Tara J. Curtis creates stunning fabric art pieces with special weaving techniques. She’s the inventor of the Tjaye Fabric Weaving Needle, the only needle made by a weaver designed specifically for use with fabric strips and bias strips. She sells the needles in her Etsy shop and provides weaving tutorials on her site. You can also find her on Instagram @t_jaye. A former therapist from the midwest, Tara is now a stay at home mom in the Seattle area. She and her husband and two young daughters love to play records and dance together!
Find more from Tara on her site, and search for more work on social media: #modernweaving #fabricweaving. We’re excited to have Tara share some of her weaving techniques with us in this Woven Chevron Pillow tutorial.
Weaving is a great way to play with color while adding texture and added dimension to a sewn piece. This weaving project is a terrific opportunity to use up scraps! For this pillow, I am using strips of Alison Glass’ Handcrafted for Andover Fabrics, left over from a large bed quilt I’m working on.
- 14″ Blue (or Dark) x WOF (or assorted dark scraps – see cutting requirements below)
- 14″ Brown (or Light) x WOF (or assorted light scraps – see cutting requirements below)
- .625 yard (22.5″ x WOF) pillow backing fabric (or large scraps – see cutting requirements below)
- 15” x 14” Piece of Lightweight Woven
- ½” Foam Board or Large Piece of Cardboard
- ½” Bias Tape Maker (optional)
- ½” Tjaye Fabric Weaving Needle (You may also try using a yarn needle– take care not to poke through the interfacing– or a safety pin.)
- Sewing Machine
- Cutting Mat
- Iron and Ironing Board
- 18” x 18” Pillow Form
If cutting from WOF, cut (14) 1” x 32” strips and then cut them in half, so that you have:
– (28) Blue (or Dark) 1” x 16” strips
– (28) Brown (or Light) 1” x 16” strips
You can also cut 1” strips from various scrap pieces, as long as the strips are at least 16” in length (our finished woven piece will be 14”x14”, but we want some extra room while we weave).
– (2) 3” x 14” strips
– (2) 3” x 18.5” strips
Pillow Backing (cut into two pieces):
– 13.25” x 18.5”
– 9.25” x 18.5”
Prepping Strips for Weaving:
Place the strips wrong side up on the ironing board. Using either a ½” bias tape maker or your fingers, fold the sides of the strip so that they meet in the middle and press. Repeat until all strips are folded and pressed in this way.
Take your piece of interfacing and pin it, bumpy side (adhesive side), up on the foam board.
Take your Brown (or light) strips and pin them horizontally, centered over the interfacing. Insert pins into either side of the strip, angling the pin toward the middle of the board. Be sure to arrange the strips straight across. Use a ruler to check your work.
Using the Tjaye Fabric Weaving Needle (or other tool), begin weaving Blue (or dark) strips into the Brown (or light) strips. The pattern you will follow throughout is simple: under two, over two, repeating. However, how you begin on the first rows will differ with each Blue strip.
This is the pattern:
First strip: under two, over two, under two, over two, repeating.
Second strip: over one, under two, over two, under two, repeating.
Third strip: over two, under two, over two, under two, repeating.
Fourth strip: over one, under two, over two, under two, repeating.
Now you repeat this pattern several more times until you run out of Blue strips.
Once you are finished weaving in the second layer of strips, you must secure the weave. Carefully remove the pins and iron over the woven panel. Very carefully turn the weave over, wrong side up, and press gently, further securing the interfacing to the weave.
Take the panel over to the sewing machine and sew around all four sides. You can use your interfacing (by sewing 1/8″ just outside of it) as a guide if it was cut exactly and centered well. If not using your interfacing as a guide, ensure you are sewing 1/8″ just outside of your outermost strips.
Trim your woven panel so that it measures 14” x 14”.
Sew the 14” long border strips on either side of the panel and press. Then sew the 18.5” long border strips on and press.
Trim your pillow front to 18.5” square.
Take each piece of backing you cut and fold about ¼” inch across the 18.5” side. Press. Fold again ¼” and press. Sew along the folded seams, about 1/8”. (Your backing panels will overlap when sewn onto the pillow front, creating a nice envelope for your pillow form).
Sewing the Pillow Together:
Place the pillow front and pillow backing panels right sides together and pin.
Using the ½” mark on your ruler, mark ½” inside each corner. On each side of the pillow, make marks at 9.25”. Draw a line intersecting these marks. Sew a quarter inch inside the marked lines, all the way around. Trim.
If you prefer pointy pillow corners, you can trim the corners, turn it right-side out. Use a chopstick to help gently poke out the corners and insert your pillow form.
If you prefer rounded pillow corners go ahead and trim, but then you will use the ½” mark of your ruler once more. Make marks ½” inside each corner once again. This time, on either side of the mark, make another mark 2.5″ away from your corner mark. Draw matching curved lines from the side marks to the center. Sew right on those lines. Trim. Turn right side out, using a chopstick to gently poke out the corners, and insert your pillow form.
You’ve created a unique, multi-dimensional work of art for your home. Enjoy!