Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection)

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) - roomfortuesday.comMany of you sent amazing questions and messages about the Tuesday Made pillow collection I create with my grandmother. I figured this topic warranted a blog post of its own, because it’s really special to me! I’m extremely lucky to have my grandma, Sherry, in my life and it has been the biggest joy working together these past 6 months. We started designing and creating our pillow collection long before Tuesday Made even launched (in the thick of quarantine in 2020), and it felt like a much-needed passion project for the both of us. If you’re interested to learn more about my grandma, our collection, and how we work together… click through! 

Before we dive in, I’m going to tell you right now- Sherry doesn’t like having her photo taken (I wonder where I get that from, ha!), so this post doesn’t contain too many images.

My grandmother is the type of woman who never stops or never has idle hands- our family has always said she can outwork anyone we know and somehow has double the energy I have. She’s always on the go, always tackling a project, working around her house, loves being out & about, and as you might imagine- being confined to her home, alone during quarantine wasn’t easy for her. At that time, I was in the process of sourcing products and finding artists & makers to work with to fill our shop. After chatting with my grandma on the phone one day, she said something that was the heartbreaking truth, “I don’t have many years left in this lifetime, and I feel like I’m loosing a year of my life… just staying at home, not seeing my grandkids, not working or doing things I love.” She’s generally a very upbeat, positive, optimist, who never complains, but this was everyone’s reality months ago. I knew in that moment that we could do something fun and meaningful together that would boost her spirits and give her something to look forward to… insert our pillow collection.

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) - roomfortuesday.comSince launching our shop last November, the pillow collection is one of the things I’m most proud to offer and share with everyone. We make them in small batches (we usually do 3-6 pillows in each pattern), they’re all handmade with love by Sherry, and they’re really specific to my preferred aesthetic. I’ve tried to select classic, timeless, and unique patterns, in sizes that are easy to style. We’re both really proud of the collection and it’s constantly changing! Ok- let’s dive into the Q&A portion of this post…

Does she live close to you?

She does not… I’m in Utah and she’s in Indiana. The last time we were together in person was in March of 2019- she came to visit us right after we moved into our current home. She loves traveling!

What does your pillow collaboration process look like?

First, we brainstormed the shape & sizes we wanted to carry. Once we had established that, we moved onto production. I source all of our designer fabrics, zippers, thread, and tassels and mail them to Sherry. She created patterns and cuts everything to size first, then starts sewing. Once she has all of the pillow covers finished, she sends them back to me. Then, I’ll spend a day stuffing our down inserts into them (pictured below), fluffing, and stocking our shelves at the office. We usually hop on the phone once a week to chat through any design or fabric concerns. I also include printouts of what the finished pillows will look like. She learned how to FaceTime and video chat this year, so that has also been a great tool for us- and a fun way to keep in touch!

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) -

Has she been a seamstress her entire life?

She has been sewing her entire life, but is actually a retired nurse. She used to do home healthcare.

Does she get paid?

Of course! I’m a firm believer that if you’re putting in work or creativity, you should be compensated. Emmett, who happens to be our accountant, mails her a check for each production run we tackle. Initially she was NOT into this idea and wanted to help for free because she loves me (hah!), but I told her it was non negotiable. So yes- she gets paid for each pillow.

What is Sherry working on now, in terms of pillows?

Ok, ok… we’ll give you a sneak peek! She just texted me our latest fabric and tassel pairings. She’s working on long lumbar cushions with charming tassel corners. Those should be available in the shop in early April.

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) -

So, do your pillows come with an insert?

Yes! I’m picky about inserts and our lumbar pillows are odd sizes. Therefore, rather than tasking you with the job of finding an odd sized insert- all of our pillows include a premium down insert that fits perfectly. No need to worry about stuffing, sourcing the correct size, or trying to find a good one.

What is your favorite pillow and Sherry’s favorite?

We both love animal prints! Sherry’s favorite is the black leopard pillow, and my current favorite is the tan leopard lumbar pillow.

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) -

Who taught her to sew?

