Today is post 6 in our blog series featuring Sew Cuddly, by Judy Gauthier. Judy is a Shannon Fabrics Brand Ambassador and owner of Bungalow Quilting. This cozy comfy blog series features lush plush projects from the book. Today, we're sharing this luxurious Luxe Cuddle® reading pillow made by Shannon Fabrics Ambassador, Alice Borge.
Hi! My name is Alice Borge and I am a Brand Ambassador for Shannon Fabrics. I'm based in Phoenix, AZ and I've taught classes at local quilt shops and shows. For more information on the Shannon Fabrics Brand Ambassadors and Education Program, click here. The Ambassadors were asked to have fun with the book’s projects. Full disclosure: I love sewing with Cuddle! I chose the Reading Pillow project because I like watching quilting videos in bed in addition to reading. I was looking for something that would prevent my usual cricked neck. This fit the bill and it turned out great! The pillow only requires 1½ yards of your favorite Cuddle® fabric, stuffing, and your usual sewing supplies, along with the book, Sew Cuddly. Let’s get started!!!
- Sew Cuddly book by Judy Gauthier
- 1½ yards Shannon Fabrics Cuddle®, Luxe Cuddle, or Faux Fur
- Fairfield World Dry fiber fill Ideal for doll making (I used almost six 10-ounce bags)
- Sewing machine with Walking Foot
- Size 90 Jersey Needle (I used a SCHMETZ)
- 50-weight Polyester Thread (I use Superior Threads So Fine #50/3ply)
- Pattern weights
- Computer, printer, plenty of paper, and scotch tape
- Flower Head pins
- Clover Wonder Clips®
- Usual sewing supplies
For my fabric, I chose the brand new Luxe Cuddle Angora Platinum. It is pretty fabulous! Any time you are working with Cuddle, there are a few things to take into account:
Make sure you are using the right needle. Needles are like shoes; while you can wear high heels for a marathon, you would be much better off with great running shoes. Because Cuddle is a knit, you should use a needle designed for knits. So far, we have not entered rocket science territory!
Knits tend to be a bit creepy (wriggly, not scary) and because Luxe is nice and thick, a walking foot makes your sewing experience really enjoyable. Since we are sewing because we love it, put your gadgets and knowledge to your advantage.
Luxe Cuddle is polyester, so use a good all-purpose polyester thread. There are many wonderful brands available, so use your favorite. I use Superior So Fine 50 weight/3 ply.
You can absolutely use any kind of stuffing, but I have recently fallen in love with Fairfield’s dry stuffing. It is readily available and the stuffed item really keeps its shape. I love using it for dolls and stuffies. I didn’t want this reading pillow to be squishy like I would want a regular pillow to be. I wanted it to be firm. I used almost 6 complete 10 oz. bags of Fairfield’s amazing Dry Polyester Packing Fiber Fill.
Isn’t the fabric pretty? I think I am going to have to order more for a two-sided blanket! Have you made one yet? You can find the pattern in the book.
It looks like it may be time to buy some new needles!!!
Time for another disclosure: I am old school -- I am not a fan of downloading patterns. I have a true love for unwrapping tissue paper patterns and preparing them for my next creation. Life has changed and today, downloading patterns is the new thing. Maybe I don’t love them because I am not terribly confident with my computer skills. That said, the process is really easy. The book contains a code to access the patterns. Make sure when you go to print your pattern that you are printing single-sided and actual size. Make sure you don’t have scaling activated. I printed my patterns and was having difficulty tiling the pieces until I realized I was missing half of them because I had printed two-sided. What a silly mistake! I ended up wasting paper and ink and I just hate that!
The pattern print-out also provides a 1-inch box to confirm, by measuring, that everything is scaled correctly. I must admit that my box was slightly smaller (ever so slightly) than 1 inch. Since it was a pillow, it wasn’t going to matter, but if I were making a garment or something that needed precise sizing, this would be the point where I would have phoned a friend, but I just went with it. You’ve seen the finished product. Everything worked out great in the end!
Normally, when cutting out Luxe Cuddle, I would have the hairy side to the inside if doubled, or right side facing down on the cutting mat if cutting single sided. Place pattern pieces as instructed and trace around the pattern shape with a marker. I usually use a black, blue, or silver Sharpee (depending on the fabric backing color). Then, I take a simple box cutter and cut the shape out only cutting the backing. This greatly reduces the “fur monster explosion.” Trust me, it works really well!
