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Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper + sewing machine

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

My friend K.C. MacQueen asked me to be an artist for the second annual Pritzker School Community Art Project: “Birdhouses.” Artists create a birdhouse for display in local Wicker Park stores. Home Tweet Home graced the front store window at Stitch boutique in Bucktown for two weeks before being auctioned off.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

I’m more of a fabric than a hammer type of girl so decided to make a pillow. And you’re going to flip when you see my tissue paper tracing sewing machine embroidery technique. It opens up so many possibilities!

The birdhouse pillow was inspired by a wrinkly 1969 vintage linen calendar from my extensive collection (I’m a junkie).

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

I traced the birdhouse onto tissue paper, lengthened the pole and pinned it to the front of 100% wool felt.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Then I sewed through the tissue paper onto the wool using colorful teal, light blue and yellow thread …and tore away the tissue paper to reveal the sewn image.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

I added a handwritten “tweet” detail in orange using the same technique.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

I’m excited about devising this tissue paper technique on my own – even though others may have already uncovered it. I dislike fabric ink pens especially on nice fabric because it never really full disappears. And you have to freehand draw right the first time.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

In contrast my tisssue paper method makes it much easier to keep drawing on paper until you get it right …or trace a reference piece like I did for this project …and sew your embroidery just right.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

I closed the pillow with turquoise grosgrain ribbon zipper detailing that became a happy accident that I love.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Here it is close up. The pillow insert contains down feathers, naturally 🙂

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Using tissue paper and your sewing machine is a super fun way to adorn pillows, aprons, totes, dresses …you name it. So get out your Sharpies and sewing machines and get to it!

WANNA MAKE IT? Free template, supply list and DIY step-by-step instructions for creating my embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine after the jump –>

Merriment :: Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine tutorial and pattern template craft project by Kathy Beymer for Merriment Design Merriment :: Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine tutorial and pattern template craft project by Kathy Beymer for Merriment Design Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine tutorial and pattern template craft project by Kathy Beymer for Merriment Design
Merriment :: Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine tutorial and pattern template craft project by Kathy Beymer for Merriment Design Merriment :: Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine tutorial and pattern template craft project by Kathy Beymer for Merriment Design Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine tutorial and pattern template craft project by Kathy Beymer for Merriment Design

Supplies:

Please post a comment below if you use this project so I can smile when I see that it’s being used. Craft and pass it on!

Cut fabric pattern pieces and embroider birdhouse
Cut two wool rectangles 13″ x 17″ each. Also cut two rectangles from the sew-in interfacing 13″ x 17″ each. Sew interfacing onto the wrong side of the wool sewing close to the edges.

Print my free birdhouse pattern template. Remember not to “fit to page” when you print. Place a piece of tissue paper on top of your printout and trace with a colored Sharpie pen that matches the color you’ll be sewing (I didn’t do this; I used black at first. Keep reading below to see how the “tweet” was much easier when I used a colored Sharpie). Test it first to make sure that the pressure you’re using will not bleed onto what you’re tracing.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Pin the tissue paper tracing in place. Remember to leave 1/2″ for your seams when positioning your pattern.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Sew using colored thread using the double stitch setting on your sewing machine. Or if you don’t have a double stitch setting you can stitch once and then stitch again on top of it if you’d like the stitching to be more prominent.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Carefully peel away the tissue paper to reveal the stitching.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine  free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by  Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Clean up any stubborn tissue bits using a needle. Use a bit of water for stuck pieces. Here’s where in hindsight I recommend using a colored Sharpie that matches the thread color you’ll be using in case you miss any tiny bits.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Embroider the hole in the birdhouse by sewing in a circle using a double stitch until the entire area is filled in with thread.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Add “Tweet”
Cut out the “tweet” template …or do what I did …just write “tweet” on a piece of paper until you like it. Then trace onto tissue paper using a Sharpie pen that’s the same general color as your thread (I learned after using a black marker above that a colored Sharpie will be more forgiving).

Pin the tissue paper “tweet” onto the pillow.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Sew using a double stitch setting on your sewing machine. Sew the longest continuous line possible at at time.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Carefully pull away the tissue paper. See how using a colored Sharpie pen makes this step even easier? And again you can always use a needle and water to get out any stubborn tissue bits.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Your finished “tweet” will look like so:

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Add grosgrain ribbon zipper detailing
This started as an idea to bind the pillow with grosgrain ribbon on all four sides. It morphed into something better. Oh, happy accidents!

Cut two pieces of grosgrain ribbon to fit across the width of your pillow. Pin one to the bottom edge of your front piece.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Sew very close to the edge on both sides of the ribbon.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Repeat on the back side with the other cut ribbon.

Put your zipper centered face down on the right side of your pillow back. Line up the outside zipper edge with the pillow edge. Pin.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Sew using a zipper foot very close to the zipper teeth.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Line up and pin the other side of your zipper to the right side of your pillow front.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Sew using your zipper foot close to the zipper teeth.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Attach the front and back
With right sides together line up your pillow front and back. Sew the right side of your grosgrain zipper detailing 2 inches and backstitch; I backstitch here back and forth a lot so the stitches won’t pull when zipping/unzipping. Repeat on the left side.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Unzip your zipper if you haven’t already; otherwise you’ll sew the pillow shut! Continue around the pillow, stitching the side and top seams using 1/2″ seam. Ensure your edges are even; I tend to avoid pins when I can but that’s your call.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Turn the pillow right side out.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

Stuff the pillow using a down pillow insert. Zip closed.

Embroidered birdhouse pillow using tissue paper and sewing machine free DIY tutorial and pattern craft project for Merriment Design by Kathy Beymer at MerrimentDesign.com

COPYRIGHT NOTE: You’re more than welcome to use this idea and project instructions for personal use. Contact me for any commercial use – this includes etsy sellers.

Please post a comment below if you use this project so I can smile when I see that it’s being used. Craft and pass it on!

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joan

Sunday 5th of September 2010

i love that ribbon detail! i'm actually about to sew some pillows for my couch and that's exactly the kind of detailed contrast to the fabric that i'm looking for. thanks!

Jennie

Sunday 15th of August 2010

I loved looking at all of your creative projects - you are talented! The velcro blanket is a brilliant idea I may have to try and make. Looking forward to more posts - Happy Birthday (in 45 min.)!

Kirsten

Sunday 15th of August 2010

Hi! I discovered your site last night and spent ages bookmarking pages!

I love that you can adjust and play with the picture until you get it just right...

I AM more of a hammer girl, but think it is great that you can think out of the box- and the "tweet" make it perfect! Thanks for all the ideas!

Kirsten

Sunday 15th of August 2010

I discovered your site just last night and wandered around bookmarking pages like crazy! You write so well, and I love that you can draw anything and fix it up before you sew it! And, it's great to see that someone has my antique collecting habit as well. I love the birdhouse and the 'tweet' just makes it the best!! I AM more of a hammer girl, but I like that you were able to think so outside the box :) Thanks for all the ideas.

Skeeter

Sunday 8th of August 2010

What a nice tutorial, very good. I will have to try this. I am following y0u on Facebook and twitter, have retweeted too! What a fabulous prize it would be, a box of velcro, I use a lot of velcro in various crafts. I don't know what we did before we had velcro!!!

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