back to square

Not back to square one, just back to square. The trousers and I are trying some time apart to see if it helps resolve some of our issues, and in the meantime, in order to accomplish something without tearing my hair out about fitting, I’ve returned to things that are square (or rectangular).


Our cat’s favourite spot is sitting on a pillow on a stool in the office, right beside my husband’s chair. It occurred to me that, just because we had an old pillowcase that we could use for the purpose, didn’t necessarily mean we had to use it rather than something with a little more personality. Thus, I made a basic pillowcase for the cat’s pillow using some fun fabric that I found around Hallowe’en.

skull & crown pillowcase

In the office where this will live, my husband researches elite views on violence in the late middle ages and early modern periods, so the theme works. Also, I think it will hide the cat hair.

The cat does not disdain the pillowcase.

I really didn’t give the measurements enough (or any) thought when buying the fabric, so I only had enough for one side. For the back, I used black cotton broadcloth from the stash;  the ‘semi-stash’ nature of this project neutralizes the guilt associated with buying new fabric on a whim for a project I’d only just thought of when there are many others waiting for their chance at some attention. Also, I like how it turned out, so that’s a win.

stash -.5m

Comforter (duvet, doona) cover

I found perfect fabric for sheets: 100% linen, extra-wide (90″/230cm), nice colour (cadet blue), and cheap! When I got my hands on it, though, I was faced with a dilemma: how do you pre-wash 15 yards of extra-wide fabric when it doesn’t all fit in the machine? I was racked with indecision. I didn’t want to cut it as I wasn’t sure where to cut, especially with the issue of shrinkage. Eventually, I think I decided it wasn’t going to shrink and cut lengths for 2 fitted sheets. I even cut the width on one of them, then realised I’d omitted a consideration when I did the math so it was probably too small, then froze up again. And there it sat.

It finally occurred to me to just cut a 4″x4″ (10cm x 10cm) square, wash and dry it, and see what happens (duh). I rediscovered the one fitted-sheet off-cut and decided to just use that, and measured it up. I was a little concerned about how much it would ravel (and I didn’t intend to finish the raw edges), but it hardly frayed at all. Like, I don’t think I’ve ever had a fabric that frayed less. It looked like about 5-6 weft threads worked their way loose on each end and maybe 2 warp threads (the other side was selvage) after twice through the washer and dryer. I measured it up again and found that it shrank about 4.5%, so I rounded up to 5%, did some math and cut.

I didn’t cut again after washing so my seam allowances are kinda wide. The zipper went in OK; not my best work, but it’s fine for something that’s rarely seen. I added loops in the corners and midpoints of each side (except the side on the fold) to match up with the corresponding ties on the comforter. (See the next post for more of an explanation.)

I’m liking the colour more now than when I first got it – as another greyed colour, I think it’s also in my palette. This should mean that I’ll look particularly good in bed 😉

No photos – it’s just a big square.

stash -4.75m (but because it’s extra-wide, I could probably count it as -9.5m)


About Zena

I sew sometimes.
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