A new use for window treatments

Well, I (Kristin) broke out my sewing machine for the first time since quilting four (yes, FOUR) blankets for my bridesmaids as thank-you-for-putting-up-with-me gifts in 2007.  I started sewing pillows for our picture window in the living room.

Usually, our picture window is covered in miscellaneous dog beds, like the one seen here:

(Awe, remember when Kasen was that little?)  But neither the window (nor the baby) will look like that again!  I’m going to make custom-sized cushions for Gigi to sit/sleep on in the window.  That should keep it looking neater.

I’ll be using fabric that used to be in our bedroom as window treatments:

(This picture was taken before we moved in, so that is not our furniture.  And our room looks completely different now with new paint and no textured ceiling!)

The colors (green and gold) really complement the colors in the living room so we thought that would be a good use for the fabric.  We will have enough leftover fabric – unless I screw up the cushions – to make some pillows too.

My plan was to buy some cushion foam from JoAnn fabrics, wrap it with the fabric from the window treatments, and add a rope detail along the edges.

My first step was to cut the foam.

I think the sales rep at JoAnn fabrics used a saws-all, but (1) we don’t have one and (2) Krister was convinced that it would not work.  So, I tried cutting it with a hand saw.  That left me with a really rough/not-straight edge:

So, I scoured the internet for alternatives and quickly discovered that an electric knife would work.  Fortunately, we have one so I could it try out.  (Thanks Angelo & Cathy!)  It worked marvelously:

The window has a few different angles/edges, but I managed to cut it to size.  I ran into a few small issues along the way though.  First, the foam I bought it too tall and hits the knob where we open the window (we have no solution to this issue besides hope that it works well enough).  Second, the foam is too small to go all the way across the window, so we’re going to make two cushions.

By the time the foam was cut, it looked like this:

Look at my pretty painted toes – no, I’m not referring to the pink toenail polish, but Benjamin Moore’s White Chocolate that dripped on my foot when I was painting something in the bedroom.

So, all that’s left is the covering.  That was interesting….  my sewing skills are not great in the first place, and it has been half-a-decade since I last used my sewing machine.

First, I cut one piece of fabric to the size of the foam plus 1 inch on all sides.  I just placed my foam on the fabric and outlined it with white chalk.  I cut it with a rolling knife (love that thing – I relied on it a lot when I was quilting regularly).  Then, I pinned the rope to the fabric (to the same side of the fabric that I want to see when the cover is complete).  I pinned the whole thing inside-out, while it was on the foam, so I could be sure I was sewing it to the right size.

You can really see how beautiful the fabric is in that picture.  Next, I sewed the fabric to the roping.  The roping has about an inch of ribbon that you sew to the cushion on the inside, leaving the rope on the outside.  The trick with the rope is that you basically sandwich the ribbon between the top and bottom pieces of cushion fabric.

This is how the partially-finished cushion looks loosely draped on top of the foam:

You can see some of the ribbon where I hadn’t sewed the rope yet (because I added a zipper there) on the far right side of the cushion.

I thought the rest of this project was conceptually pretty difficult.  My primary problem with the sewing is that the cushion really has corners and I have NO idea how I’m supposed to sew the corners.   I also added a zipper on the left side so that we could remove the fabric if Kasen or Gigi made a mess of it (although the fabric is dry-clean only, so I hope they don’t).  The zipper was tricky too since I’d never done a zipper before.  I basically just winged it.  I put the partially-completed cover on the cushion inside out and pinned it (tightly).  I shimmied the fabric off, carefully so I didn’t prick myself or lose any pins.  Then I sewed the fabric together and hoped it would fit.

Good news, it fit!  Here’s how (half of) the final product looked in the window:

It’s far from perfect, but it doesn’t look half bad.  And Gigi approves:

I’m going to hold off on putting the second cushion together until the new year, since we have too many holidays to manage between now and then, but we’re happy (enough) with how the first one looks, especially given how hard it was to make!

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