26 January 2012

cathedral windows

This is my favorite project of 2011. A pillow. A cathedral windows pillow. A pillow made with my sister.

My sister came out for a '4 day weekend' - a gift from her husband - over Easter weekend 2011. (She says it was more like a 6 day weekend, but I'm not counting the 2 traveling days.) It was the best 4 days ever. We made projects. Four lovely days of trips to the fabric store, cutting, sewing, changing plans part way through projects, more fabric shopping, ironing, burning fingers on the iron, talking, shopping, a little bit of running, and lots of fun.  We even finished all of the projects we started. (okay, we talked about more projects - but 'talked about projects' don't count.)

I'll have to post the HUGE swim bag she made. But this post is about the cathedral windows pillow. B and I have fallen in love with this pattern. We found a couple of tutorials on-line. Some looked hard, some looked a little less hard, and none of them felt right. Then B found it. A tutorial written by an engineer. 'Charming Windows' tutorial on Moda Bake Shop. Engineers appreciate tutorials written by other engineers.  It tells you where you have to be perfect, and where you can be a little less than perfect - with beautiful results.

We started out with 20 10.5" squares of white fabric and started ironing.  Two hours later, we had squares - and a couple of owie fingers.  (Yes, it really does take 2 hours to fold and iron the squares.  Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with slushies, popcorn, and a girl movie.)

The squares were sewed together - 9 squares per pillow. (We had two extras to choose between.) Now we had to pick the fabric. I had some charm packs of Kate Spain's 'Central Park' and Sanae's 'Arcadia'. We decided to go with 'Arcadia' and picked 12 fabrics.    B is way better at picking fabrics, so I just followed her lead.  Here's B's pillow laid out.

My pillow. 

We traded off pinning fabric in place and sewing.

Full windows are sewn.

1/2 windows added and sewn.

At this point we visited every fabric store and debated what fabric to use for the boarder and backing.  We tried every color combination that we could find that was contained in the fabrics.  Orange, yellow, greens, blues, browns.  Solids and prints.  We disliked all of them and hated a few. :)  Then we tried Kona charcoal.  I have no idea why the charcoal works.  There is no grey/charcoal in the prints.  The charcoal just works. 

The back has a zipper flap.  Tutorial found from 'House on Hill Road' zipper in your pillow tutorial.
It takes careful reading, but it works perfectly!

A beautiful pillow from a pretty perfect weekend.


  1. looks awesome!!!
    the weekend sounds great!
    I don't think I will ever have the talent or time to make such a pillow!!! I have a new appreciation for such projects - good job!!!!

  2. I just had to laugh a little.... You're so careful not to have names anywhere, then there's the running widget on the side with your name right there.... :) Have a great day!