So. . . . it turns out Improv isn’t just for quilting and comedy anymore! Those of us who stitch can jump on the Improv train and enjoy the creative ride, too. And, if you’re a Tim Holtz fan, you’re going to love this fabulous Stitches and Lace Improv Pillow created by a Paula Cheney, a very creative lady on Tim’s team!
The Tim Holtz Elclectic Elements collection was designed for Coats with personal, artistic sewing and quilting in mind. This fabulous pillow expresses the unlimited joy of combining Tim’s collection with lace, trim and linen fabrics. And, I love the way the new Coats Eclectic Elements Craft Thread adds just the right finish to this awesome Linen and Lace Improv Pillow design.
To create your own version of this wonderful pillow, start by choosing the fabric from one of his Eclectic Elements collections you want to use in your design. His new Correspondence collection has many options. Our Improv Pillow sample uses bits of Tim’s French Script fabric in Neutral (center, above)l, but there are so many possibilities in the collection. Click here to pre-shop for your choice. You’ll also want to decide on a base fabric – textured linen, muslin or whatever you’d like.
Now that you have an Eclectic Elements fabric chosen, gather a palette of bits and scraps of linen, muslin, lace and trims you love. Consider both “rough” and “smooth” trims and fabrics – it’s a key to giving your design interest. Head to a table where you can spread out your pieces and begin to design.
The excitement of Improv is that there’s no pattern, just your own imagination dancing around the possibilities! The true secret to creating a successful Improv Pillow is . . . don’t over plan! If you’re used to following a detailed pattern this will seem hard, but shake that off and enjoy the journey.
Cut your palette materials into squares and rectangles of various sizes and start to play with abandon. Lay them next to each other, overlapped, upside down or sideways until your design delights you. No perfectionism here, just play and grin!
When you’re pleased with your layout, pin each piece to your base fabric. You may want to leave some of the base showing as part of the design. Now that your pieces are pinned, you’re ready for the next bit of excitement – stitching! Both black and red Eclectic Elements Craft Threads are used in the pillow made by Tim’s staff. You may want to use all one color, two or more than that. I totally love that the Craft Threads conveniently come in boxed sets of four colors, so you have loads of possibilities. Click here to see the collection.
I received a few spools of Eclectic Elements Craft Thread to try out and I quickly fell in LOVE with this thread! It’s a very uniquely heavy, 6 weight hand stitching thread with a marvelous glace finish. Use a #22 Chenille needle or #3 or 4 Embroidery needle and you’ll find the eye quite easy to thread. You can see my practice piece above. My head is spinning with ideas for this colorfast thread! Keep your stitches simple like our sample, or use more decorative stitches if you like. Just be sure to make them big and bold. I do love the simplicity of the running stitch and ladder stitch used on the sample pillow. It adds just the right accent without detracting from the fabrics that were used.
Are you ready? I sure am! Once you’ve made an Improv Pillow, you’ll want to make more . . . and more. It’s an addictive art and the new Eclectic Elements Craft Threads are an amazing pairing with Coats Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements fabric collection. Click here to see all the pieces of Tim’s collection and enjoy!
About the Author
Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community. Follow Annette and more of her sewing adventures on her own blog, www.sewfullife.com.