Memories to Heirlooms
Memories to Heirlooms
1x - About 20 years a go, after the love of her life died, my good friend Diane gave me a bag of his ties and asked me to make something for her. These ties told the story from their first date to wedding day and beyond. Once I had a clear direction, I got to work and cut two triangles from each tie with a matching one from black velvet. They were sewn together with a 1/4" seam allowance and bordered with more velvet. The pillow was soft and comforting thanks to the luxurious fabrics and the soft, even stuffing. It looked almost exactly like the one pictured above. I say almost because that picture is from the second time I worked on this pillow. . .
2x - Diane loved the first pillow and so did Louie, her adorable little poodle mix. This pillow was Louie's choose perch and it was especially nice since it came with tassels to chew. Diane asked me to fix it, so I took it apart completely and resewed it. This time I sewed a cotton backing to the patched portion of the pillow to make it more stable and added new tassels. The results are the pillow above.
3x - About 5 years later, I felt embarrassed as I saw the edges of the ties fraying, so once I had a plan, I got to work.
First I took apart the whole pillow.
Next I added woven fusible interfacing to the back of each tie piece and cut them out. This would keep the silk from stretching and give it some stability.
Each velvet piece was ironed, then each velvet and silk triangle was remarked and cut. ( I use water color pencils for marking. Lots of colors, mark well, will wash out and are less expensive than quilting marking tools.)
I "finished" each silk square by zig zagging around the edge of each to prevent it from fraying again. I used a very fine polyester thread so that it would not add much bulk to the edge.
I reassembled the top using the original picture as guide. The center patchwork was now 1/2 inch smaller on all sides due to the trimming. I cut down the cotton backing I had used before, added it again, and added the velvet border pieces and the tassels.
I love that Diane lives with and loves her pillow and that she shares with me if there is a problem so I can fix it if possible. It lets me stand behind my work, maintain my integrity, and helps me learn so I can apply the same techniques to future heirlooms. The pillow now measures 16"x 16". Mom kidded me that soon it will be a pincushion, but I like to think that I have now taken steps to make it last at least another 20 years (if Louie is kind!). The reality is, fabric will wear but that just becomes part of the story, doesn't it?
Have an heirloom that needs saving? Contact me and we will get started!
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Jean is the owner and designer for Remember When Studio.