Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No sew image transfer pillow { inexpensive DIY pillow }

I've wanted to do a pillow transfer for quite some time now, but I was feeling paralyzed looking at all of the transfer methods out there.  A good entry level transfer for me was the Avery printable transfer sheets.  My second dilemma is that my sewing machine is buried in my basement; so I needed a no sew option to make a quick pillow for a friend's birthday.

Unless you have a huge craft stash, you're going to need to buy some supplies.  I used canvas fabric from IKEA, a pillow form / old pillow, Avery light fabric transfers, iron on fusible webbing tape, your computer & printer, an iron, assorted ribbon / trim, and pins.....whew, breathe!

As far as images go, there are lots of free ones out there and in the public domain.  Pick an image you like and edit it or resize it however you'd like in your graphics program.  FLIP the transfer image in your program and print it on your ink jet printer.  Trim the excess paper up to the image, leaving at most 1/8" margins.

I use Avery's transfers for light fabric (product #3271 so there's no confusion).  I've used them successfully on t-shirts, canvas bags, and pillow covers.   This product allows you print with your inkjet printer and iron the transfer on light fabric.  If you're using dark fabric, Avery makes a transfer for dark fabrics, and it's usually sold right next to the light fabric transfers.  I've purchased my transfer sheets at Staples and Wal-Mart.

I got my 12"x16" pillow form from Joann Fabrics (with a 1/2 off coupon!).  You could just as easily use an existing pillow you don't like or find one at the thrift shop.

My fabric was a lightweight cotton canvas.  I'm usually very precise with my measurements, but I totally eyeballed this one and it turned out okay, so I was thrilled.  My pillow was 12"x16" so I put a 1" seam allowance around all the edges, so my front piece was 14"x18".  (Tip: you may want to iron down your 1" allowances before you involve the fusible tape, it will make your edges more crisp and easier to work with).  I folded each edge over 1", and sandwiched the fusible web inside, ironing the seams down according to the directions. I then put my transfer face down and ironed it on to the center of the pillow cover.

For the back, I wanted my pieces to overlap so I needed a few more inches on the horizontal sides.  My two back pieces measured 11" wide by 14" high each.  Again, I ironed a 1" seam allowance using fusible tape.  Finally I lined up my front and back pieces (bad sides touching), ran another line of fusible tape around all the edges and ironed them together.  The back should have a nice overlap now.

Now it's time to add your trim.  I pinned both my fusible tape and my trim down framing the image.  Use the edge of your iron to iron down the trim.  Work carefully, especially if you have rayon trim.

Carefully insert your pillow form, and voila!  You're done!

This post took me longer than it took to do this project, although I regret I didn't take more pictures in process.  I've started to write a more comprehensive post about image transfer techniques and will be posting that shortly.  There are so many ways to transfer an image (some are washable / some aren't; some involve chemicals / others don't, etc.) that I've spent a while trying to navigate that monster, and I'll share my tips in another post.

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