Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Feather Pillow

We are coming to the end of the long stretch of 1860's sewing for David and Blake. In less than a week they will be encamped upon the green hills of Tennessee, savoring the smell of campfire-smoke and gunpowder, enjoying the pure spring air and rejoicing, I am sure, in getting away from real life for a little bit to play with other guys. I finished up the last of David's items today. Blake is coming over tonight to get his frock sleeves fitted and then all will be over! I can't wait to get some pics of Blake in his whole outfit. He really looks terribly wonderful, if I do say so myself. ;)

The last project for David was this feather pillow that I cut down from a fluffy feather tick that we have had sitting in the closet the past few years. David has been using a modern pillow up til now but wanted something more authentic for his first national reenactment. I figured I may as well use the feather tick for something. 

We obtained it when we lived at our last house. Behind the home was an old garage and the landlord mentioned to David he had found a feather mattress in a plastic bag in the top of the garage. He didn't want it so he gave it to David. We used it on top of our bed for a while but eventually took it off when Malachi was born. He slept in our bed with us for the first six months of his life and I was afraid of the fluffiness smothering his tiny body. Since then the feather tick has been in various closets. I was afraid mice may have made houses in it but when we took it out and I opened it up it was still whole and sound. Inside it was stuffed with millions of these tiny, soft feathers:

I used part of the ticking to make a pillow and then began stuffing it with the feathers. I learned two things. One, this is the messiest job I have ever performed. I was liberally covered with little white feathers when I was done, the whole room was covered and there were yet more feathers floating in the air. Two, it takes way more feathers to stuff a pillow than you may think. I used about 3/4 of the feathers in the tick and made just one normal sized pillow! David wanted it stuffed firmly, so I made sure to pack the feathers rather firmly.

Today I made a simple cotton pillow slip for it and Judah graciously allowed me to use his bed to see what the pillow will look like with the wool quilt I have been working on for the past few months. (Which more accurately means I have worked on it for an afternoon or so with long stretches of weeks in between where I did nothing to it). The quilt is just made from  many squares of scrap wool sewn together. I am trying hard to get every other square quilted before David has to leave. It is taking much longer than I thought.

One other recycled project was this kepi cover. The event David is going to is famous for rain so he asked if I may be able to make him a cover with an old oilcloth poncho he was replacing. The oilcloth side had started to crack in several places so I draped a pattern for the cover on David's kepi and cut the shapes out around the cracks. I sewed it together yesterday and I think it will work quite nicely to keep his head dry in the event it rains. (of course, the forecast is for a beautiful stretch of days next week with a very slight chance of rain).

After all this manly sewing I really won't know what to do with myself next week while David is away! I have picnics, fishing trips and hikes planned for me and the boys and so many sewing projects I want to do I don't know where to start! I suppose firstly I will whip up a few new maternity dresses since the weather has been unseasonably warm and I am at the point where I am starting to need things that are looser around the waist. (is it really possible this pregnancy is halfway over already?!) I have sketched a few designs and can't wait to make them a reality with some comfy knit fabrics and some light airy cottons. And I have diapers to make and Easter clothes for the boys to dive into and oh, just so many fun things to look forward to!



  1. The pillow looked like a fun project, turned out well from what I see. I want to make a wool quilt sometime... too bad patchwork quilts wasn't used in 14th century Sweden ;)

  2. I open my feather tick mattresses every couple of years and air/disinfect the feathers in the hot Summer sun but here in the Georgia humidity, after I have restuffed the ticks, I look like the goose of Mother Goose! So, I share your pain.

    Like all your sewing projects.


  3. The pillow looks great- and I'm loving the quilt colours! Thanks for sharing!

  4. The feather-flurry reminded me strongly of the scene in "Anne of Avonlea" where she was re-stuffing her own down mattress. I look forward to seeing the Spring sewing!

  5. Looks like you have been busy!!!! The quilt looks very nice and the other things do too. =)

  6. The Choll; ah, yes, me too! I did feel very Anne-ish as I went down to answer the door for the UPS man in the midst of my feather stuffing adventures. At least my nose wasn't dyed red! ;)


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!