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Creative Family Trees
Create an Heirloom to Last for Generations to Come!

Family Tree Pillow

Historical Review 1.8   

Showcase your heritage with this beautiful vintage style family tree pillow using a digital family tree chart from the Ron Tate™ Signature Collection of Family Tree Charts on CD, an iron-on transfer and fabric and trimmings of your choice.

Materials Needed

*Digital Family Tree Chart
* Iron-on Transfer Paper (Available at Wal-Mart, Staples etc)
*14" Pillow Form
*1 yard of fabric - Pillow
*1/2 yard white muslin fabric
*3 yards of gathered lace
*trimmings (bows, buttons, trim etc)
Step 1 - Prepare Your Chart

Select an 8" x 8" chart from the 'Ron Tate™ Signature Collection of Family Tree Charts on CD Rom' and edit with photos and fonts of your choice. For continuity, we suggest color sampling your chart to select a color for your fonts. Using one color for the top (paternal ancestors) and another color for the bottom (maternal ancestors) creates distinction between the two lines of ancestry.

Tip - When using iron-on transfers, your final image will yellow due to the heating process. We suggest you compensate for this when editing your chart by using the color balance tool in your image editor to reduce the yellow tones in your chart. Your chart will appear bluish but the heating process will add yellow back into your image and balance the tone.

Tip - Don't forget to mirror (reverse) your image before printing so that your image will be right side up once you have ironed it in place. See your printer's instructions or help page for information on how to mirror an image.

Tip - Create a thumbnail version of your chart to test on fabric before printing your final chart.

Step 2 - Prepare Your Iron-On Transfer

You will now transfer the image you prepared onto the white muslin fabric, following the directions that came with your iron-on transfers. You will want to double the white muslin fabric to produce a more opaque background for your image.

Tip - Test your thumbnail version on a small piece of fabric to ensure the results are satisfactory before creating a full size transfer. Every printer and monitor is different and results may vary.

Tip - In our experience, we have found the temperature and time stated in the iron-on transfer instructions to be too long. You will want to experiment with small pieces to ensure the best results.


Step 3 - Cut Two Squares of Fabric to Fit a 14" Pillow Form

Cut two squares of fabric to fit your 14" pillow form. You can do this by laying the pillow form on top of the fabric and measuring around the perimeter of the pillow, allowing a 5/8" seam allowance on each side. You will want to use a ruler to square up your pattern before sewing the two sides together.

Tip - You will want to allow extra room for the fullness of the pillow form.


Step 4 - Sew Your Transfer to the Right Side of One Fabric Square

Fold and press 1/4" - 1/2" under on all sides of your transfer. Pin the transfer to the center of your fabric square (face up). Top stitch the fabric transfer onto your fabric square.


Step 5 - Create a Ruffle

Cut a strip of fabric (you may need to sew several strips together) twice as wide as you wish your ruffle to be, allowing for a 5/8" seam allowance on one side. Fold fabric right side out (lengthwise) and press flat. On the opposite side of the fold, using a basting stitch, sew the lenth of the fabric about 1/4" from the rough edge and leave a loose end. Do not finish off the seam. Now take the thread on each end and gently pull to gather the fabric.

Tip - To estimate how long your fabric will need to be to go around your pillow, add the lenght of each of the four sides together and then multiply by 2 or 2.5 depending on the desired fullness you want in your ruffle.

Tip - For an added vintage look, add a row of gathered lace on top of the gathered fabric ruffle.


Step 6 - Sew Your Pillow Together

With right sides facing each other, pin the front and back of your pillow together, making sure your lace and ruffle is not caught in the seam. Sew three sides of your pillow togther using a 5/8" seam allowance. On the fourth side sew about 2" in from the outer edge on both sides. Through the unsewn side, invert your pillow so that the right sides are now facing out. insert your pillow form and sew the remaining edge closed using a hidden or slip stitch.

Congratulations Your Pillow is Now Complete!



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