Monday, July 16, 2012

Christmas in July - Fussy Cut Pillow

Good morning all! First up for today's Christmas in July tutorials is Bianca. It seems like this lady never takes a break - she's run a Retro Flowers QAL and a Patchwork Prism QAL in the last several months! They're both over, but go take a look at the posts if you're looking for inspiration/courage to make quilts with non-square shapes.
Hi! I'm Bianca from Sweet Diesel Designs and I am thrilled to be participating in Rebecca's Christmas in July. Isn't it so hard to believe that the holidays will be amongst us in just a few short months?! Shortly after Rebecca asked if I would make a little something, I got a nice "treat" in the mail and inside just happened to be some Christmas fabric of Tina Givens' new line, Star Flakes and Glitter. After playing around a little with some ideas, I finally landed on making a pillow with an envelope enclosure...which can be whipped up with any block or design in just a few short hours. Plus, more than likely you already have a pillow form around the trip to JoAnn's and you have 'spiffied' up your house in a few simple steps. :) So here we go... 

  • fabric for your pillow top {keep in mind how you like for your pillows to look...really stuffed or not so much...this will make a difference in what size your finished pillow top and the backing need to be. I like a stuffed pillow, so I made my pillow top the exact size of my 18" pillow form and sewed it together with a 1/4" seam allowance .}
  • fat quarter for the backing unless you are using a 24" X 24" pillow form
  • batting {just a little bigger than your pillow top and back}
  • muslin {just a little bigger than your pillow top and back}
  • steam-a-seam
  • and the usual...rotary cutter, mat, matching thread

1. You first need to decide what size pillow you would like to make. {14" X 14", 16" X 16", 18" X 18"...or stuff one and make it whatever size you want to} I made an 18" X 18" pillow. 2. Choose your design. I chose to fussy cut the polar bears with their own 'border' and let them shine by doing a simple border in 2 other fabrics. My center is 12" X 11 1/2".

2. I then cut 2 strips of my grey solid, 1 1/2" X 12" and sewed each piece to the top and bottom of my fussy cut polar bear center.


3. Next, I cut 2 strips of grey for the sides, 1 1/2" X 13 1/2". Remember that when you are cutting your strips for the sides to include the measurements of your top and bottom strips. {You may find it easier to cut the strips as you go.}


4. Added on the pink poinsettia fabric border, 2 1/2" X 13 1/2" for the top and bottom and 2 1/2" X 18" for the sides.


**This is where the 'way you like' your pillows to look is important. For my 18" X 18" pillow I made my pillow top exactly 18" X 18" and took a 1/4" seam allowance. But if I didn't want my pillow to be as snug, then I would have made it 18 1/2" X 18 1/2" to leave room for a 1/4" - 1/2" seam allowance. 

5. At this point I made a quilt sandwich with batting and muslin.

{I only folded back the batting to show you that the muslin was on the bottom.}
6. I quilted my pillow top in the ditch of my borders to keep it simple using a light pink Aurifil thread. Once that was complete, these perfect little squares were made at the corners of the grey fabric, so I decided that they needed a little embellishment. I made french knotted 'snowflakes' in each corner with variegated purple and pink embroidery floss.

7. Next begin working on your envelope backing. Cut 2 pieces from your fat quarter measuring 18" X 12". On one 18" side of each piece, you must make a hem. I like a finished double hem. I cut 2-18" pieces {for each backing piece} of steam-a-seam and placed it right up against the edge.

8. Then used my iron to set the fusible side to the wrong side of the fabric and peeled away the paper lining.

9. Using steam-a-seam helps to create a perfect 1/4" takes the guessing out of it and speeds up the process. Just fold the edge over and set with the iron.

10. To create a finished double hem, fold over 1" {or however big you like your hems}. Press and topstitch 1/8" from the top of the fold. {I use my edgestitching foot.}

11. Repeat steps 7-10 for the other backing piece.
12. An envelope closure overlaps in the back by 3"-6". You decide what you like just making sure that you cannot see the underneath hem once the pillow form is inserted.

{I pin my flaps together so that they do not move when I am sewing the top and back together.}

13. Pin it right sides together and sew 1/4" - 1/2" seam. {For an envelope closure you do not have to worry with making sure that you leave a hole to turn it right side reason why I like envelope closures. :)} Turn right side out, really working on the corners. You can even clip the corners {on the wrong side} at an angle to get rid of some of the bulk if you need to.

14. Stuff your pillow form inside and voila...

Here is a picture from the back...

**If you are making a a non-standard size pillow and stuffing your would sew up all 4 sides but leave a hole on the bottom to be able turn it right side out. Stuff your pillow. Then either hand stitch the closure or sew extremely close to the edge where it is nearly invisible. {I prefer to hand stitch my closures.}
And there you have easy and quick way to decorate for the holidays or any regular old day for that matter!
Thanks Rebecca for letting me pop over to share...this was fun!

How cute are the polar bears?! I love seeing peeks of new fabric! This is a great project for fussy cutting a fabric, and is a really great project if you just want to buy a small bit of a focal print. And I've never thought to use Steam-a-Seam on a hemline. Thanks Bianca!

Tell us in the comments what you've been working on for the holidays!


  1. Cute!! Love the polar bears :)

  2. That is such a cute fussy! Sweet pillow.

  3. That is such a gorgeous pillow! Loving that polar bear fabric. I haven't been sewing much lately, but plan to make some tableware eventually for Christmas =D

  4. I've been making quite a bit - cards, tags, hanging tea towels, a stocking and a journal cover - I have Christmas on the brain thanks to you guys!! This is a wonderful pillow. I've made on envelope closure before (without a pattern) so I am pleased to have yours as a guide - thank you!!!


Messages from friends :)