for these back in October, which is the only reason I managed to finish them by Christmas.

constellation pillows
{constellation pillows}

I had marked this embroidered table runner tutorial a while ago and thought it would be perfect for my stepmom, who loves the stars. I ended up doing pillows instead, because they seemed more useful for everyday.

I mostly followed the tutorial instructions, which didn't require much embroidery skill once I retaught myself to tie a french knot. I picked up a remnant of navy blue cotton (these would be beyond good in a dark blue linen, but I didn't have time to search it out), a couple skeins of silvery grey embroidery floss and two 20x20" pillow inserts from Ikea (do not get their poly fill pillow inserts because they are terribly depressing - the down inserts are great and inexpensive). I used silver sequins for the stars in the actual constellation and scattered in a few silver beads as well.

I didn't use the actual template from the tutorial because I specifically wanted Sagittarius and Cancer only. I wasn't expecting it to be so difficult to find a definitive image of the constellations! They vary a lot. I ended up using images from this site because it seemed a little more authoritative than the others and the images were nice and clear. To make it easy to print, I opened each image in Illustrator, locked the layer and then added dots wherever the stars were and lines as indicated. Then I deleted the image, which left me with just the black dots and lines. I traced it on the fabric as indicated in the tutorial (using chalk sheets, which I'd never used before - they're handy!).

After I finished embroidering the pillow fronts I made simple envelope pillow cases using this tutorial. I have a zipper foot packed up in my stuff but this was easier than trying to find it. I should probably have added a little button on the back but I didn't.

Sorry - no close ups! I was taking these pictures super last minute before stuffing the pillows in a giant gift bag.

I'm happy with how they turned out and it was a fairly simple project. And now I want to get much, much better at embroidery. I'm thinking needlepoint portraits for next year? I better get started now.

20 comments:

  1. You did an amazing job! They look fantastic. I do think you could have gotten away with stuffing them with a One Direction pillow from Walmart. (You'd have to read my blog to understand that one.)

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    1. Ha - I remember that post! I briefly contemplated getting a random pillow to use as an insert but figured it might be weird when my parents took the cover off to wash it. : )

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    2. I read your blog, too, Jules, and I remember this post. So funny, and the pillowcase is beautiful!

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  2. Thanks so much for posting links to "authoritative" pics of the constellations. I actually have been wanting to embroider constellations on paper (as I've been really into hand embroidering lettering onto paper cards for bdays, etc), but I got overwhelmed during google searches to find the most legitimate representations. But seeing this post has inspired me to give it another go. I might have to sub the sequins out of laziness/lack of need for other projects, but they would look a lot nicer than prob just sewing circles or asterik shapes.

    Also, I love the density you've achieved using French knots. I really need to practice these since I've always been terrible with French knots (no idea why it's so difficult for me).

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    1. So I can't guarantee that the images on that website are "accurate" but it was the only one I could find that actually had names of the stars, etc, so it seemed best! You're right - the google search was overwhelming and some of the constellation images don't even vaguely resemble each other!

      I tried it without the sequins first because I couldn't find them, just did clusters of french knots for the stars and it didn't look nearly as nice or clean. : (

      I ended up pulling them out because I finally found the tiny package of sequins I was sure I had lying around. They actually came with my sequined shrug and I held onto them! Advantages to being a hoarder, I guess.

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    2. Oh! And I meant to say - I was having a terrible time with french knots at first and finding a good image made a huge difference.

      This is the most helpful diagram I've found and it improved my knots immediately.

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  3. oh my life, my son would absolutely love these! fab!

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  4. bah, i love them (and you know i appreciate diligent research)! on needlepoint, perhaps that can be our next project challenge? i treasure you as a motivator, and i haven't completed a portrait project in far too long.

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    1. Yes! I've never attempted needlepoint and I have a dream of a gift that would be perfect for my sister for Christmas. It will probably take me all year so I should maybe get started now.

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  5. Those turned out great! I may end up copying your idea - I want to get back into my embroidery/needlepoint, too!

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  6. It's been a while since I've come by your blog for a visit, so I'm so happy to see that you're still at it! I love these pillows. Great job!

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  7. These are gorgeous! What a great idea, I bet your stepmom loved them :-)

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  8. Oh, what a brilliant idea! That's so romantic

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  9. I made a constellation pillow for my roommate for Christmas! It's a bit different stylistically than yours, but it was really fun and I love how it came out.

    -e

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  10. Thanks for showing this lovely project - I really wanted to do this but had such difficulty finding the constellations (would you believe, Sagittarius and Cancer?!!) that I gave up… I will follow your links and maybe this is an idea for all my close family for next year!! :)

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  11. Wow, I love these pillows and think they would be great in a kids room as well as on a couch. Really beautiful!

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