Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. We kick off our celebration (a tip of our hat to The Beatles) with our Here Comes The Sun round sun ray pillow. Joel Dewberry’s beautiful Modern Meadow fabric makes this sunburst pillow come alive with sunny yellow color. And, the ring of sun rays is a fun way to create a pillow flange. Ours is made up of twelve ‘prairie points.’ These clever, double-folded triangles are a quilting technique. Once learned, you can incorporate them into lots of different projects.
We have a collection of three Earth Day pillows coming up, all in fabrics from the Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow collection. A big thanks to our friends at FatQuarterShop, who provided all the fabric for these projects. Each pillow has a unique shape, and all are stuffed with organic bamboo fiber. Happy Earth Day!
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 3128)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¾ yard of 44-45” wide fabric: we used Joel Dewberry’s Modern Meadow in Sunglow Nap Sack from FreeSpirit Fabrics
- Pillow fill or 12” diameter pillow form: we used bamboo fiber stuffing from Fairfield
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- Button or carpet thread
- Two 1-7/8” covered buttons: we used a covered button kit
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and cutting mat
- Two see-through rulers
- Pattern or graph paper
- Hand sewing needle
- Specialty hand sewing upholstery and/or curved needle (optional)
- Straight pins
- Fold a 14″ square of pattern or graph paper into quarters. Make sure your original square is even and true.
- Place a see-through ruler at the exact center of the upper left corner of your folded square. Swing the ruler from the top to the bottom of the square, like a pendulum, measuring and marking a dot at the 6½” point in three to four spots. You are creating a semi-circle.
- Draw an arc to connect the marks. If you own a large compass, you could also use it to create your 6½” arc.
- Cut along the arc and unfold the circle.
- You will use this circle pattern to fussy cut two 13″ circles. With our chosen fabric, we wanted one ‘sunburst’ design in the exact center within a row of sunbursts that would run straight across the middle of the pillow. To create our fussy cut: fold the circle pattern in half, and align the folded edge along the middle of a sunburst row, sliding it left and right until the middle crease hits smack dab in the middle of one sunburst.
- Open the pattern, keeping the lower layer of the folded pattern in place. Without letting your pattern shift, pin all around. Cut out the circle.
- Cut a second circle to match, following the identical fussy cutting steps, and the front and back of your pillow will be a perfect match.
- From the remaining fabric, you need to fussy cut TWELVE 6″ x 6″ squares. For our pillow design, we wanted a sunburst centered in each square, which required three repeats of the pattern within each square. Using two rulers, create your own 6″ x 6″ ‘T-square’ to mark and cut your twelve squares.
- From the scraps of fabric, cut two 3″ circles with a sunburst centered in each circle.
- Use these circles to make two covered buttons, using a Cover Button Kit (as we did) and following manufacturer’s directions. You can also refer to our tutorial: Button Kit Covered Buttons. Or, learn how to make you own with our tutorial: DIY Covered Buttons – No Kit Required.
NOTE: We like to add a thin layer of fiber or batting under the fabric of our covered buttons to give them a softer, domed look.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Fold each square in half diagonally, wrong sides together, to create a triangle. Press.
- Fold each triangle in half again, right sides together, to create a smaller triangle. Press. These steps create ‘prairie points,’ which will be used to create the rays of our sunburst pillow.
- Place the twelve prairie points around one of the circles. Work right sides together, and space the points like numbers on a clock. Start with the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 points, then fill in between.
- Match the raw straight edges of the triangles with the raw edge of the circle. The points should face toward the middle of the pillow. Alternate them so one is on the top, the next is on the bottom, the next on the top, and so on.
- When all twelve prairie points are positioned, insert the single folded edge of one prairie point into the double folded edge of the next prairie point. Continue overlapping the prairie points in this manner all around the pillow. Pin in place all around.
- Machine baste in place, approximately ¼” from the edge of the circle (you want the basting to stay within your standard ½” seam allowance), using a lengthened stitch.
- Find your back circle and position it, right sides together, with the front circle, sandwiching the prairie points in between the two layers. Make sure that the two circles are lined up so the front and back fussy cut patterns are an exact match. Pin in place.
- Sew all around the pillow, using a ½” seam allowance, but leaving a 4″ opening for turning.
- Turn the pillow right sides out.
- Stuff the pillow with the bamboo fiber. Thread a hand sewing needle with matching thread and slip stitch the opening closed.
NOTE: After it’s stuffed, if you pull on the edge of the pillow, you can see the points are sewn in without any gathering. However, with the stuffing in place, the points will appear almost gathered. This is the same effect you get when the edge of a round pillow is trimmed with cording. The more you stuff the pillow, the less this effect. However, we like the look – and we didn’t want an over-stuffed pillow.
- Your prairie points overlap, one inside the next, to create the sun ray ring.
- Using a long needle (either a 4-6″ dollmaker’s needle or a 4-6″ upholstery needle works well) threaded with button or carpet thread, sew a few stitches through the exact center of the pillow. Pull these stitches tight and knot off. This will pull the center of the pillow in and allow the button to sink in the center, once it is attached.
- Using a smaller hand sewing needle (a curved needle also works well), also threaded with button or carpet thread, stitch a covered button to the center of each side of the pillow. Do one button and then the other; don’t try to stitch both buttons at once.
- We hand stitched one of our cool Sew4Home labels on the back of the pillow over the slip stitched area. These embroidered labels were done by our friends at Cruz Label.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Michele Mishler