Love is boundless and scrappy, and definitely not tidy. To us, there’s beauty in the texture. Like love, our studio is filled with a few messy bits and pieces. When sewing our aprons and other projects, we always save our fabric scraps because the linen is so pretty that we can't bear to waste it. It is an ongoing initiative of ours to let the scraps have a life of their own. Today, we have imagined a Hand & Heart Warming Pillow which is a perfect use for our little fabric scraps and we hope yours too. It’s a small token of us to share with those who warm our hearts.
Gather up those fabric bits. We will use a fabric manipulation technique called slashing which is very tactile, and a bit out of the box for those of us who are perfectionists. Slashing can be used to make something delightfully imperfect. If you are fairly new to sewing, this project only requires basic sewing skills. You can do it, especially if you don't suffer from perfectionism!
Slashing is a technique that has been used in fashion since the 1400's, when bedraggled Swiss army troops cut up pieces of bright banners and tents as they ransacked villages of France, to fill the holes in their uniforms. When they returned home, they started a trend as clothing makers copied the effect of bright fabrics peeking out of artfully slashed holes. Used on and off throughout the history of fashion, this manipulation technique is also currently embraced by many textile designers. One sews two or more fabrics on top of each other, and then slashes the outermost layer to reveal the fabric(s) beneath. We think you might find the sound and feel of ripping through the layers of fabric to be downright therapeutic. If you do, visit our Pinterest board "Scrap It" to learn about more ways that you can slash fabrics.
To make a heart on our pillow top, we gathered some bits of brightly colored fabrics to capture between our top and bottom linen layers. The random sizes, patterns and colors all help to make a nice slashing effect. Cotton and linen are great ravelers, so that's what we recommend. Layer the bright scraps on one half of a larger piece of fabric, and then fold the empty side over them, closing it like a book. It is helpful to iron the layers flat, and use a couple of pins to keep things in place for sewing.
Quilt the pinned fabrics together with a sewing machine by straight stitching lines through all the layers, removing pins as you come to them. When you get to the fabric edge, turn around and go back the other direction until the whole piece is quilted. You can now trace a heart onto the fabric in chalk and then follow the chalk to stitch an outline, starting at the bottom of the heart. This will make a border for your slashing.
To slash the heart, use a seam ripper or small pointed-tip scissors to poke through the top layer of fabric and slash away from yourself down the center of each quilted channel from one end to the other. For better control, cut one layer at a time and look at your result before moving forward. Be careful that you don’t cut through the bottom layer of fabric. Once you have made the initial slashes with the seam ripper, you can switch to pointed scissors to cut the rest, especially when getting close to the perimeter seams.
After all the rows are cut, rake your fingers back and forth vigorously over the cut layers, to reveal your heart in the different colors and fabrics. You might be happy with them as they are, but if you want to really ravel them, put the quilted piece through the washer and dryer. (If you do, make sure that the edges of the square are trimmed up or zigzagged, so they don’t ravel.)
At this point, just a few more steps complete the hand warmer for your Valentine. We filled ours with rice and mixed in a few drops of essential oil to make it smell great before stitching it closed. Warm your heart pillow in the microwave for a few seconds. It will smell great and your heart will be warm for a good amount of time.