With the Luxe Cuddle Angora Platinum, the striping was very distinct and I wanted to make sure that my front and back pieces lined up nicely. That meant laying out the fabric in a single layer, fur side up. I placed the pattern pieces, holding them in place with pattern weights and pins and went to town with my scissors/rotary cutter. I had a bit of mess, but my vacuum was handy and it was a quick clean-up. Also, remember when I said my pattern was slightly smaller? I compensated by cutting the pieces out about a half-inch bigger all the way around.
When cutting Cuddle or Luxe Cuddle on your cutting mat, make sure you have a wet wash cloth or magic eraser nearby. When you are done cutting out your fabric, give your cutting mat a good wipe with the damp cloth and all those whiskers will be cleaned away. To minimize the mess during handling and construction, take that same damp wash cloth (or get a new one if you used a magic eraser) and toss the pieces along with that damp cloth into the dryer. Let it spin on Air Dry for about 10 minutes. All those hairs will end up in your lint catcher and not all over your sewing room, and YOU!!! Yetis are not required for pillow assembly. Also, if using a magic eraser, make sure you use the original, plain kind, without any cleaning chemicals embedded. Recently, I accidentally used an all-white bathroom cleaning eraser (that had the cleaner in it) to clean my iron, and it set off the fire alarm. You don’t want these cleaning chemicals on your nice cutting mat!
Assembly for the pillow is quite easy and the project went together quicker than I anticipated. I did cut my gusset wider than the instructions because I wanted my pillow to have fatter arms. I used a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Pin aggressively. Lengthen your stitch length. Use your walking foot. Judy’s instructions are excellent. Any time you are sewing two pieces of Cuddle or Luxe Cuddle together, pin with two parallel rows of pins. As you sew, you will pull out the row of pins near the edge while the second row of pins will prevent the fabric from moving or creeping.
It is coming together:
Remember, pins are your friends!
Quicker than a bunny, you will have a reading pillow shell. Turn it inside out for some magic:
Time for stuffing. Be sure to fluff the fiber fill. Don’t shove clumps into your pillow or your pillow will be clumpy. Fluff and then stuff. You will need more stuffing than you think – you don’t want a saggy pillow! When you think you are done, step away. Try to leave it, perhaps overnight, to give the stuffing time to settle. When you return, more than likely, you will need to add more stuffing.
Time to sew the stuffing opening closed. Wonder Clips do a great job holding the front and back sections together. I have tried pins and, let’s just say, I went in search of band aids. I have always disliked sewing openings closed by hand. No matter how good my ladder stitch, it seems in the past with traditional woven cotton fabric, my stitches have shown or my thread breaks from pulling too tightly. I love working with Cuddle and Luxe Cuddle because my stitches just sink into the pile. The closure always looks nice.
**For Quilt and Fabric Shops: if you are interested in creating or kitting any of the projects as in the book or as seen in the blog series, please comment on the post and we will email you a list of all the fabrics used!**
If you make something from this book be sure to tag #SewCuddlySewAlong.
Happy Stitching and Happy Reading!
Don’t forget to check out our previous posts, see links below, for more fun projects.
- February 1- Intro/ Interview: Emilee Masson with Judy Gauthier
- February 11- Hatchlings: Emilee Masson
- February 15- Hatchlings: April Blazevic Woodside
- February 18- Animals Hats: Naomi Williams Stewart
- February 22- Animals Hats- Cat Hat: Pat Burke
- February 25- Reading Pillow: Alice Borge (YOU ARE HERE)
- March 1- Reading Pillow: Karen Fuchs
- March 4- Reading Pillow: Rachel Elkinson Ring
- March 8- Reading Pillow: Barbara Crom
- March 11- Poncho: Susan Hastings
- March 18- Bath Mat: Linda Lingner
- March 22- Bath Mat: Bobbie Norby
- March 25- Sleep Sack: Emilee Masson
- March 29- Sleep Sack: April Blazevic Woodside
- April 1- Colorful Floor Pillow: Teresa Coates
- April 5- Colorful Floor Pillow: Pamela O'Neill