I love having geeky accessories and decor around my house, and I decided to dress up one of my accent chairs with a pillow in the fashion of a blue Rupee from Legend of Zelda. It was a lot easier to make than I thought it was going to be, and it looks pretty darn cool too if I do say so myself.
For this project, you'll need...
- Large sheet of sketchbook paper or butcher paper
- X-acto knife
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Muslin or white cotton fabric
- Blue Rit dye
- Dish gloves or latex gloves
- Big pot
- Stirring spoon
- Sewing machine
- Pillow stuffing
- Iron and ironing board
Step 1: Make the Pattern
The first thing I had to do was make my pattern. I started with a digital mockup, then redrew it on a big sheet of sketchbook paper about 24" tall. I started by folding my paper into quarters so I would have quadrants to make sure everything was even. Then I cut all the pieces apart with the help of a metal ruler and x-acto knife.
Step 2: Get Organized
After I had my pieces, I began to get organized. I determined that I needed four different shades of blue to make my Rupee, and I labeled each piece of the pattern with the color it would eventually need to be. As you can see, 1 is the lightest shade, and 4 is the darkest.
I then consolidated my pattern pieces, and jotted down how many copies I needed of each piece. The pattern will be duplicated on the front and back, so you'll need two copies of each piece. In this case, two of the "3" pieces were actually the same size and shape (top right and bottom right pieces), so I just nixed one of the pieces and made the notation that I would need four copies of that same shape and size in the "3" color.
Step 3: Cut the Fabric
I then cut sections of muslin to prep for dyeing. I cut four sections, and I made sure that each piece would be big enough to accommodate all the pieces for any given pattern color. So any one of the pieces of muslin could fit all of the "4" pieces, or all of the "3"s or "2"s or "1"s. I did this so that, while my fabrics were in a vat of dye, I wouldn't have to worry about trying to fish out the right-sized pieces at the right time. This way, they couldn't possibly get mixed up.
Then iron the fabric so the wrinkles won't be dyed into it.
Step 4: Dye the Fabric
Fill your pot with hot water, adding your dye as it's filling up. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat up high.
Soak your fabric before you add it to the dye pot, it'll absorb the color better if it's already wet. Add your fabric to the pot, stirring occasionally to keep it from clumping together.
To get the different shades of blue, each piece of fabric will need to be left in for a different amount of time. Your results may vary depending on the heat and the dye and the type of fabric you use, but this is how my times ended up breaking down.
1 - I briefly dipped the fabric in the dye for less than five seconds. Even that was pretty dark, so I rinsed it in bleach and water for another ten seconds to lighten it further.
2 - In the dye for 3 minutes.
3 - In the dye for 15 minutes.
4 - In the dye for 35 minutes, and I had to add an extra capful of dye to get it just a squidge darker.
When your fabrics are out of the pot, rinse them in the sink, making sure to wear gloves so you don't stain your hands blue. After you bleach the lightest shade, really rinse out the bleach, you don't want bleachy splotches to show up on any of your other pieces.
Throw the fabric in the washing machine with the dye fixative, then the dryer.
Step 5: Cut the Pieces
Iron out your fabrics to smooth out the wrinkles, then cut out the pattern pieces from their respective fabric colors, including about a 1/4" seam allowance around the pattern. Lay all of your pieces out to make sure they're all in the right places for when you start sewing.
Step 6: Sew It Together
Working one piece at a time, pin and sew the pieces together, with the front of the fabrics facing each other. The animated .gif shows you how the sewing should progress, following the red lines. When you've worked your way all around the Rupee, iron the seams flat, and repeat the process for the other side of the pillow.
Step 7: Then Rip It Open Again
I realized near the end of this process that I didn't want to have my "gap" to turn the pillow inside out on the edge of the pillow. I'm not the world's best when it comes to doing a hidden stitch, and I didn't want it to be super noticeable right on the edge of the pillow. So I picked one of the short sections on one side of the pillow and ripped the stitches out. That way, even if my stitches ended up really horrible (which they didn't, thank goodness!), I could just hide it on the back of the pillow.
Step 8: Sew It All Up
Pin your two complete sides of the Rupee together, front sides facing each other, and stitch all the way around the outside edge. Pull the pillow right-side-out through the gap in the stitching, and iron everything flat. Make sure those edges are crisp!
Step 9: Stuff It
Stuff the pillow full of stuffing until it's as flat or as puffy as you'd like. Keep in mind it will flatten a bit more when the fluff settles, so maybe over-stuff it just a bit.
When it's sufficiently stuffed, stitch the hole up with the best hidden stitch you can muster. Like I said, I'm not very good at it, but even my less-than-exemplary attempt is barely noticeable.
Step 10: Enjoy It!
And with that final hidden stitch, the pillow is done! Put it up on display, cuddle with it at bedtime, or just try desperately to keep your dog from drooling all over it (it's only a matter of time, really). But most of all, enjoy it!