Month: August 2010


Functional Fasteners: How to Add a Zipper | Elysian Studios

Today I am demonstrating how to combine both cording and zippers to complete a pillow ensemble.


Zippers, buttons and snaps all add function to sewn goods, and can be intimidating to apply. However, it is critical that you think about how you will use your sewn piece- time invested in creation should be rewarded with longevity of use! The welting and decorative trim has made the pillows beautiful, and now zippers will make them functional. If you need to wash your pillow covers or change their inserts, simply unzip! No seam ripping or deconstruction involved! First, lets look at how to apply decorative cord. I have cut the body pieces for my pillow to allow for 1″ seams. I am making an 18″ square pillow, so my fabric squares are 20″x20″. When pinning your cording, measure in 1″(or whatever seam allowance you have figured) from the edge of your material to the base of the cord and pin on the right side of the fabric. The visible part of your trim should be on the inside, with the material that will go in the seam toward the edge of your fabric. pinningcord-5031573 This is a simple way to join your cording at the bottom of your pillow piece. Simply leave a “tail” on each side and overlap the two ends of cord. This will be thick to sew through, but if you go slow and help manually roll the machine, this method leaves a clean finish. joiningcord-9355781 Install the zipper foot on your machine, and begin sewing around your cord as close as you can to the edge of the cord itself. I like to start with the point where the two ends meet. sewingcord-4799664 Now we are ready for the zipper! Begin by marking the center and 2″ from each end on both sides of the zipper. This will help make sure everything is lined up. pinningzipper-9101514 You are going to pin the right side of your zipper to the right side of the fabric, and make sure it lines up snugly, as you don’t want to see a lot of zipper cloth or trim selvage when you are finished. This is strange the first time you do it, but just go for it! The cloth around the zipper is very tough, and will withstand a few un-stitchings! pinningzipper2-5750787 Now unzip your zipper, and begin sewing as close as you can to the zipper teeth without hitting them! Your zipper wont work if you have thread in it, and you risk breaking your machine needle (which results in a very annoying trip to the store if you don’t have back-ups!) sewingzipper-7023145 Congratulations! You are halfway there!! Zip up the zipper, and pin the right sides of your pillow pieces together. sewingzipper2-9502940 Next, pin the other side of your zipper to its corresponding side of the fabric as shown in the photo. sewingzipper3-2578912 Leave the zipper pinned, but unpin your pillow pieces and unzip the zipper. Sew the other side of the zipper to its side of the fabric. sewingzipper4-9301172 You did it! Now zip it together until 4″ or so are left open, so you can turn the pillow right-side out when finished. Pin the two right sides of your pillow together, sew from one zipper stop (the little metal bits at the end of the zipper teeth, around the open sides of the pillow to the other zipper stop. Open your zipper the rest of the way, turn your pillow right side out, and stuff it with your insert! completedzippers-1597807


How to Create Your Own Decorative Welting DIY Tutorial | Elysian Studios

This week I am making new decorative pillows for my family room sectional. I have designed my pillows, picked out my fabric and coordinating trims, and have purchased my thread, zippers and pillow forms. I will be making my own welting, sewing decorative cord, and installing zippers for functional ease. Having never done this type of sewing before, I assure you it is easy as long as you have the proper tools and are willing to go slow and pay attention. Once you have tried it, you will never make a boring pillow again!

You will need a sewing machine with a zipper foot (a piping foot is ideal, but I only have a zipper foot, and it works fine), 1/2 yard of coordinating fabric for your welting in addition to the amount required to make the body of your pillow, a straight edge and marker, coordinating thread and welting cord. Welting cord is plain cream cotton, and comes in various sizes. I chose a thicker size that gave me a 1/2″ welt size. I bought my cord at Walmart, so it is very easy to find.