She learned to sew in home ec class, which is now called something entirely different. Her mother, my great grandmother, worked as a seamstress in a factory sewing mens workwear… so she always had access to a sewing machine. After school, she kept at it and is self taught. Sewing is definitely her passion, and a skill she has relied on over the years. When her kids were young, she worked as a seamstress for a clothing store, she used to sell the things she made, and has made items for everyone in our family. Clothing is actually her favorite thing to make! She used to make her kids clothing when they were young, she has altered and made prom & formal dresses for all of us granddaughters, and she still makes dresses for the great granddaughters who love playing dress up. She just likes making things for us– sweaters, curtains, pillows, whatever it is that someone in our family needs at any given time.

How did you land on the long lumbar size?

It’s the perfect size for styling on a queen bed, king bed, bench, or sofa. It’s just really a versatile size and shape that lends itself to work well in many vignettes. You can find all of our lumbars here.

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) -

What are some other projects the two of you have made together?

The last time she was here in Utah visiting, we upholstered four vintage dining chairs together. Furniture projects are probably what we most enjoy together. When I was in art school, she helped me make a coat for a textiles class I was taking (FYI- she says coats are her LEAST favorite thing to sew). It’s definitely fun that we’re working together now, because back in high school I started an Etsy shop and sold iPod cases we used to sew together. Things have definitely come full circle. Haha!

Does Sherry have other creative hobbies?

She does! I think that’s probably where a lot of my creativity comes from (her). She enjoys cooking, baking, gardening, thrifting (yard sales are her favorite), restoring furniture, paint projects, and crafts (she makes really cool holiday decor and ornaments).

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) -

Where does Sherry sew?

She always (for as long as I can remember) sews at her dining table. Although, since jumping into our Tuesday Made collection, she has since set up folding tables in her guest room and attached garage. Fabric, zippers, and material have kind of taken over part of those spaces, but she says she prefers it that way.

Will old patterns or fabrics that have sold out come back in stock?

Occasionally, but more often than not, the answer is no. Some of our past designer fabrics have been discontinued by the manufacturer, and we both like to mix it up and keep things interesting. I also think that’s part of the fun… having pillows that are unique! We make anywhere from 3-6 pillows from a specific pattern or fabric, and it’s kind of special knowing only you and a few other people have that custom pillow. Therefore, if you see one you can’t live without, know that we have limited, small batch quantities that are prone to selling out.

Working with My Grandmother (Our Pillow Collection) - roomfortuesday.comI know this is getting long, so I’ll wrap it up. Let us know if you have any additional questions in the comment section below, and thank you so much for all of the amazing ones you submitted on IG for this post! You can shop or browse all of our pillows here. Sherry follows along on Instagram and the blog, so I know she’ll be reading the comment section. She loves hearing and seeing where her pillows end up, and if people are liking them! This has been a really fun collection that we’re planning to continue.

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  1. Love the story behind the pillows! They are gorgeous. I wish you could come to the Carolinas to makeover my home. My granny was a talented seamstress too. This brought back fond memories.

    1. Thank you so much, Misty! I love hearing that your Granny was also a seamstress :) I bet you have such happy memories with her. xo

  2. What a lovely and inspired collaboration! Nothing sustains and enhances a relationship like a shared project. Kudos to you both for creating some joy during this miserable year. As for the pillow collection, I love all of your choices! The sizes and shapes seem spot on; the long lumbar is perfect. Including a premium down insert makes me want to hug you! Sourcing appropriately squooshy pillows (online?!) is such a chore. Of course, your fabric and trim selections are stellar, but the small batch exclusivity might be my favorite aspect. Who wants the same pillow thousands of other people own? (unless we’re talking a Scalamandre Le Tigre pillow 😉) Thank you for sharing more details here, and thanks to Sherry for allowing us a glimpse of her at work! All the heart eyes for you two!💜

