Monday, September 30, 2013

Quick-Stitch Pillow: PASS

I am a slow sewer. Not slow as in Slow Sewing, where one takes time to savor the experience of creating a well-made project. I'm slow as in so. dang. slow. Half-remembering an inspirational quote about learning taking place outside of one's comfort zone, I registered for Craftsy's "Quick-Stitch, the Challenge" at this weekend's American Sewing Expo. When only two of us showed up to compete, I dragged Mom (aka Slakerella for you Ravelry folk) and Mom W (aka my mother-in-law) into the contest at the last minute.

The lead judge announced our challenge and let us loose on tables of assorted fabric, notions, and trims.  She said ours was the easiest assignment yet: make a pillow cover for a 12-inch form. GO!

I have to admit I breathed a sigh of relief when she said, "pillow cover." I've made lots of these, though never quickly and never without a hitch. I found fabric I loved right away, but knew I had to combine it with something to make an interesting entry. Most of the choices were floral prints, not great foils for this African pattern. I spent 10 precious minutes wandering around trying to put together a winning combination.

Inspiration struck when I spotted some pre-cut denim rectangles and looked down at my denim mini. I half-remembered another inspirational quote and decided to "sew what you know." The frayed edge denim pillow was born.

I set my alarm to go off every 15 minutes. Each time it sounded, I got a little more jumpy. I felt an old anxiety creep in that I hadn't experienced since college exams.

When the judges started the 10-second countdown, I still had one seam to complete. Fortunately, I could sew this on the right side (aka outside) of the pillow cover because of the frayed denim design. I cut the last thread right as the countdown hit zero. Yikes!

The judges liked all of our work, and one offered to take my pillow home if I didn't want it. But the clear winner was my mother-in-law. She's creative, precise, and sews every day. Not only was her pillow cover beautifully designed and well-pressed, but she also inserted a zipper, and finished with time to add embellishments. Way to go, Mom W!

Mom said the pressure was too much like work (she's a pastry chef who regularly makes the impossible happen in short order). Mom W didn't seem to mind. Once the adrenaline stopped coursing, I realized I had a great time. (The free Craftsy class I received for participating didn't hurt.) I'll definitely try it again next year if they'll take me.

Have you ever entered a sewing contest? Did you like challenge of creating quickly? Or did the pressure outweigh the fun?


  1. I love your pillow design, but I have always been a fan of denim. It was really nice to meet you last weekend at the blogger meet up. I have been looking through your blog and some of your "fails" look amazingly good to me. My favorites out of all are the Raglan Sleeve Dress and the Ram Button Up. So glad I found your blog.

    1. Hi, Anna! It was great to meet you, too. Maybe I'll offer up some of those fails as a giveaway. Not all of them are inherently awful. :)

      I've subscribed to your blog and am looking forward to your next posts!