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Today we’re working “on the edge.” Whether it’s piping, fringe, poms or tassels; the simple addition of a trim around the edge of your pillow is a well-known designer technique. A big trend this season is a solid pillow in a light or white shade trimmed with multi-colored tassels or poms. The number of trims to choose from these days is really stunning. We have a great tutorial that reviews the main trim categories and how to use them. This week, we’re also learning the facts about pillow foundation from our friends at Fairfield Processing, the makers of Poly-fil® plus a full range of pillow inserts and quilt batting… all the best “soft stuff.” Our samples use their Home Elegance™ collection, the most elite and luxurious down-alternative pillows available. They use a siliconized micro denier gel fiber, which helps give you that super plush, professional result. The forms are non-allergenic and the product quality is always unconditionally guaranteed. At first we were a bit worried we’d be able to find trim to simulate the popular multi-colored strands of the designer pillows. We were prepared to make our own by buying several solid color strands, cutting them apart into small sections, then stitching them back together in random order to create our own colorful DIY strand. But, it turns out, the first store we walked into had multi-color poms right there on the shelf. Score! Though we saved a ton of time, the multi-color trim was a bit spendy and so boosted the final cost of our knock-off. Yet even using the best quality, brand new components, we still came in at almost half the price of Anthropologie®. See our pillow inspiration after the jump.

To give our pillow a little more depth and texture, we went with a creamy white velour. We used the same fabric to create the jumbo covered button to cinch the center of the pillow. This tufted effect mimics the look of the poms and creates a chubby little pillow all around.

Today’s pillow is stitched closed on all sides. It can be spot cleaned or machine washed, but only if you’ve pre-washed your fabric and trim, testing the trim for color-fastness. All the Home Elegance™ pillow forms are machine washable, using the gentle cycle in warm water and with mild detergent. Fairfield recommends the forms be air dried or dried in the dryer on the air or low-heat setting. Adding dryer balls can help keep the pillows extra fluffy.    

Our thanks to Fairfield for providing the amazingly soft and plush Home Elegance™ pillow forms for all our projects. These inserts are widely available at in-store and online retailers everywhere; we provide several link-to-buy options below. 

In addition, Fairfield created a special 25% discount off Home Elegance™ pillow forms for Sew4Home visitors at the Fairfield World Factory Store. Use the coupon code S4H25HE at checkout through August 16, 2013 to get your 25% discount on Home Elegance™.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies


  • ½ yard of 45″+ plush fabric for the front and back of the pillow and the covered buttons; we used a 57″ plush velour in a slightly off white 
  • TWO 1½” covered buttons: we used a Dritz covered button kit
  • 2 yards of pom pom trim; we used multicolored trim from Simplicity, purchased locally
    NOTE: As mentioned above, if you are unable to find multi-colored trim, make you own. Purchase ½ yard of 4-5 different solid color poms. Cut apart into 2-3 pom lengths, then stitch back together to create your own unique multi strip. You should still plan on starting with 2 finished yards.
  • Scrap of low loft batting to back covered buttons
  • Optional (but recommended): 1 yard of 20″ + lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon Shir-Tailor®
  • One 16″ x 16″ Fairfield Home Elegance™ pillow form, available at the Fairfield World Factory Store, as well as Jo-Ann.com
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric
  • Button or carpet thread for sewing the covered buttons in place (optional)
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Straight pins
  • Regular Hand sewing needle
  • Long upholstery hand sewing needle for tufting
  • Curved hand sewing needle (optional) for sewing on buttons

Getting Started

  1. From the main plush pillow fabric, cut TWO 16″ x 16″ squares.
  2. From the interfacing, cut TWO 16″ x 16″ squares. 

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of both the front and back squares.
    NOTE: This step in optional, but we like the little bit of extra stability it provides for a super smooth finish.
  2. Pin the pom-pom trim around the right side of pillow back square, overlapping it in the center of one side. Trim off excess poms at the overlap. 
  3. Be careful to position the poms around the corner. You want to try to get a pom drop at each corner.
  4. Attach a Zipper foot.
  5. Machine or hand baste the pom-pom trim to the pillow back. The trim’s insertion tape should be flush with the raw edge of the fabric and the poms should be hanging down into the middle of the pillow. 
  6. Pin the pillow front and back right sides together, matching all raw edges and sandwiching the poms between the layers. Leave an approximate 9″ opening for turning and inserting the pillow form.
    NOTE: The side you leave open should NOT be the same side where the trim overlaps. It will be more challenging to sew the pillow closed if you have to deal with these ends too!
  7. Using a ½” seam allowance, and still using a Zipper foot, sew around the pillow. The Zipper foot allows you to get in close to the poms. Go slowly, curving around the corners. Remember to lock your stitch on either side of the 9″ opening. 
  8. Trim the corners. Turn right side out. The poms will pop out along the edges. Push out the corners with a long, blunt tool, like a large knitting needle, so they are nice and square.
  9. Insert the 16″ x 16″ Home Elegance™ pillow form.
  10. Gently fluff it into each corner, working from the farthest side toward the opening.
  11. Turn under the raw edges of the opening used for turning so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin closed.
  12. Thread a hand-sewing needle with matching thread and slip stitch/ladder stitch the opening closed. Use small stitches to keep your work as unnoticeable as possible. 

Covered buttons

  1. Using the pattern from the button cover kit, cut two fabric circles and two batting circles. 
  2. Lay the front button fabric circle, right side down, on a protected flat surface (we simply used a paper towel to protect our table). 
  3. Lay the batting circle on top of the fabric circle. 
    NOTE: If you have any trouble with the two layers shifting you can lightly spray with a fabric adhesive. The adhesive will help hold these layers together and can also be used to help adhere the fabric to the button cover.
  4. Wrap the button cover front with the prepared fabric circle layers, then snap the button cover back into place. 
    NOTE: If you are new to covering buttons, we have two tutorials, one using Covered Button Kits (what we did here) and one about Making Your Own.
  5. Hand sew the covered buttons to the front and back at the exact center.
  6. To make sewing all the way through the pillow easier, BEFORE you try to sew on your covered buttons, use a heavy-duty button or carpet thread and a long upholstery sewing needle, and stitch back and forth through the exact center of your pillow. This compresses the pillow and makes a nice little dent in the middle of your pillow where you can then stitch your buttons. We used the long upholstery needle for this step.
  7. Stitch on one button and then the other; don’t try to stitch them both on at once. If you’re still having challenges, try a curved sewing needle.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Editing: Aimee McGaffey

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