First, you will need to establish the width of fabric you will need to fold over your filler cord. You will need to add at least an inch to the width of your cord so you end up with a selvage, or flange on your welting that will be sewn in the seam of your pillow. I went with 2 inches. Then make lines at a 45 degree angle 2 inches apart on your fabric. Cut your fabric on these lines, creating strips. It is very important that you cut your fabric at this angle, also known as the “bias”, as it allows the welt to stretch and bend around the corners of your piece.


Once your fabric is in strips, begin piecing them together. Line up each section as shown above. This step can get confusing and feels weird at first. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake and then rip it out and try again!


It is helpful to press back your seam allowances here so you can see how to sew the pieces together. Pin your two strips together at the bottom of the folds, where you will be stitching. When you get the two strips laying flat, they should look like this. You will be stitching where the pin is placed. Again, this is the most confusing part of the whole process, but you will get the hang of it!

piecingwelting-3-9456674 seamingwelting-1-1688214

After you have stitched the two strips together, you should see a seam like this. See how imperfect my edges look? It is ok! As long as you have enough width to fold over that fill and leave a selvage so it will hold in the seam of the pillow, you are good to go. Continue to sew your strips together until you have enough length to match the length of your filler cord.


Now you are ready to make this look like welting! Install the zipper foot on your machine (or piping foot if you have one!) Fold your fabric strip over the top of your filler cord and start sewing in a straight line down right next to it. It is very important that you get a tight fight, and sew as close to the cord as possible. You do not want your cord to shift, and you want to give yourself as much of a selvage as possible to work with.


Once you have your welting finished, you can pin it onto the right side of your pillow fabric (I will show you how to do this in more detail on my next post about sewing on cording… the same technique applies). One thing that is unique to welting, however, is how you join the two loose ends together once you have pinned it all the way around your pillow. Once your cord meets up, allow for a bit of overlap, and then take a seam ripper and open up the seam on one side of your welting.


Then you will snip the filler cord at the place where it matches the fill cord on the other side. You don’t want it to have a gap, but you don’t want the cord to overlap and be bulky either, so try to be as precise as you can.


Now you will fold back about 1/2 inch of the welting fabric and wrap it around the other side of the welt, creating a sleeve. Sew as close to this join as possible. It is bulky here, so go slow and manually turn your machine if you need to. It will take a bit to get used to sewing through so many layers of materials!

joiningwelting-3-2718320 joiningwelting-4-3883578

I will show you how to install the zipper in another post, but once you get all of your components of the pillow together, look how great it looks! This is a custom item that can’t be found anywhere but my living room! I encourage you to think about welting as an option to customize your future sewing projects too!



Art Tour: Vail,CO | Elysian Studios

Art Tour: Vail,CO

Categories: Art Tours, Colorado, galleries, landscape, painting, Rocky Mountains, sculpture, travel, Vail

vail-5655934Located in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, our second art tour is in Vail. 100 miles west of Denver, and 30 miles east of Eagle Vail is right in the middle of beautiful! I was amazed at how big the resort is, especially if you visit the new Lionshead village too! lionsheadvillage1-2283686 lionsheadvillage2-7361351 Lionshead village is like a Scandinavian Camelot, and it is over-the-top amazing! Bikers were toodling around the village, shoppers were enjoying the summer sidewalk sales, and those lucky enough to have extra time could sit and people watch over a Starbucks or Haagen-Dazs cone. We made sure to spend time in the Burton store, a snowboarder’s candy shop! Vail’s Central Village lives up to its reputation of a picturesque Colorado ski destination, and in the summer it is bursting with activity. On Sundays from June 20-Sept. 19 you can experience the Art and Farmers’ Market. Hundreds of white tents line the village streets as vendors sell fruit, vegetables, baked goods and delicious food, handmade soaps and lotions, and original art. vailvillage-6560647 vailfarmersmarket-1952736 vailfarmersmarket2-4557699
vailfarmersmarket3-6805350 I found three noteworthy galleries in Vail, and have to commend them all for having fabulous art, incredible gallery space and extremely friendly staff. Masters Gallery at Vail and Vail International Gallery are located next to each other on Meadow Drive in the Central Village.
I met Rayla Kundolf, the Gallery Director, and enjoyed the comfortable gallery atmosphere, that even had chairs to allow viewers to relax and enjoy the pieces. Here are a few I found interesting: naturalismo1-7596674
“Couples Harmony” by Luis Sottil naturalismo2-9014235
“Faithful” by Luis Sottil As a painter, I have always been fascinated by the element of the frame as it relates to the image. I love how this artist incorporates the frame into colorful, whimsical animal imagery. jamesjensen-2919555
“Suite of Nine” by James Jensen, mixed media on canvas