    1. Thank you, Peggi! This has definitely been a bright spot for the both of us this past year. I love a good, squooshy pillow that is perfectly fluffable! It took me awhile to find the right inserts, but I love the ones we landed on. They are definitely huggable. We’re with you on the small batches- it’s more fun for us to mix things up, and I feel like as someone who buys their fair share of pillows- it’s more special knowing that there aren’t a zillion others floating around (unless- you’re right, it’s Scalamandre). Haha! Big hugs from both Sherry and I! Hope you’re having a great week, my friend. xo

  3. I adore everything about this! How incredibly sweet that you have this opportunity to fuse your mutual loves into a pillow line that is so gorgeous! My current favorite pillows in your line are the Greek key pillow, followed by the safari pillow. 😍😍It sounds like you and your grandmother have an amazing relationship-both working and personal. She sounds like an incredible lady, and I love that you attribute your creativity to hers. Learning about how this pillow line started just sweetens the history even more-these are special pillows indeed! I also love that only a few of each pattern are made-talk about unique home furnishings!
    I have always wanted to learn to sew-my mother was always sewing growing up, but never taught me- what is your grandmother’s recommendation for someone who wants to learn?
    The two of you are truly lucky to have this opportunity- I miss my grandmother terribly, and your relationship reminds me of ours. Thank you for the flood of incredible memories this morning, and for the opportunity to get to know a bit about the wonderful woman that has brought your pillow line to fruition! Thank you Sherry for sharing your talent with us, and allowing Sarah to gather our questions for answering. Have a wonderful day ladies! It’s pouring rain here in California (FINALLY)-first heavy rain of the year! XO❤️

    1. Thanks, Lauren! It really is super fun and special to be able to work together. The greek key is my second favorite! I LOVE that pattern. We really do have good relationship- we’ve always had so much in common. My grandma recommends hands on learning or just jumping in, but I know that’s easier said than done during a pandemic. I bet there are some awesome free YouTube tutorials out there! I’d find an inexpensive or used machine and just go for it. It’s such a fun hobby! I’m glad this post brought back happy cherished memories for you of your grandmother. They really are the best! I’m also happy to hear you’re getting rain! Enjoy your rainy day – I love those :) xox

  4. Kerri Hansen says:

    Sarah and Sherry, I love so many things about this I don’t even know where to start! The pillows are amazing, of course. I myself have an inactive Etsy shop where I used to design and sew pillow covers…I started out by making myself some new throw pillow covers when I couldn’t find something I liked in store…and then I became obsessed!
    The fact that you two have found this way to partner together and for Sherry to be able to navigate this VERY challenging time we find ourselves in, this is more beautiful than all the throw pillows in the world (high praise, lol).

    1. Thank you so much, Kerri! Etsy is really a phenomenal platform- I love hearing that you also turned your passion into a business there. We both appreciate your kind words! We feel very lucky to be able to do this together :) Hope you’re having a great week! xo

  5. I love this example of art and beauty and collaboration arising out of difficult circumstances. What a joy for both you and your grandmother to be able to create something beautiful and spend time with each other!

    1. It has been such a wonderful passion project for the both of us, and definitely a bright spot during a difficult year. I hope you’re having a great week, Deborah! :)

  6. What a sweet business relationship you both have. ;) Sarah, just knowing the story behind the lumbar pillows and the love that goes into them makes them more special. Does knowing that there’s a limited amount of each design make me want one more…yes! Oh, and tassels, love those too!
    Sherry, beautiful work! Enjoyed hearing your story & the relationship you both have. I am sure you know you have a very talented granddaughter.
    Have a great Wednesday!

    1. It’s really fun and special! We’re definitely enjoying working together. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Danna! I really appreciate that. I hope you had a good Wednesday and things are going well on the house front :) xox

  7. I love this! Sherri reminds me of my own mother who still enjoys sewing and quilting. She taught me to sew and I have found it incredibly helpful over the years. I have sewn a few items for sale, but mostly I’ve helped friends with their sewing needs. Sewing seems to be a bit of a “lost art” among the younger generation, but one I have been glad I knew how to do. YAY! for Sherry (and you!).

