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Customizing Ready-Mades

I have to admit, over the past five years, I’ve become a bit of a “custom-made” snob–custom window treatments, custom bedding, custom upholstery, custom everything. I will use ready-made items only if I have to, and when it comes to window treatments, I generally just refuse outright. Once you’ve dealt with gorgeous fully-lined, interlined, professionally-made window treatments, it’s really hard to buy some narrow, poorly-cut, lined-with-the-absolute-cheapest-thinnest-cotton-ever drapery panel off the shelf at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

But in the event that I DO have to use ready-mades, I generally like to customize them a bit: add some pinch pleats to a flat drapery panel, sew some trim on the edge of a drapery panel, etc. Just a little something to make it look not so “off the shelf”.

That was the case with the quilted pillow shams I used in J & A’s bedroom. I bought plain quilted white shams from Marshall’s, but I wanted to add a little something to beef them up a bit, make them unique, and to tie them in with the gorgeous linen bedskirt, so I added a ruffled edge.


I’m so please with how they turned out, but interestingly, I think adding this detail to a ready-made was probably harder than just making one from scratch. Oh well, I definitely saved money. Here’s how I did it.

First I measured around the perimeter of the pillow sham, and then doubled that number and added 20 inches. I cut a linen strip that length and 6″ wide. Then I sewed the ends together to make one continuous strip, and folded it in half along the width all the way around. Then on the raw edges, I put several gathering threads (no more than about 20 inches each). I forgot to take pictures of all of those steps…sorry!!

After the gathering threads were in, I pinned the strip to the sham at each corner, and at the middle of each side. To determine how much of the linen strip to pin, I doubled the length of the side and added 5 inches. This extra amount is for the corners.


And then, using my gathering threads, I started gathering the linen.


and gathering…and gathering…


After all was gathered and pinned, I machine-sewed the ruffle in place.


When it was sewn in place, it looked like this…


Then I ironed the ruffle towards the outside of the sham.


But the raw edges were still visible just under the ruffle, so I had to do something to secure those edges.


So I placed a top stitch about 1/4″ in on the ruffle all the way around.


No more raw edges!


And a pretty little linen ruffle to tie in with the bedskirt.



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8 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Merry
    August 5, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I am inspired! Thank you for this.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jenny
    August 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    You did a great job. I love it. Looking forward to seeing a picture of the whole bed.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gena Cornett
    August 5, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    AWESOME idea! Here's another you might want to try some time. You could use a woven tapestry throw blanket to do the same thing (and also to make chair cushions, pillows, etc.). Just cut out the section of the blanket that you need for the project, serge the raw edges for extra stability and then sew on a backing and ruffle and insert your pillow or cushion form. Voila! Tapestry throws come in hundreds of colors/styles/designs, usually with some sort of artwork or picture, so you can match up just about anything in your decor.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kim - A Creative Spirit
    August 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    So great…. I too was a custom snob….too many years in the biz…. also only wanted NEW furniture….now of course I am on the constant hunt for vintage. MY how our tastes can change.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    August 6, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Customization is usually about being creative, and you certainly were in this project. It turned out great! You'll love the guest post I just did for http://www.loweroaklawn.com about Ellen Holt, who makes hand-made trimmings. You won't believe how beautiful they are. I hope you'll go see for yourself.
    Great job, Kristi!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Susie @ Premier Fireplace
    August 6, 2010 at 5:32 am

    This is a great idea. I have done similar things like using ribbon, trims or coordinating fabrics to liven up throw pillows and pick up colors in various places in my room. Thanks for another easy decorating idea.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Gena Cornett
    April 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    AWESOME idea! Here's another you might want to try some time. You could use a woven tapestry throw blanket to do the same thing (and also to make chair cushions, pillows, etc.). Just cut out the section of the blanket that you need for the project, serge the raw edges for extra stability and then sew on a backing and ruffle and insert your pillow or cushion form. Voila! Tapestry throws come in hundreds of colors/styles/designs, usually with some sort of artwork or picture, so you can match up just about anything in your decor.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Merry
    April 10, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I am inspired! Thank you for this.

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