Sheer Crazy! Holiday Patchwork Photo Memory Pillows

Color your Photos and Fabrics with Software and Sheers

I guess it’s true. All memories are colored the way we’d most like to remember them. At any given moment we can view the world through rose-colored glasses or take a moment to indulge in the warm mellow light of a comforting memory. In this project I’ve applied “color-drenched lenses” to revisit a vintage family photo. Seeing familiar images “in a new light” is both interesting (if you like fabric shopping) and fun (remembering another time with loved ones).

Since this is a scrappy project, I had everything I needed on hand. So in lieu of long lines and crowded stores and parking lots, I decided to put on some tunes, made a cup of tea and had a fun sewing adventure. It’s easier than you think to create a few special gifts that could never be bought.

Layering patchwork areas with sheers and generous use of decorative stitching is so relaxing. Looking through a sheer fabric not only suggests the unveiling of memories. The use of sheer fabric and ribbons can also “glaze over” any not-so-fantastic moments of decorative stitch selection, stitch placement and thread color. Why not just experiment freely with your decorative stitches, right on a project… and never pick out a stitch. Just view it all through the lens/sheer fabric of your choice.

Strip-piece your crazy patchwork on a foundation, working out to the sides from the center. [For a stitch-and-flip patchwork tutorial, see Lindsay Conner’s tutorial on Craftsy at – Jo]

Explore Decorative Stitches and Trims

While highlighting a cherished memory with family, I’m also able to satisfy a sewing curiosity. What can I do with all those decorative stitches?

I really wanted to learn more about how the visual language of it all works; and not just what the buttons on my sewing computer can do. … design queries, example: How do various stitches look together? What happens if I change needles and use a thicker thread? Would a combination of two stitches look better here than one? … stabilizers….

A library feeling for my Dad’s house; just right for a beige chair facing the fireplace.


Color-enhanced images become decorative fabric. This pillow combination has more of a Victorian love-of-ornamentation feeling to it; and is least conventional in its coloration. I may have to keep this one for my chaise in our library-living room. I can’t wait to sew on the trims I’m auditioning.

The third photo here is the family portrait seen through “rose-colored-glasses.”


My sister (pictured holding me) loves primary red and traditional Christmas colors. To me the piecing (above) seems like a house and you’re peeking through our window. Some scraps of Seminole piecing also ended up here.

Wooden buttons and a country simplicity are featured for the brother on the left in the photo. I always think of how beautiful the deer are in his neck of the woods; can picture a warm fire and flannel shirts.


For my brother pictured on the right, there’s burgundy and deep green mixed in with brighter red and green hues. Real depth to the colors!

Best wishes from Paula Scaffidi …AKA fiberella


P. S. For tips on shaping pillow corners without “ears,” see Jo’s Pillow-Making Tips post. (How do I know this? 🙂




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