Monday, August 11, 2014

Sewvivor: Nautical Challenge!

Today is the day! All of the top 16 contestants projects are being revealed over on Family Ever After and voting is open. I am so excited to see what everyone has made. All of the contestants are insanely talented, and I think the judges are going to have a hard time deciding who goes through to round 2.

My project has a bit of a back story. Recently my brother and his family moved from Houston, TX to Hershey, PA because his wife is doing her medical residency at Penn State. It's an exciting adventure for them, but I'm not gonna lie, it makes me sad that they are so far away. My brother and I are only a year and a half apart in age, and his son was born a month after my little munchkin.

Change is hard on a 2 year old on top of the big move Jack upgraded to a big boy bed instead of his toddler bed, and my brother mentioned that Jack wasn't a big fan of his new big boy bed. This really stuck with me, and I knew I wanted to make him a quilt for his new bed. It (hopefully) will be something comforting that will have fabrics with designs that he will love... Pirates!

Ok all of that just to build up to my Sewvivor entry lol don't worry it will make sense in a second :)

I was really excited when I saw that the first challenge was to make something nautically themed. Since I am already making my little nephew a bed-sized quilt for his birthday I thought about using that as my entry. But alas, as much as I want to quilt it on my own tiny machine (that's one of the rules of Sewvivor) it is going to be quite hefty and I'm not sure I could have finished it in time.

So I knew I wanted a pillow to go along with the quilt and a pillow was going to be the perfect thing to make for my nautical challenge entry. The night before the top 16 were announced, I sat down and figured out how to turn Nautical Signal Flags into quilt blocks. I still had no idea if I was in the top 16 but I knew that I wanted to make this for my nephew either way.

What I love most about this pillow is that I didn't just choose random flags to make. Instead I chose to spell out my nephews name J-A-C-K. For those of you who don't know, each nautical signal flag stands for a letter of the alphabet. The blocks finished at 6" square, and the pillow itself is 14"x28".

My original plan was to make 4 individual pillows, but after thinking it over I decided that a bolster pillow would be better. That way the letters don't have a chance to get jumbled and spell A-C-K-J or K-J-A-C, or any other combination of the letters lol.
I quilted the pillow with straight lines around the perimeter approximately 0.25" apart, and I stitched in the ditch around the flags themselves. I didn't want to quilt over the flags because I wanted them to stand out form the background, and I think I achieved the look I was going for! The quilting was done with 50wt Aurifil thread #2311. It is my favorite color to use with neutral backgrounds because I feel like it really blends with anything.

I used Moda Bella Solids for the flags, Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Steel for the background, and the red bias stripe from April Showers for the binding. I wish I had written down the color numbers when I bought my solids form my lqs but I totally spaced out when I was there. I know for sure the red is Christmas Red (it was the only bolt marked with an actually name) and the white is number 98. I love the colors, and I hope that Jack is going to love how bright and colorful it is!

I originally was going to use a polka dot print for the envelope back, but I just knew I had to get this fabric when I saw someone destashing it on Instagram. I looked it up and the print is from Cloud 9Fabrics and is the Seven Seas by Michéle Brummer Everett collection. It shows the entire nautical signal flag alphabet, and it ties in the yellow from the front of the pillow. I only had a half yard, so I am going to hunt down some more of it because this print would be awesome to have in Jacks quilt!

Well there it is! I hope you love it enough to vote for me, but the competition is tough and there are so many gorgeous projects to choose from!

Voting is now open for Round 1 of Sewvivor. The Top 16 entries have been revealed and now the public gets to vote on their favorites (the public vote counts for 50% of the results – the judges the other 50%). Only 10 of the 16 contestants will go through to the next round. You can vote via this link - CLICK HERE TO VOTE! Voting is open until August 14.

Now I'm off to do some not so stressful sewing. I hope everyone has a great Monday :)


  1. Great job! I love the backing and binding fabric that you chose too. I did not know until today about the nautical signal flags standing for letters. Very cool!

  2. Love this! Your crafty abilities never cease to amaze me.

  3. So perfectly done and such a great gift, I know he will love it. I really love everything about this pillow and your quilting looks perfect. You are right the judges are going to have a hard time with this round!

  4. You're right, you had to get that fabric for the back! Lovely job.

  5. Love this and I'm sure Jack will too. Great use of nautical flags, that backing fabric and binding are perfect. Love! :)

  6. I've wanted to do this for my little guys since Sarah Jane's Out to Sea line came out!
    The colours are spot on and i love how they pop off the Essex linen! Such a perfect pillow!

  7. Perfect nautical pillow! It's awesome - great job and good luck x

  8. oh this is just so perfect - well thought out and so beautifully put together. Good luck :-)

  9. Hilary this is such a great idea! I'd never heard of the Nautical Flags before, at least that I can remember. That backing fabric is seriously perfect. What a sweet gift for your nephew!

  10. i love the hidden message in the pillow! and the back fabric is perfect! im sure your nephew will love it! great job, and good luck!

    1. Isn't the backing perfect!? I was able to track down some yardage on Etsy, so now I can put it in his quilt too!

  11. This pillow is so adorable! I love how the flags spell your nephew's name. How cute is that?! Great job!

  12. This is so beautifully made... great job!

  13. so cute, and i love the striped binding!

  14. So fun, and bolster pillows are so great on beds! And considering how my kiddos like to throw around the pillows (apparently to help me get exercise bending over and putting them back up all. day. long.) it's probably good that it's just one pillow. lol A great finish. And Hershey, PA is so fantastic! Hopefully you'll get to go visit. I miss living in PA. :)


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