Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classroom Pillows

At the end of the last school year, we finally retired the worn out floor pillows our students used for reading and resting. They had been well loved and earned a much needed rest, themselves. So, what to do? We did not want to spend much on new pillows, and did not have the time to hunt garage sales for them. So, I pulled out of my closet 4 old standard bed pillows I had been keeping for one of those "someday" projects. And today, was the day!
I began by washing and drying the pillows and selecting the perfect fabric. Our school colors are black, red, and white. And at our elementary, we call ourselves the Rangers. So, it had to be red and black bandana print! I purchased 2 yards of the bandana print and 2 yards of solid black.  Plus, I bought red thread and 12 red buttons.
My plan was to make shams for the pillows (for easy washing). Since most shams tend to gap open on the back, the buttons should secure the closure.
Note: I washed the fabric before doing any cutting. I've learned that lesson well!
I measured the pillows and an example sham I had. I came up with a finished sham size of 20"x25". I cut the bandana fabric (the front pieces) 20 1/2"x25 1/2", allowing for a 1/4 hem. An additional 1/2" edge is considered in the measurements. The back is made up of 2 pieces. Rather than making the back open in the middle, I offset it near one side so the buttons would not be in the way if the children lay on that side of the pillow. Of the black, I cut one 20 1/2"x22 3/4" and one 20 1/2"x5 3/4" piece. This will allow a 2 1/2" overlap.
Beginning with the back pieces, I sewed a hem on each piece of 1/4" at one end (along the 20 1/2" length). Then, on the small piece, I sewed 3 buttonholes about 1" from the hemmed edge.
I pinned the front and back pieces together, right sides facing. I overlapped the back pieces with the small piece under the large piece (so when turned right-side-out, the buttonholes will be on the outside). Next, I sewed a 1/4" inch seam around the pinned piece. I clipped the corners to make the edge corners lay flat. At this point, I turned the sham right-side-out and ironed the seams.
Back at the machine, I sewed a new seam around the entire piece on the right side 1/8" from the edge. I then sewed another seam edge to edge on all four sides around 1/2" from the edge.  Each seam began and finished with a reverse stitch.  I was also careful to reverse stitch over the spots where the back openings met the sides.
Finishing touch - buttons!
These are going to be so fun in the classroom!

Oh, I also did a little repair work on our class mascot, Reader. His poor nose wouldn't have made it another year!
I used permanent spray adhesive for a matching patch. Then, I hemmed a small square patch of bandana fabric. Finished off with a blanket stitch of embroidery thread.

Now, to take him to the laundromat for a bath!

Look for more back-to-school posts soon. Lots going on around here.

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