Beautiful Blues

Bring the light of summer skies indoors with these airy blues.


Bleached Blooms

+ enlarge image Bring style to the outdoors withthese comfy cushions.

Spilling bleach on fabric usually spells disaster, but not here. The free-spirited flowers on this pillow come courtesy of rubber stamps and string dipped in bleach. Piles of tiny blue and white beads secured with glue, form each bloom's center, while smaller groupings embellish the rest of the pillow.

The ruffle, which softens the boxy build, masquerades as a coordinating fabric. But look again: It's actually the same blue linen bleached in a criss-cross pattern using a small artist's brush.

What You Need:

+ enlarge image Decorate with bleach for a fun, fresh look.
  • 1 yard of blue fabric
  • Liquid bleach
  • String
  • Artist's brushes
  • 2-1/2-inch-diameter flower rubber stamp
  • 10-inch block-shape pillow form or polyester fiberfill
  • Seed beads
  • Fabric glue

Instructions:

  1. From the blue fabric, cut six 11-inch squares and enough 4-inch-wide strips to measure 125 inches.
  2. Use the flower rubber stamp to stamp liquid bleach onto the 11-inch fabric squares for the pillow top, bottom, and sides. Refer to the image above for ideas, adding stems, dots, and stripes as desired with string and artist's brushes. Create a crisscross effect on the 4-inch-wide strips using a small artist's brush to make the lines. Thoroughly rinse fabric with water when the desired color has been reached. Let dry; press.
  3. Sew together the short ends of the 4-inch-wide strips to make one long piece. Cut the piece in half, creating strips for the top and bottom ruffles of pillow.
  4. Sew together the short ends of one strip, forming a circle. Press ruffle in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Machine-baste through both layers 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch from raw edge. Pin ruffle to pillow top, aligning raw edges and pulling threads to gather ruffle to fit the square. Sew ruffle to pillow top. Repeat with second strip for ruffle on pillow bottom.
  5. Sew together the side edges of the remaining four squares to form the sides of a cube. Pin the sides to the pillow bottom, positioning the seams at the corners and sandwiching the ruffle between layers; sew. Repeat with the pillow top, leaving a large opening on one edge. Turn right side out. Insert pillow form or stuff with polyester fiberfill; hand-sew opening closed. Glue seed beads to center of flowers and on dots.
+ enlarge image This soft silky pillow is a simple yet effective statement.

A silky blue pillow peeks from a sheer overlay that's casually held in place with shell buttons. The effect is subtle, simple, and dramatic.

What You Need:

  • Two 19-inch fabric squares
  • One 21 x 39-inch rectangle of sheer fabric
  • 18-inch-square pillow form
  • Eight large buttons

Instructions:

  1. Sew the two 19-inch squares of fabric together, leaving an opening. Turn right side out. Insert pillow form; hand-sew opening closed.
  2. With wrong sides together and using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, sew together the 21-inch edges of the sheer rectangle. Turn wrong side out; press. To enclosed raw edge, sew a scant 3/8 inch from the 1/4-inch stitching line.
  3. Turn right side out. To hem, press under 3/4 inch twice on each raw edge, edgestitch in place. Slip sheer wrap over pillow. Sew two buttons evenly spaced on each front and back hemmed edge, sewing through to the pillow.
+ enlarge image These tiny flowers add a delicate touch to your pillow.

Like flowers pressed between sheets of waxed paper, silk petals float in the flange of this organza overlay. A slit on the overlay back cleverly accommodates the silk pillow for change-with-the-season ease.

What You Need:

  • Two 13 x 23-inch rectangles of blue fabric
  • Two 2-1/2 x 30-1/2-inch rectangles of sheer fabric
  • 12 x 22-inch pillow form or polyester fiberfill
  • Silk flower petal sections
  • Fabric glue
  • 2-1/2 yards of 1/4-inch-wide white ribbon

Instructions:

  1. For the pillow front, sew the outline of a 2-1/2 x 7-1/2-inch rectangle, centered, on one 13 x 23-inch rectangle; machine-sew to divide the outlined rectangle into three 2-1/2-inch squares. Sew the 13 x 23-inch rectangles together, leaving an opening. Turn right side out. Insert pillow form or stuff with polyester fiberfill; hand-sew opening closed. Center and glue a petal section on each 2-1/2-inch square.
  2. For the back opening of outer cover, cut a 14-inch slit down the center of one 20-1/2 x 30-1/2-inch sheer rectangle. Narrowly hem edges of slit. With 1/4-inch seam allowances and wrong sides together, sew the two sheer rectangles together along all edges. Turn wrong side out; press. To enclosed raw edges, sew a scant 3/8 inch from the 1/4-inch stitching line. Turn right side out.
  3. Referring to the image above, place flower petal sections along one edge inside the sheer cover. Sew 3-3/4 inches from edge. Continue placing petals and sewing around all edges of sheer cover. For ties, cut six 15-inch lengths of 1/4-inch-wide ribbon. Sew pairs of ribbons evenly spaced on the edges of back opening; make a knot 1 inch from end of each tie. Insert the blue pillow; tie ribbons into bows.
+ enlarge image The buttons add sparkle to your cheerful pillow.

A judicious mix of solid-color and patterned fabrics, ribbons, and buttons work in tandem to add depth and dimension to an oversize pillow.

Barely-there sheer overlays add hazy allure to several fabric sections, while velvet and patterned ribbon in varying widths help pick up the pace. For texture, shell buttons in a variety of shapes add cute-as-a-button personality.

What You Need:

  • 21-inch-long strips of three to six coordinating fabrics in various widths
  • 21-inch square of fabric (for pillow back)
  • 21-inch lengths of coordinating ribbons (enough to cover seams between fabrics)
  • Assorted buttons (we used 70)
  • 20-inch-square pillow form

Instructions:

  1. For pillow front, sew together the 21-inch edges of fabric strips to make a 21-inch square. Press seam allowances open. Center a ribbon length over seams you wish to cover; sew in place.
  2. Sew pillow front to pillow back, leaving an opening for turning. Turn right side out. Sew buttons along seams or on ribbons as desired. Insert pillow form; hand-sew opening closed.
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