This is going to be a long post. I hope you read it and validate my psyche, because after this project, I need some validation. Whew! I am, however, totally okay with you just looking at the pictures and then posting a comment (ha!).
This project started a long time ago in my head. Michael and I have been dreaming of getting a king-sized bed for months and months. When your husband is 6’3″, you need a big bed. In mid-June Michael noticed that Macy’s was going to have a stellar sale on mattresses and said we should go ahead and do it. I was so excited and petrified. We chose gray for our master bedroom, and while I like the gray, I’ve had a hard time deciding what to do with the bedding. I don’t want more gray bedding- to dreary and plain. And supposedly gray is neutral, but I think it’s a tricky neutral.
I did have two sources of inspiration. I saw this photo in a magazine and loved the look of orange, white and gray on the walls. (My dog is cuter than that dog, BTW.)
Then I saw this photo in (you guessed it) Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. It’s on page 150/151.
(I took this photo with my iPhone and hope I don’t get in trouble for posting it, but couldn’t find it online anywhere).
I didn’t like the idea of having a white comforter. With a little black dog who likes to snuggle in our bed while we get ready in the morning, I could just see it getting covered with little black hairs. And Michael and I are hard on things- white would just get dingy and dirty too quick. But the tones in Martha’s book were a bit too muted for me- I wanted something a bit more striking.
I headed to BB&B and found some sheets. I chose a copper color- it was as close to orange as I could find. I did like it a lot. I wanted to add a second color as an accent, so I chose an olive green that was near it because they just seemed to go together. What follows is a sort of pictoral journey, if you will. But if you don’t want to scroll through them, I’ll put the finished product first to save you the scrolling (aren’t I nice?). Ta da!
(Please don’t look in my closet– it needs some work. Should have closed the dang curtain…LOOK AWAY!) I think the white pillows made it look complete. I love it. Really, I do. I’m just not sure about the color combo with the gray walls.
Now, onto the process….ah, the process…
One of the wonderful things about Martha’s book is you get templates and patterns. Lots of them. This particular template was a doozy, though, since it’s soooooo big. Many pages to tape together. I also used that to cut out the teardrop templates.
I set to cutting out the appliques. There were a lot of them. It took me an entire morning- I caught up on a lot of Oprah. The process outlined in the directions basically tell you to use the template to trace the pattern onto your sheet with transfer paper and a tracing wheel. Transfer paper is also… a doozy. I even bought the same transfer paper used in Martha’s book- you can find it here. I wish I could tell you that I love transfer paper and it worked like a charm. I do not love transfer paper, and it did not work like a charm. After 45 minutes of tracing the pattern onto my sheet, I pulled it away and there was very little to show for my lower back workout. So I had to resort to my own brainpower because I wanted to get to sewing. Bad. What I ended up doing was placing the appliques and tracing them with disappearing ink. I learned, however, that on this particular sheet at this particular time of year, the disappearing ink disappears quickly- overnight. So I worked one circle at a time. I placed the appliques on the inner circle and then sewed them down. Then I worked my way out from there.
One of my learning moments was the stitching for this project. Martha’s book talks about using a satin stitch, but I couldn’t find anything in my sewing manual about satin stitching. So I zig-zagged the appliques to the copper sheet (Martha and her editors said that would be okay). Let me tell you- a king sized sheet- that’s a lot to work with. This was my world for several days:
Things moving along…
Here was my problem, though- sometimes the zig-zags turned out okay (pre-trimming)…
And other times they pulled away- either due to my poor stitching skills or they just pulled out of the threads- a little bit of both. When I saw this happening, I became a bit depressed. I spent so much time on this project, and felt like it wasn’t going to pan out. Then (enter angel chorus music) I asked my friend Kari for help.
Thankfully, Kari didn’t have to make a special trip- she was already coming over for a get together. I brought her back to check it out and she set me straight on how to satin stitch. Basically you set the zig zag setting on your machine at opposite ends to make it as wide and as close together as possible, and ta-da! Satin stitch- looks much better, eh?
Once I finished up the satin stitching (several days later) I was finally ready to make the duvet. I followed the directions in Martha’s book on page 147. I’m glad I took my time with this part. My white sheet was significantly larger than my copper, AND they were both larger than my comforter, so I had some work to do.
Ready to sew it up!
Up close in our room.
And the final product again. *sigh* I love it.