Thursday, August 1, 2013

Getting Busy with Burlap ~ Decorative Pillow

I love all the "in style" burlap projects that are popping up on Pinterest.  The reason I bought a Cricut is to cut vinyl and fabric.  Today was the day to do both: create a decorative burlap item incorporating the use of fusible fabric cut with the Cricut.  I've seen this done in frames, but I decided to make a small, easy, envelope pillow.

Here are the materials I used:
  • I had some left over burlap. Actually I don't think it was left over, I bought it make a project, but don't remember what the project was. Does this qualify me as a fabricholic? LOL
  • 12 x 12 pillow form
  • Ultra Heat and Bond
  • black fabric
  • light fabric, muslin or off white cotton for lining
I started by cutting a 13 x 13 piece of burlap and the same size from the light fabric . I placed these two pieces together and serged around the outside not cutting any of fabric from the two pieces. I did this to reduce the amount of raveling or fraying of the burlap  If you don't have a serger machine, you can use a zig-zag stitch to sew the edges.

Burlap gets kind of messy, so be prepared to do some clean up while working and after you are done.

Next I cut two pieces of burlap for the back of the pillow each 13 wide by 18 inches long.  I serged around the edges of these two pieces as well.  Next I folded the end of each piece so one was 13 x 16 and the other was 13 x 14 . I pressed the folds. You can stitch the folds to secure them, I chose not to. 
I then places the two pieces on top of each other , right side up, so one piece was overlapping the other and the perimeter around both pieces was 13 x 13.  This is the back of the pillow and should be the same size as the front, lined piece.  I pined the two pieces together and stitched 1/4" around it. 

I loaded the Cricut Craft Room software on my computer and chose my design. I decided to keep it simple since this was my first time using the Cricut to cut fabric. 

Once I settled on a design, I cut the black fabric and a piece of Ultra Heat and Bond and ironed them together.  

Before placing it on the Cricut mat I used a lint roller to clean the mat and then used the roller again to clean the fabric.

Seems simple enough, right?  Well read on. :|

Here is where the excitement begins (and so did the frustration). I was eager to see if the Cricut lived up to my expectations. Boy was I frustrated when it didn't - 3 times!

Here is the first try. Notice the frayed edges around the lettering? This is totally unacceptable to me.

The second and third attempts were much worse. Ugh!  By this time I was getting more than mad. I know cutting fabric with the Cricut is possible, I've seen it on Pinterest! LOL  Being it was late at night and my brain works much better in the am, I wasn't thinking clearly of solutions so I Facebook messaged my friend Kathleen over at Projects at the Picketts. I knew she did this successfully with her Silhouette .  As soon as I pushed the send button, I knew what I had to do.

I did a little more research, grabbed  some new tools and fabric and went on to round 4. The solution was pretty simple: I used a new Cricut Cutting Mat and a new blade. When Kathleen replied to my message she mentioned everything I knew, I just wasn't putting the pieces together.  I appreciate her reinforcing some of what I've done correctly and helping to understand  what I needed to do for future tries at cutting fabric with the Cricut. See, the Silhouette has a separate fabric cutting blade, which is smart. The Cricut does not have a separate blade, so I just used a new blade and made it my own separate blade for fabric cutting. I also labeled the new mat to be used for fabric only.

Try # 4 was a success. This is what the design looked like when the Cricut finally did what I knew it could.  You can see the difference between this cut and the image above from the first attempt.

After I carefully removed the lettering from the paper and mat, I put the burlap over the pillow form and placed the design where I wanted it on the pillow. I then secured the design on the burlap by ironing with dry heat.

 After pinning the front to the back with right sides together, I sewed around the pillow using a 1/2" seam allowance. I trimmed the corners, turned the pillow right side out and carefully used a seam ripper to pull out the corners.

I inserted the pillow form and now have a cute decorative burlap pillow.

Imagine the  pillow possibilities with other fabric for other purposes?

Many lessons learned - When cutting fabric with the Cricut:

1.  Use Ultra Heat and Bond Ultra - NO STEAM - It is much stronger than other fabric adhesives.
2. Trim fabric to the same size as the Ultra Heat and Bond.
3.  Do not remove paper before securing it to Cricut mat.
4.  Set aside a Cricut mat to use just for fabric.
4. Follow my own advice about blades used exclusively for fabric - Keep a separate blade only for fabric. I have multiple pairs of shears used just for fabric. Using fabric shears on paper dulls them. Duh!
5. Use a tightly woven fabric. On my first attempt I used a looser weave fabric. I finally used a cotton fabric.
6. Use the  following settings:  Blade =5, Speed = slowest, Pressure = Max

Have you made decorative pillows? Have you used the Cricut to cut fabric? I would love to hear about your experiences.

I have a few more burlap projects in the works. When I get busy and finish them, I'll be sure to share.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Wow! I think that was well worth the struggle. I love the pillow!!