Math pillowcases

Ross celebrated a milestone this week, moving into his first college apartment. Coming off two terrible roommates his first year in the freshman dorm, he is excited and relieved to be rooming with two civil engineering majors who are in school to study and learn, as opposed to partying and becoming baby daddies.

To honor the occasion, Rhonda and I made math pillowcases for the trio. I don’t even remember whose idea it was because both of us were so on board with it when it was first mentioned, although Rhonda did have to nag me about getting the fabric:

Ok – here’s the deal.

  1. Measure Ross’ pillow while he showers tonight.  Be quick.
  2. Call Nancy’s Notions (tomorrow at lunch time) – inquire about fabric direction.
  3. With knowledge about fabric direction – ORDER FABRIC!
  4. Schedule Saturday, August 08, 2015 to make pillows at my house. 16 days away.

The clock is ticking.

You better get a move on girly.

It’s not that I didn’t want to order the fabric; it was just taking forever to search for a print in the math/science genre that wasn’t excessively juvenile.

Eventually, I ordered this:

math fabric1

I liked it, not only because it was more adult looking, but also because there were so many different patches of color within the print, offering lots of options for cuff colors. After the fabric showed up in the mailbox, I shopped for coordinating solids, unsure at the time which colors would be chosen for the cuffs, but knowing I would need choices.

math fabric2

Getting to the sewing part was difficult. Rhonda offered to let me use her machine, which is like mine, but I wanted to use the overlock presser foot to enclose some of the seams, and finding it would require monumental effort and patience since all my sewing stuff is still packed. To keep the pillowcases a secret, I lied about the reason for needing the presser foot, placing the blame for all of Ross’ impending grief on Rhonda:

Me: Ross, I need help moving boxes upstairs.

Ross: (grimacing) Why?

Me: I need to find my #2 presser foot.

Ross: (still grimacing) Why?

Me: Rhonda needs to use it.

Ross: (more grimacing) Can’t she just buy one?

Me: She could, but she wants to try it first before making a decision.

Ross: (desperate tone in voice) Can she rent one?

Me: No.

Ross: (grasping now) She couldn’t return it?

Me: No.

So the day before Rhonda and I were scheduled to sew, John and Ross braved the upstairs bedrooms which are bricked with unpacked boxes and furniture. After lifting and shifting boxes, chairs, drawers, table legs and a design wall for two hours in extremely tight quarters with no air conditioning (yes, it’s August in Houston), he found the box with my presser feet, discovering some thread in the process, which was a fabulous bonus for the effort and came in very handy.

presser foot2

The week before we drove Ross back to school, Rhonda and I met at her house where we determined size, cutting dimensions, cuff colors, trim color, and construction. The cuff width was reduced to 4″ from the 6″ or 7″ called for in the original pattern. The trim piece was also reduced to ½”, down from ¾” to 1″ in width. The other change we made was to stitch both edges of the trim piece into the pillowcase as opposed to having one side of it hanging off the seam between the cuff and the case. All that planning took nearly as long as it did to sew the pillowcases, but we kept after it and finished by late Sunday afternoon.

Rhonda’s suggestion to use the gray for the trim instead of white was spot on.

Rhonda’s suggestion to use gray for the trim instead of white was spot on.

Next we figured out how to package them for gifting and ended up folding them similar to how fat quarters are often folded—with the cuffs buried inside so the guys would think they were getting identical gifts until they saw their own.

The day before we left, I went to the office to create gift tags:

pillowcase note

Like the pillowcases, all three gift tags were identical except for the colored border lines which would help me to identify the cuff color and its recipient when it was time to give them away. I tucked the notes inside the folds

pillowcase wrap1

and tied each bundle with a leftover selvage.

pillowcase wrap2

On Tuesday, after we unloaded the trailer and the car, I managed to corral all three guys into the living room at the same time—not easy, but seeing their reactions was worth the wait:





Have a good school year, guys.


1 Comment

Filed under kids

One response to “Math pillowcases

  1. Eric Dobitz

    I found the math mistake in the fabric.

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