Thursday, January 29, 2015

Traditional Mexican Textile Pillow Project

There are a lot of changes going on around here at BeBe Babies, and because of that, I just haven't found the time to sit down and write.  I am hoping as things are settling down, to be able to start writing again more regularly.  But before I can go into all that, I need to get a few more things in order.  So today I would like to share with you a project I am finally getting around to starting.

As you know I have another shop on Etsy called Mexican Fabric and Fashion.  It is really starting to pick up speed and I'm hopeful that the original vision for the shop will be reality very soon.  However, I'm still finding it challenging to manage two completely different shops.  I don't make anything really for the fabric shop, so the issue really isn't finding time to make things, but I do do all the advertising and internet "stuff".  I have tried to teach my boyfriend how to do some of this but what I've realized is that the knowledge I have acquired over the last 10 or so years is not something you can teach overnight.  So for now the advertising is left up to me.

This week I finished up a couple big BeBe Baby wholesale orders and decided it was time to work on a project I that has been sidelined for quite some time.

Mexico is a vibrant place full of colors and textiles that will delight any fabric lover or crafter.  I adore vibrant colors and absolutely love the textiles here (which is why Mexican Fabric and Fashion was born in the first place).  Recently, while searching for supplies for the fabric shop, I found a couple pieces that I wanted to keep for myself to make pillows out of.

The one on the left is a traditional embroidered textile by the native people in the state of Oaxaca.  I was able to find it in a little market closer to where I live.  I hope to someday soon make a trip to Oaxaca to buy more of these for the shop.  I just love them.

The one on the right was made by a native lady in my town.  I love the bright colors, they are almost neon.  I bought coordinating colors of Cambaya fabric, like those we sell in our shop, to be the backs.

Now the first thing you need to know about Cambaya is that it is a woven fabric, and it frays very easily.  The first pillows I ever made were coming apart after very little use.  Here is one of them.

You must use an iron-on fusible backing in order to protect the fabric from fraying.  The type that I use here in Mexico is sold by the meter.  There is a rough side of the fabric and a smooth side.  The rough side is the "glue" side.  You put that against the fabric and iron the smooth side.  The glue adheres to all the fibers making the fabric permanently fused together.  Since using this method all my projects with Cambaya haven't shown any fraying even with vigorous use.

Here is how my fabric looks after ironing on the fusible fabric.

I decided to start with the piece from Oaxaca because I like it so much.  Now, because these pieces are handmade, they are not always perfectly square.  Because of this I decided to sew the piece to the Cambaya to form a perfectly square border.

Here the Cambaya has been trimmed into a straight border.

Now you just have to sew it to another piece of Cambaya that has also been backed with the fusible lining.  Don't worry about the wrikles, they won't effect the final product.

I use about a half inch seam allowance.

Leave an opening for stuffing that is big enough to get your hand in, because it makes life so much easier.  Then turn and stuff your pillow!

Close with a ladder stitch.

And you're done!  You can always make these into pillow covers as well.  I don't think it's necessary for throw pillows, so I do it this way because it's faster.  Just remember to gently spot clean with a mild detergent.

Now I will be doing the other one!  I'll be sure to show you how that one comes out too.  If you are interested in making your own pillows from our textiles, visit our Etsy shop.  We have a few similar pieces available and more coming soon.  Or you can even buy them as finished cushion covers which were made by my boyfriend's Mom.  Check them out!