22 August 2017

Project: DIY Embroidered Fabric Quarter Throw Pillow

I buy a fair amount of craft supplies online, which usually works out pretty well but sometimes results in unexpected snags. Case in point: I recently bought a cute elephant-print fabric quarter online with a certain project in mind, but when it arrived it turned out the scale was just too big. Since I really liked the print, I decided to use it and another printed fabric quarter to make a reversible throw pillow with colorful embroidered accents.

Using a simple print like this as a guide is great for those like me who are inexperienced with embroidery, and fabric quarters make the perfect size for accent pillows with no waste and little expense--here's how I made mine:


- 1 fabric quarter with a simple, graphic print
- 1 fabric quarter for backing, any color or pattern
- Embroidery floss in a variety of colors
- Small embroidery hoop
- Embroidery needle
- Sewing thread to match fabric color*
- Regular sewing needle*
- Scissors
- Polyester fiberfill

* Only needed if you hand sew the seams, like I did


1. Iron your fabric quarters so they're wrinkle-free and ready to embroidery and sew.

2. Decide how you want to accent your chosen print--I did a split stitch outline using four strands of floss around every elephant in a repeating pattern of seven colors, and made a French knot in each eye. You can choose any number of colors, increase or decrease the strands of floss to achieve a different thickness, opt to only accent some of the pattern, and/or use a different stitch like back stitch.

3. Place the embroidery hoop on your first section of fabric, tighten it to your preferred tension, and begin embroidering. Don't worry about knots on the back of the fabric, since they won't show once the pillow is made. Keep going until all of your desired embroidery accent is finished.

4. Trim your fabric quarter to center your design or make your pillow a little smaller if desired. Trim the backing to the same size, then place them right-sides together and pin them.

5. Sew around the edges of the pillow in straight lines, leaving a 1/2-inch seam all the way around and about a 4-inch gap in the center bottom for turning the fabric right-side-out and adding stuffing. If you're sewing by hand like I did, use back stitch to give your seams extra strength.

6. Turn your pillow right-side-out, making sure to get the corners as square as possible. Stuff the pillow with polyester fiberfill through the bottom gap, distributing the filling evenly until your pillow is as firm as you'd like it. Use ladder stitch to close the bottom gap invisibly.

7. If you like, make four tassels out of leftover embroidery floss. Cut a small square of cardboard the length you'd like your tassel, and lay a piece of six-strand embroidery floss twice as long across it horizontally near the top. Wrap more six-strand floss around the cardboard several times, going over the cut piece of floss vertically until it's as full as you'd like your tassel. Carefully slide the cut strand and wrapped floss together off the cardboard, and tie the cut strand into a double-knot at the top. Cut across the bottom of the floss loop to free the strands, then take another small cut piece of floss and tie it around the tassel about 1/3 from the top.

8. Secure each tassel to each corner of the pillow by placing a few stitches around a few strands of floss at the top of the tassel, and finishing with a double-knot.

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