Pillow Fight

Not really.

But, we were hiding from the miserable heat this weekend (real heat, it was 100+ this weekend) in our air conditioned house and were very very bored. Josh hasn’t sewn a whole lot in quite awhile, because he’s been preoccupied with printing on fabric, wood and anything else that will hold still (so far, the dog’s managed to avoid any customization). Since we’ve been sitting around watching the Olympics as well as season 5 of The Wire on DVD, we noticed that our couch isn’t exactly that cushioned. Nor does it look that cool and/or interesting. In fact, it may very well be the most boring thing in our house.

On a related (not really) note, it seems that each summer we become obsessed with some variety of bird of prey. This summer, it’s been the osprey (seahawks) that migrate up to these parts — particularly around the Columbia River, to which we live pretty darn close. In fact, we even saw an osprey right outside our office window one afternoon. We saw them nesting along the river when we drove up the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River. We’ve also seen them over by the Ikea near the airport.

Which leads us back to the topic at hand.

Armed with some very cheap red cotton fabric from Ikea, some even cheaper pillow forms from that same establishment and a dream (ha!), we came up with a pretty bad-ass concept: The Osprey Pillow. What better way to commemorate summer with some sewing, screenprinting and a comfy place to nap and/or watch t.v.?

Fortunately, we have the most awesome book of silhouettes ever, Neubauwelt. And in it was The Osprey. Josh traced it out onto freezer paper and cut it out into a stencil. This was the first time that Josh had screenprinted using a non-photo emulsion technique (yes, we’re aware that normal people usually stencil first, then maybe some drawing fluid and then start with the photo emulsion –but Josh usually does things backwards, so it makes sense). We will be reviewing the new book, Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin soon, but we used her stencil-making techniques to create this stencil. Also, Josh got a bunch of helpful encouragement in trying out the stencil method of screenprinting from Rachel when we got together when she and her husband were here in Portland (and via Twitter).

Sarah cut out the red fabric into four 21″ x 21″ squares (after checking the Ikea website for the dimensions of their pillow covers, which were 20 3/8″ x 20 3/8″ — no sewing math necessary here!).

The first print turned out so great that we decided to print on both sides of the pillows. We used a Jacquard brand screenprinting ink that is a very lovely gold color. This was first time we’d used this brand of ink, and it is far superior to the Speedball stuff that we normally use. (We got it at Art Media, and it was slightly more expensive than we usually pay. However, because you are supposed to thin it with water, it’s probably worth the price.) The stencil method definitely yields a different result than the photo emulsion technique, but results in a really blocky, dramatic print.

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Then, on Sunday afternoon, Josh sewed three sides together and then got the brilliant idea to use an invisible zipper so that we could easily launder the pillow covers. (We have dog, and sometimes she, uh, “submits” the pillows and then drags them around the house.) So, since Josh has never really had the occasion to install an invisible zipper, Josh had to call in the “big guns” (Sarah) to assist with the zippers. Which would have been a whole hell of a lot easier to do before the three other sides were sewn up. But, oh well. That’s life.

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Fun, fun, fun and what an easy project. And the couch looks a whole lot more interesting now.

And, the new pillows probably help delay Josh making some sort of crazy attempt to screenprint the actual couch…


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4 thoughts on “Pillow Fight

  1. HOORAY! I am still floored by the idea that Josh *started* with photo emulsion. Wow! These stencils are awesome! I love osprey – so freaking cool! And I love seeing your joint effort.

    Now if only I could come over and hang out on the couch…. sigh!

    sorry we left some Texas heat up there after our visit! ;)

  2. Very bold and striking! How cool to combine these skills and make something personal and unique. I think I need the big guns to come to Austin to help me sort out the invisible zippers for my fall dresses!

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin | Sewer-Sewist

  4. Pingback: This & That: Catching Up | Sewer-Sewist

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