The Post Formerly Known as the Rosette Pillow Tutorial- or When DIY Goes Wrong

DIY Rosette Pillow- at your own risk.

I love DIY. I get moments where I just cruise the pages of craft blogs, looking for inspiration, filing away ideas.  I’ve been noticing a lot of rosettes on purses, shirts, you name it.  So I filed away a few rosette instructionals.  At some point in me internet wanderings (that me was a typo but I thought it sounded cute), I came across this gorgeous pillow from Viva Terre.

Viva Terra Wedding Dress Pillow

Seeing that it was made of recycled wedding dress scraps, I immediately thought of the roll of fabric I found when cleaning out the storage room at my old work.  The roll had seemed beyond hope; the outer layers had a stain from from where the tape used to fasten it had disintegrated. But when I unwound it, I found pretty unspoiled fabric inside.  Old fabric in my study… rosette tutorials… a need for new pillows… the pieces snapped together into something I hoped to present for your crafty entertainment.

Unfortunately, I came to realize that to actually make this pillow, you might be a bit mad- the crazy kind, not the angry kind, although if you are lacking in patience it might make you both. You see, making this pillow took an awfully long time.  A ridiculously long time. Months, really.  The only reason I ever finished this pillow is because I sort of enjoyed twirling little rosettes around my fingers while doing other things, like watching television.  At least at first I did.

Another caveat I must mention is that although I was initially thrilled with the eco-friendliness of this project (reusing old fabric!), I soon came to realize that burning synthetic fabrics not only gave me a headache, but is also not really good for indoor air quality, or the general health of anybody anywhere.  I burned the fabric outside, which was not really fun or safe on windy days. Maybe I would try it again with a natural fabric, but it would take some testing to see if any of them would burn the right way for the desired effect.

Droopy Roses

Sewing the rosettes on the pillow wasn’t a thrill either.  They drooped. I had to go back and attach the top half just to defy gravity. It took forever to do two rows and, getting bored, I left the pillow on the couch.  I came home the next day to find my beautiful flowers squished… by man or dog, we’ll never know.  What I do know is that the pretty pillow designed to add a bit of style to my couch suddenly got reassigned to the much safer bed. And I decided that the two rows of flowers looked just fine.  Unfortunately, I might have to add more flowers later- it seems the exposed canvas picks up dog hair.

In other words this is my one and only fabric rose pillow, and I hope it lasts a really long time, but even that is doubtful since I won’t even attempt to put it in the washer.

I kinda wish I’d splurged on the Viva Terre pillow.  Did I mention it went on sale?

I’ll even postulate that sometimes it’s better to let the pros handle it.  This is not the first time my DIY eyes were bigger than my stomach.  Once, I tried to make my own underwear.  Hours of frustration for $5 panties? Not worth it in my opinion.

I also wish I had gone out and bought the heavy duty stretcher bars for my last painting instead of trying to make my own.  Then maybe I could  have spent that day painting, instead of Kevin & I both spending the day putting together a frame.  Of course if I’d done that I wouldn’t have learned about miter boxes, and assembling a good corner.  I’m sure that skill will come in handy in the future.

So, maybe it’s not so easy to measure the exact costs and benefits of a particular project.  In the end I think each DIY project is a personal choice. You have the final say in whether the cost to time ratio is worth it for you. It’s a bit like raising children, you’ve got to pick and choose your battles.

Now, (drumroll please), if after all that you must wonder how I made the Rosette Pillow, here is my advice.  Use a cotton duck fabric, or other home decor fabric to make the pillow.  I love the organic cotton duck fabric on  Don’t do what I did: cut 2 pieces (the front & back) to the size of your pillow. Sew them right side together, leaving one side for the zipper at the bottom. Attach the zipper.  Yes, I made it up as I went along & my zipper looks WEIRD.  I warned you; this is an un-tutorial!  After I finished my pillow I did find this awesome looking tutorial on installing a invisible zipper in a pillow which I will be using next time. (But first I’ll need a trip to the store for  an invisible zipper foot!)  If you don’t have an invisible zipper foot, that’s okay.  There’s a tutorial on how to make a zippered throw pillows here.  When the pillow is done, stuff the pillow form in it.  Then, open the zipper & sew the flowers on one at a time, in lines across the pillow.  You are sticking your hand into the pillow to pull the thread through without sewing into the pillow form. This allows you to see how the flowers are lining up.

I used 12 fabric roses made following this tutorial (thanks Duhbee- I am so grateful to her for this tutorial, because these flowers really are so pretty.  If you are clever you might follow the link to her Etsy page & just buy the roses pre-made), a zipper, 1/2 yard organic duck cotton fabric (or any medium-heavy duty home decor fabric), 16″ Pillow form- I like the one I bought on much better than the non-woven ones at the fabric/craft store-better quality and similar price. For the roses, make sure you get the thread through the center piece of the rose, so the middle doesn’t work its way out later. (lesson learned)

BTW, don’t even think of doing this if you have issues with fire, or are not capable of handling the task responsibly.

Good luck.  And how about you? Any DIY projects you wish you’d just passed on? Or others that turned out miraculously well?

UPDATE:  Well, for all my moaning and groaning, my pillow has the prime position on my bed and you know what?  I don’t care that much about some droopy flowers. Is this because some time has passed and I don’t really recall all the pain of making the pillow? Probably- so you’ve been warned.  But I can’t help thinking it looks pretty, and really adds something to the room.  Happy ending after all.

Will it ever be done or stop drooping?


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One thought on “The Post Formerly Known as the Rosette Pillow Tutorial- or When DIY Goes Wrong

  1. Pingback: DIY Wedding Invitation Postcards | Inspirations and Explorations

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