Woven fabric pillow cover for my sewing chair

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!Both at the same time, a couple of my online sewing buddies discovered and shared with me a beautiful woven fabric basket, made entirely from carefully cut and folded fabric strips.  Terry Ann from Atkinson Designs shared how she made some woven baskets from pre-cut strips and immediately we all said – we’ve got to do something with that idea!

I’m mostly all about sewing clothes, and the technique didn’t really immediately lend itself to clothing, but an idea did spring to mind.  For some time, I’ve been meaning to sew a small cushion for my sewing chair.  When I sit for a while, with the one leg extended and hunched for hours over my sewing projects, I do get some back ache and wanted to sew a small pillow to go behind me as I sew.

Immediately, this seemed the perfect idea.  It would be lovely to create a pillow that showcased some of the fabrics I had used over the past 12 months, and use up some of those scraps I had left around which were too small to do much with.  At the moment, I feel I’m doing things in reverse!  Maybe when you start to sew, you start out with a pillow project, yet here I am having never made one.  I winged it and it all came out just perfectly!

Making a woven fabric pillow

I started with the fabric strips.  I didn’t have the luxury of the pre-cut strips so I had to get out my mat and rotary cutter and make my own.  I had only cut a couple at 2.5 inches wide, and was pressing them and getting all hot and steamy, when it occurred to me there had to be a better and faster way.

Only earlier this month I shared about my learning experiences with making continuous bias tape and using the Clover bias tape gizmo.  Now if I just cut the strips at 2 inches wide they would fit the tape maker and I’d have them pressed into shape in no time!  No need for bias, I just cut some 2 inches strips on the straight grain, fed them through the tape maker and pressed as they came out to make perfect 1 inch fabric strips with nice neat edges.  Voila!

I made a total of 28 strips.

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!

Now to weave them onto a fabric backing. I had a remnant piece of some nice sturdy thick white cotton and I fused on a large square of Heat N Bond Ultrahold.  I roughly laid out my vertical strips and then starting at the bottom right, I wove in a horizontal strip.

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!For each horizontal strip I wove in, I fired up my iron and pressed the strip across, fusing the alternate pieces to the backing fabric using the Heat N Bond.  Another row, fuse again.  Repeat, then repeat again.  I had been worried it would all get out of shape, but by using the bias making tool, I had nice straight even strips and it kept its square shape perfectly.

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!

Eventually all of the strips were woven in and fused and I turned it over and ironed from the back to make sure everything was held in place.  I didn’t want it all to come loose and floppy later on.

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!

Then another new lesson for me – I made piping!  I don’t know why I’ve been putting this off – it really wasn’t hard at all.  I had some bias tape hanging around (about 100 yards of it because I got all carried away with the bias tool earlier this month), and I use some spare washing line cord from the kitchen drawer.  I basted the piping around the edge of the pillow, trying to keep fairly square to the edges I had woven.

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!

A simple overlapping envelope finish for the back, first one side, then the other.  I trimmed, clipped, overcast the edges and turned.

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!

Oooh, it’s lovely!  Pop in my pillow form and its done.  I tried it out right away and it feels just the right size for my lower back and should add some much needed comfort for my marathon sewing sessions.

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!

Woven fabric pillow made from weaving strips of folded fabric. Great scrap buster and so pretty too!

Got some fabric scraps?  Certainly give this project a try.

Fabric weaving, zipper pouch.

Becky from Patchwork Posse made her panel into this cute zipper pouch. I love the open weave she has used that really showcases all of the strips and the way it is woven together.

1974599_757723924261239_112486441_nHeather from the Sewing Loft used her fabric weaving to create something both practical and beautiful.  Take a look at her lovely pincushion. The purple and green is a really eye-catching combo.

This technique can be time consuming, but use one of those bias tape makers to speed it up and its a good use of your odds and ends of fabric.

What ideas do you have for how you might create and use a panel made from woven fabric strips?

Authored by: Deby at So Sew Easy

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22 Responses to Woven fabric pillow cover for my sewing chair

  1. Debby says:

    Love the woven pillow. Good way to use up scraps!

  2. Linda Neil says:

    Like this idea a lot !!!

  3. Trisha Hyde says:

    Thanks for the great idea!

  4. Monica bauschard says:

    I am going to finish my project I am working on and headed to my material bins for material and going to make a gift of this cushion – great idea

  5. cecil balansag says:

    its amazing!now I have idea to make it,thanks a lot.

  6. Anne says:

    Beautiful! And the Heat n Bond to fuse it all down is so smart!! I’ve linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-woven-fabric-pillow-cover/2014/03/05/ –Anne

  7. Marilyn Dunn says:

    I’d like to try this. Very clever. Can see I need to buy one of these bias tape strip makers. Where are they available? Are any of them better than others?

  8. Love your woven cushion, Deby!!! Only this week I saw a woven fabric basket and I have to try the technique… not sure what on yet.

  9. ValliM says:

    Hi, New to your site, looks really good. My Mom is, was, an amazing seamstress. She mad her first dress at 7 and made my 2 sisters and my wedding dresses, all the wedding party and also her own dress for our weddings. She is 86 now and livding in Florida but hopes to move up here soon. I am a busy work-at-home but I am anxious to work on my sewing skills. Looking forward to all you can help me with.

  10. Ellen R says:

    This is a great idea for all those scraps! I’m thinking it would be fun to use plain fabrics and use decorative stitches on the edges of each strip. There must be enough variety of stitches for a different one on each row! This project will have to wait until I complete the three quilts I already have in process. :-(

  11. vanesseva says:

    I bought a bias strip maker years ago and have never used it…well, I’m going to try it now doing this…thanks!

  12. Lieve says:

    I have seen the paper woven stuff but this is just lovely! I will keep my remnants from now on in spite of my husband’s pleas ;-)

  13. Vernagrace says:

    I like how you made sure nothing would move around by using the Heat n Bond. The cushion turned out lovely. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Deby Coles says:

      I as worried it would all end up to loose and floppy unless I held at least some of it in place. Now I don’t have to worry that I am going to catch one of the weaves and have it all pull out of shape. Thanks for leaving a comment.

  14. Elaine says:

    Never thought of using the bias tape maker for the straight tape..I’ve had some for years and hadn’t used them. Two great ideas in one blog!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Thanks Elaine. It was only after I had well and truly steamed my fingers and got bored with all the folding and pressing of fabric strips that I thought of this much quicker and easier way!

  15. Sarah says:

    This is awesome! I can’t wait to make one! Thank you! I am going to pin it too!

  16. Gladys says:

    Beautiful! Referred to this technique as “Meshwork” and I knew its origin as a Japanese. You can search for it as well on the web and you will find many tasks and data. I did a few years ago a few panels with silk ribbons for gift and the result really liked everyone. I have pending test some ideas and you made that I remember it! A hug!

  17. Karen says:

    Great idea and I love the end result. When my Dad passed away I saved some of his ties and have been looking for ideas for a quilt. I’m not sure how the ties would work for the weaving. Any ideas?

    • Deby Coles says:

      Sorry to hear about your Dad, but what a nice thing to keep in his memory. Of course they are an irregular shape on the front, but the long thin parts on the narrow end could work without having to take them apart perhaps. Then the front parts could be alternated and sewn together for a different project. I’ve seen some really nice handbags made with ties.

  18. THANK YOU FOR SHARING! We are always looking for fun new projects and this one is great. You did a wonderful job of explaining for those of us who need visual as well! ;)

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