Again, I am intrigued by the space within and around a painting. Here the artist has physically divided the picture plane into nine parts, acknowledging the need for frames, but incorporating them into the imagery of the piece. A simple sphere becomes incredibly dynamic in this work.

At Vail International Gallery, I met Co-Owner Marc LeVarn, who cordially invited me to view an additional part of the gallery I had missed. He was so kind to show me more pieces by featured artist John Taft, and I found a few more delightful works there! I was impressed by the friendly atmosphere of the gallery, where they are clearly passionate about their art. This gallery is a must see! bateswilson-6212601
“Explosion” by Bates Wilson, highway signs and mixed media I love sculpture that you hang on the wall! What fascinates me about this artist is that he can transform something so hard and industrial into something refined and extraordinary. The act of gaining materials once possessed by a government infrastructure and appropriating them for angelic imagery takes the piece to another level all together. carlotrost-9197430
“Foglie Azzure” by Carlo Trost, carved wood
The pieces by this Italian artist are phenomenal. I adore their symmetry, craftsmanship, ingenuity and that little orange leaf that is such an unexpected delight! One aspect that is truly wonderful about these three-dimensional pieces is how necessary it is to see them in person. The way they play with physical space is something that cannot be translated through photography. johntaft-4450531 “Rock Water” by John Taft, oil on canvas
This artist has a solo show at Vail International Gallery now until August 7th. The paintings in the show vividly capture the essence of the Rocky Mountains. Colorado has such breathtaking scenery that only a painting with such luminous color and delicate texture created with an artist’s loving hand can do it justice. The large scale of the paintings invite the viewer to breathe deep and be transported to a place of serenity. vailvillagearts-4517443 We ended our extraordinary adventure in Vail at Vail Village Arts, which is associated with The Vickers Collection I reviewed in my Beaver Creek Art Tour blog post. I had the opportunity to have a friendly discussion again with Kate Pardun, who was busy juggling customers in this bustling gallery. I saw both familiar and new pieces, and enjoyed my time here thoroughly. aaronfritz-2290730
“Keep”, “Run”, and “Heaven”, by Aaron Fritz, oil These are three separate paintings, but look completely harmonious together. I love the saturated color, active brushstrokes, and simple compositions of these pieces. The paint is so lush I can immediately start to smell the linseed oil and turpentine (even though they are dry and have no scent left!) williamdebilzan-6556337 “Such Is” by William DeBilzanThis piece is actually at the Vickers Collection in Beaver Creek, but more of the artists work is at Vail Village Arts, and I have to take the opportunity to showcase it. I love the elongated figures in this artist’s work. The raw textures and layers of paint, color, letters, numbers and shapes are simple yet honestly create a warm emotional reaction from the viewer. img_1100-5056682
“Sunlit Grove” by Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer, fiber painting

I am an active sewer as well as a painter, and I love pieces like this! The artists have taken a traditionally solid material and made it fluid. The craftsmanship of this is remarkable, and yet as you contemplate the seams and stitches, you also are delighted by the little leaves that seem to flutter right before you.

markwhitesculpture-1392461 Kinetic Sculptures, by Mark White, metal

I have to end my journey with these remarkable wind-powered sculptures that gave my travels through both Beaver Creek and Vail whimsical inspiration. I watched children stare at them in wonder, and I was filled with joy at how they shimmered and spun in the breeze.

Art that changes the way our environment feels, changes the way we think and act, and has therefore accomplished its purpose.


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