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Patchwork Pillow Sham Sew Along Part 5: Finishing your Sham

I cant believe we have reached the end of our Sew Along guys! I have had so much fun doing this for you all and hope you learnt some new quilting tips throughout the series. I feel a bit like a proud mum every time any of you shares a pic of your progress in the group and I think it means i might have caught the teaching bug. I have a few more tutorials planned and am starting to work on a group quiltalong too – by group consensus everyone is keen to learn to make a rag quilt piccolo style so  that will be our first major project to tackle. Stay tuned for more details of that over the coming weeks.

You have all done the hard work to this point from selecting your fabrics, cutting and laying out, piecing your tops and then quilting them. By comparison our final steps will be really simple and quite quick too. We are going to back and finish off our shams using an envelope back and French seam, a lovely clean way to finish off seams with all the mess and raw edges well hidden. So lets get started!

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First we need to trim our quilted top. First give it a good iron if it has been a few days since you picked it up (honestly it is only with quilts my iron ever gets used and then I am a maniac about it lol) and lay it down on your cutting board. Using your rotary cutter and ruler line up your edges one at a time and trim. If you don’t have a rotary cutter then carefully trim with scissors. You can measure and rule before you cut if you like however I find that so long as instructions are followed to this point your top should be lovely and square and therefore easy to trim.

Quilty tip: If you are using a rotary cutter and cutting mat I strongly suggest turning your mat over to the other side before you cut. The wadding can really damage the surface of your board.

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Take your backing fabric and lay it down flat on your board. Place your patchwork on top and make sure that your fabric is wider than the sham length ways. It also needs to be the full width of fabric (44″ or 112cm) in order to work. Set your top aside for now.

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Fold your fabric in half widthways (selvage to selvage) and cut in half using scissors. I iron mine flat so I get a lovely straight seam.

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Next we are going to create a seam on both of our back pieces. I like to draw mine out so that I am sure I get the most even edge, if this is not your style then please do it the way you prefer. Again there is no correct way to do this and you should always do what you feel comfortable with. If you are going to draw the lines on your fabric as I do then there are a number of different tools you can use including fabric chalk, air erasable markers, fabric pencils or heat erasable like the Pilot Frixion Pens. The frixion pens are my favorites although be prepared that they can leave a faint line behind even once you iron them out of the fabric. I love that they are readibly accessible to purchase and you can usually grab them in the stationery section of your local supermarket.

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Using a ruler measure and draw a line 3/4″ from the edge of your fabric.

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Head over to the ironing board and iron in your first fold. You are going to bring the edge of your fabric up to the drawn line and then iron the whole way along the edge.

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Now fold it up one more time and press again. Repeat with the other half of your fabric so you have 2 pieces with a folded hem and one end.

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Head to the sewing machine and  stitch your seam down. I line my presser foot up to the edge of my fabric and use that as my guide. Stitch the seam down on the other piece as well.

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Take your quilted top and lay it face down on the table.

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Taking one of your back pieces place it face up on top of your quilted top approximately 12″ from the left. I use the quilting line to make sure it is nice and straight.

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Lay your second backing piece on top creating an overlap of 6-7″. Make sure it is straight.

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Place a couple of pins along the edge of the second piece making sure it goes through all 3 layers.

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Very carefully flip your pieces over so that your top is now face up and the backing is face down. Everything should be facing right side out, as it will look when the sham is finished.

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Pin around the outside of the top, especially at the places where the two tops overlap. This will keep them flat and stop them folding over or buckling when you stitch.

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Set your needle to the furthest position to the right it can go (on my Janome that is a stitch with of 7.0). Line up your presser foot to the edge of your patchwork top and stitch around the outside removing pins as you go. Take extra care at corners and over the overlapped back pieces to keep everything flat. I like to keep my top flat and apply a small amount of pressure to keep it quite tight as I sew around as this helps to minimise puckers.

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Carefully trim around the outside of your sham, removing all excess backing fabric and clip corners.
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Your sham should look like this at this stage.

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Turn the entire sham inside out and push out your corners with a chopstick. Iron carefully making sure the seams are properly flat and even. Pin around the  edges again if you choose, I find that I don’t need to so long as everything is properly ironed.

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Set your seams back to the middle and stitch back around the outside of your sham. I sew from the back to make sure my envelope closure stays nice and flat and doesn’t get caught. When you are stitching you should be able to feel the bulk of the first seam to the right of your first needle at all times. This is what will properly hide the raw edges and create a perfect French seam.

Turn your completed sham the right way out again, carefully pushing out your corners with chopsticks. Iron  your seams again carefully making sure everything is flat and even. If you have any stray threads showing through carefully trim or pull them out. If you have raw edges showing you will need to turn the sham inside out again and restitch further away from the line. Once done your top will look like this:

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And your back like this:

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And your inside like this:

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You are now ready to put your pillow inside, be amazed at your work and take lots of photos to post in our group for me to see! I stole a pillow off Cooper’s bed for mine and have decided it now must live on the couch with my Sugar Swirl quilt. So far he hasn’t noticed it is missing lol.

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And we are done! I really hope you guys enjoyed yourselves and are proud of what you have achieved. As an incentive to finish I have decided to offer up a couple of random prizes for all shams completed by the 30th August. I will do a round up blog post then hopefully sharing lots of lovely pictures off your work and announcing my winners.

The prizes are as follows:

Winner 1 will receive a copy of the latest issue of One Thimble, an amazing digital sewing magazine and a curated selection of 4.5″ squares from my own fabric collection so you can make another sham to show me.

Winner 2 will receive a Piccolo Studio pdf pattern of their choice and a curated selection of 4.5″ squares from my personal collection.

Winner 3 will receive a curated selection of 4.5″ squares from my personal collection.

You can share in our Facebook group or on social media using the tag #patchworkpillowshamsewalong – tag me pretty please so I definitely see it too!

Thanks so much everyone – I have had so much fun! I hope we can all do this again very soon.

Sarah xx

The Patchwork Pillow Sham tutorial has run over 3 weeks and is now finished!

Sunday 5 August ~ Tools for quilting and Fabric Selections
Wednesday 8 August ~ Cutting and laying out your top
Sunday 12 August ~ Piecing your quilt top
Wednesday 15 August ~ Pinning and Quilting your top
Sunday 18 August ~ Finishing off your quilted sham

 

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