Clamshell Pile Pillow Tutorial
You asked for it, you got it—Enjoy!
Well, I started here, and wound up, well, with an actual pillow! With that said, let the tutorialing begin!
1: Choose your fabrics: You'll need 3 solid gradation colors (I used 3 teals), and a variety of coordinating prints. This was a fabric challenge, so I used the prints I was given from Jay McCarroll's "Habit" line of fabric. Bee-you-teeful.
2. Cut a 14"-long strip from each of the 3 gradated fabrics. The widths can vary based on what you have lying around and which fabric you like the most; just make sure that once they are sewn together the block will be 14" across (or can be cut down to 14"). Sew the strips together and cut down to a 14" square. Sweet.
3. Cut out a clamshell template from template plastic or cardboard. It's easy to draw: Make a right angle; each leg of the angle should measure 2.5" long. Then connect the two ends of the angle with a curve. Cut it out on the lines.
4. Dudes, seriously, spray starch is the best. I recommend Best Press, or a brand that is specifically for quilting. You don't have to wash this stuff out, and it won't attract bugs. Spray starch and press your prints really well. They should be crispy.
5. Trace the clamshell template onto the back of each print four times and cut on the lines. After you cut out the shape, fuse a small piece of double-sided fusible web into the center of each. You don't need to fuse the whole thing unless you really want to. Go ahead and remove the paper backing before you start arranging them. Trust me.
6. You will need about 24 clamshells. Arrange them, overlapping one row onto the next, working from the center to the corner. Then, put your big ole' iron on 'em and fuse 'em in place.
(Hint: I'd highly recommend laying this all out to start with on your ironing board so you don't have to transfer this big pile of loose fabric after you've gotten it the way you want. I learned this the hard way.)
7. Place a slightly larger piece of batting underneath the fused top. Now, quilt it! Be sure to stitch through each shell a few times. They'll fray around the edges, but that's cool. Right? Anthropology-esque.
8. Trim the pillow top down to 13.5" square.
9. For the backing, cut a 13.5" x 16.5" rectangle.
11. Cut a second rectangle that measures 13.5" x 9". Fold one short end under twice about 1/4" each time to create a narrow hem. Topstitch this edge in place.
12. Place the narrow-hemmed rectangle right sides together with the pillow top, aligning the top edge of the pillow with the short raw edge of the rectangle.
13. Place the wide-hemmed rectangle on top of the pillow top and the narrow backing piece, aligning the bottom of the pillow with the backing rectangle's raw edge.
14. Pin all around the edges, and then stitch around all four sides using 1/2" seam. No need to leave a turning hole. Backstitch at the corners and where the backing sections overlap.
15. Clip the corners as shown, being careful not to cut the stitches.
16. Turn the pillow through the opening in the back, stuff with a 14" pillow form, and you're done! Loverly!!!!