Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to Make a Ribbon Pillow with Fusible Tape

I don't hate sewing, but I don't love it either.  I love having the option to make things the way I want them without paying someone else, and I love the pride I feel when I do a good job making something.  Plus, I'm obsessed with beautiful fabric, so ready-made and store bought aren't always my favorite options.  But if there is a better or more efficient way to do something, I'm all for it.

Recently I made a pillow for Rachel's nursery (which I really will show you soon, I promise!), and I wanted to trim it with ribbon, but I didn't want to stitch every ribbon on separately.

When I made the curtains for the nursery, I trimmed them with ribbon and sewed each piece of ribbon on with zigzag stitches.  It wasn't hard, and it was a good option for a single piece of ribbon on each panel.  But to use multiple pieces of ribbon that needed to be perfectly equidistant, I didn't trust my sewing skills.

So I got out my trusty fusible tape.  If you can't sew well, this stuff is your best friend.  You can use it to re-hem a pair of pants, fix seams, and more.  It comes in different widths, and for this project a wider width would have been extremely useful.  But I had this box on hand, so I made it work.  (By the way, I bought this years ago, so the price may not be accurate anymore.)

First I cut two pieces of fabric to the size and width I wanted it.  Then I figured out how to lay down the ribbons on one of the pieces of fabric, and I trimmed them to the right length.

Now here is where you should trust my experience.  Fusible tape is supposed to adhere gently to fabric until you iron it down.  It doesn't.  At least in my experience, it doesn't.  It moves and slides and drives you crazy if you don't get it just where you want it.  For this reason, I pin mine in place:

It's really hard to see, but this is the tape pinned to the wrong side of the ribbon.  I have the pins on the other side so I can pull them out later.  Here is a picture of the right side:

I had to do two strips of fusible tape for each ribbon, but if you buy your tape in a width to match your ribbon, you'll be able to do half the work.

Next, I laid the ribbon in place on the fabric, and pinned it down.  I did my pins in the opposite direction, so I would know which pins were which.

Once the ribbon was pinned onto the fabric, I gently removed all of the pins holding my fusible tape in place, and just left the pins that were holding the ribbon to the fabric.  I knew the tape wouldn't slide around too much once it was sandwiched between the fabric and the ribbon.

By the way, I do one ribbon at a time, so I can make sure that they are perfectly equidistant.  Having a pattern on the fabric really helped with this so I didn't have to measure.

Next, starting in the center of the ribbon, I removed the pins one at a time and ironed the ribbon down.  It is important to start in the middle and work your way out a section at a time because the tape will stretch and contract as it melts.  You don't want to start in different places and have the ribbon pucker.

One step I did not take, that I would recommend, is to pull your fabric taught (don't go crazy, but make it nice and flat) and pin it to the ironing board before starting to iron.  Because my ribbons are taught and my fabric is not, I got minor fabric puckering.  It isn't really a big deal because the stuffing in the pillow made it less noticeable in the end, but next time I'd do this part differently.

After you have all of your ribbon "glued" down, you make your pillow like you normally would, by sewing right sides together.   Even if you don't have a sewing machine, you could do this by hand.

One other thing I learned from this particular pillow is to take into consideration the stuffing when placing your ribbons.  When I stitched everything together and put in the stuffing, the bottom ribbon got lost at this bottom. I compensated by stuffing the pillow less than I normally would, but I could have avoided this in the first place by moving everything up an inch or so.

In the end, we got a perfectly-coordinated, very-customized pillow that was just the ticket for one of the spaces in the baby's room.  I can't wait to show it to you in its new home instead of on my boring chair!

Have you used fusible tape for a project in your home?  I'd love to see it!!


  1. Melissa, I lied about going to bed. I saw you had a post and had to read it. I just want you to know that I have never heard of fusible tape. The end. Now I am going to bed.

  2. This is so great!! I love all of the pics.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...