    1. Awww, I love hearing that Teri! When you said quilting, it reminded me of another project Sherry made for me. For our wedding, Emmett & I cut out quilting squares and had all of our guests sign them or write messages to us (with fabric markers), and she turned them into a beautiful modern quilt for us! It’s one of the most special things we own. I’ve also found sewing to be such a valuable skill, and I really enjoy it. I do think it’s becoming a lost art. Thanks for reading! I hope you had a wonderful day. xo

  8. Sherry sounds like an amazing woman who we can all aspire to be more like!

    1. She really is incredible! Here’s to hoping I can become half the woman she is. I hope you had a fantastic day, Danielle. xo

  9. Bridget Whitted says:

    What a great story! My mother taught me to sew as a teenager and it has been an invaluable skill my whole life. Many of your sewing projects have been an inspiration to me. A few years ago, my mom taught me one more time to knit and it stuck! I love knitting! The fiber arts are fascinating to me for the beauty and usefulness.

    1. I love sewing too, Bridget! My grandma taught me. Somehow, my mother isn’t into it and never learned. I need to give knitting another try! Maybe it takes a couple tries to stick? You know who is actually awesome at knitting? Emmett (my husband). Haha! When we were in high school dating, back in the day… he learned and used to knit hats for me. I enjoy sewing, dying fabric, and loom weaving, so I think you’ve convinced me to give it one more go. Thanks for the reminder! xo

  10. Awww! That’s amazing ❤️ Grandmother and Granddaughter working together, what an incredibly beautiful experience. Sherry you have the kindest, sweetest, talented granddaughter. You should be incredibly proud. I’m in awe of Sarah every day and what she has accomplished in her young life, I can see where she gets her energy and creativity from 😉 So wonderful you could assist with Tuesday Made, the pillows are a work of art and it’s so inspiring to know the lovely pillow fabrication story here. It totally warms my heart. So much to be proud of and a sweet legacy to be part of 😍 Totally fabulous!

    1. Aw, thank you so much Colleen! You are too sweet. You’re making me tear up over here. I’m so thankful we’ve become friends!! Big hugs from both my grandma and I :) We are very lucky to be able to work together on something we’re both passionate about. We’re having fun! I hope you’re having a wonderful week. Emmett shipped your package out tonight. I’ll email some photos!! xox

  11. Melanie T says:

    I enjoyed reading about the collaboration you have going with your g’ma and the pillows. They sound sumptuous! I think you had a rust colored velvet throw pillow that was featured recently ( maybe from H &M?) that I was admiring but forgot about ( I’m definitely not an impulse buyer) but if you ever add that to your line I would order for sure. Longevity is not a trait on either side of my family so I never knew any of my grandparents but it’s great that you have your grandmother in your life even as an
    adult. It’s also great that she keeps herself engaged with so many interests and is able to share her talents.

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Melanie! I love a pretty rust colored fabric. I’ll see what I can find for our summer or fall collections :) I’m so sorry you didn’t get to know your grandparents. I’m lucky to have met and had relationships with all of them but one. My grandma is really a social lady! I’ve learned so much from her over the years, and it makes my heart happy to be able to share our passion of design and doing something creative together. Hope you’re having a great week! xo

  12. Jonelle Riboni says:

    Thank you for sharing your grandmother with all of us. She sounds like an amazing woman! How great is it you two were able to make something amazing during the year of Covid craziness. The pillows are truly one of a kind and made with love. Do you, or have you thought about putting a tag on them letting people know they were made by hand by her? Might be a nice touch.

    1. She really is! This has definitely been a happy spot for us this past year. We’re lucky to be able to work on something together, that we both love. It has been really special! I added a note on our website, sharing that she makes them, but we don’t have special tags… that’s an amazing idea though! Thank you :)

  13. Edwina Johnson says:

    Lots of love to Sarah my niece, whom feels like another daughter to me and my mom, Sherry. This project of theirs makes me proud and happy. Doing things together forms unbreakable bonds. This past year has been incredible difficult for so many. This is just another way Sarah has created much happiness for many with her unique ideas, creativeness, and love. Kudos to Sarah and Mom Sherry!!

    1. Aw, thanks Edwina! Love you, and hopefully see y’all soon!! xo