January 20, 2012

"Pillow Fight!!!!!!"

     So, it is still pretty cold here and I am still mostly doing indoor crafts (the papermaking has been saved for days where my hands won't freeze as I splash water everywhere in the garage).  Also, with Christmas came presents and one of my presents this year was a Slice machine! Basically, it is a die cut machine like a Cricut, which allows you to cut out different shapes and sizes depending on what design cards you have. I am really excited to start incorporating this into my cards as well as any new paper (or fabric) oriented crafts I do in the future.
Finished products, laid out like a plushy arsenal, ready for play
     Another fun project I am working on has to do with my friend Jordan. She asked me to create some pillows that would be more fun in a pillow fight, like a light-saber pillow, grenade pillow, nun chuck pillows, etc. I immediately jumped on the chance to try this new project out not only because it was a great idea, but also because it would allow me to use another fun toy I acquired recently, a YUDU machine. This is an all-in-one screen printing machine and so far I have had not only great fun, but great success using it.

      I have always loved screen printing, from the very basic technique I learned in middle school to the advanced technique I learned in college. This machine is somewhere in between because while you don't have to stretch your own screens or apply emulsion in a darkroom, you still have to create a design, print to a transparency, and expose your design before you can begin printing. If you don't have much screen printing experience, you might not know what the heck I am talking about, but just trust me when I say that it is like magic when your image finally appears on a t-shirt (or whatever else you are printing on).
      Anyway, back to the "weapon" pillows for my friend Jordan's cousins. They are both boys, so they will have a great time attacking each other with these soft, kid-friendly toys. I have to admit, I have had great fun testing them out as well!
During the stuffing process: All of the original sewing has been done, I just needed to stuff and sew the seam shut. The nunchucks have been stuffed and sewn shut; the throwing star is stuffed, but not sewn; and all the rest have not been stuffed.
  • Screen printing capabilities (or the ability to draw well with fabric paint)
  • fabric ink
  • fabric (I tried both a muslin cotton as well as a fleecier cotton fabric, in white)
  • sewing machine and thread
  • serger (optional)
  • needle and thread
  • stuffing + a hard rod to make stuffing more firm and easier on yourself
How To:

1.  Create a design for your pillows (my weapons ended up being a set of nunchucks, a short sword, a grenade, a lightsaber, a throwing star, and personalized shields, but I also toyed around with ideas for a battle axe and some other weapons.) I designed mine using a basic paint program, but you could also download a black and white outline off the internet. My brother harped on me for not using Illustrator to create my designs for the weapons, but my method worked fine!

2.  Go through the steps to set up a screen in order to print OR create a template to trace onto the pillows. MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE A SEAM ALLOWANCE on either side of your template (I didn't and it made my life a bit of a nightmare trying to sort out)

3.  Print onto the fabric either by screen printing OR trace an outline in pencil and draw over it with a fabric pen or ink.

4.  Cut out your designs, leaving ample room for a seam allowance.

5.  Sew around the edges of the weapons, one by one, making sure to leave a small opening so that you can stuff your pillows with fluff. Considering how much hard use these pillows are going to see, it might not be a bad idea to serge around the edge as well, in order to lock your stitches in place.

6.  Stuff your pillows. You can use a rod/dowel tool to help you stuff your pillows so that they are more firm. I lost mine for a couple of days and was using a hot glue stick; my light-saber ended up floppy, which was embarrassing. I had to take the stuffing out and do it again with my wooden dowel rod.

This lightsaber has been stuffed, using the dowel rod method, but it hasn't yet been hand-stitched shut.
Here is the lightsaber with the stuffing hole sewn shut (say ooh and ahh over my whip stitching abilities)
7.  Hand stitch the small opening closed and then pick an opponent and then challenge them to a  FIGHT TO THE DEATH, metaphorically of course. Have fun!

My next craft will be looking to incorporate both of these fun new machines into one project!

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