“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa. We are welcoming a new year with a gorgeous set of Peace Pillows. Our custom embroidery designs highlight the amazing stitch precision of the new Janome Memory Craft 550E embroidery-only machine, and they are offered below as free downloads thanks to our sponsorship from Janome America.
It’s our wish for this year and every year: Peace. Inner calm within yourself, love and caring among your family and friends, understanding around the world. We invite you to celebrate peace. Will pillows change the course of nations? Probably not, but seeing them every day in your home can remind you to keep peace in your heart and on your mind.
Create one square pillow that features an embroidered peace symbol and a coordinating rectangular pillow with the word PEACE embroidered in a gorgeous floral flourish. Embroidery download details are included below. The custom designs are offered in six main embroidery formats and will work for a 230mm square hoop, a 300mm hoop and, of course, the new Janome 360mm hoop, which is what we used on the Janome Memory Craft 550E.
The new MC550E is a stand-alone, embroidery-only machine that is very, very good at its one main focus: beautiful embroidery. You get famous Janome stitch precision, the largest embroidery area Janome has ever included on an embroidery-only machine (7.9” x 14”), four embroidery hoops and an extension table, plus 180 built-in designs and easy options to bring in even more.
Our thanks to Janome America for sponsoring Sew4Home as an exclusive Janome studio and for underwriting these stunning designs. Of course we realize not everyone has access to an embroidery machine, but we hope these images will inspire you to find out more about how interesting and affordable it can be to add embroidery into the mix in your sewing space. Check with your local Janome dealer regarding special offers happening right now on the MC550E and other models as part of Janome’s 99th Anniversary celebration.
Both of our pillows have a 100% natural linen background fabric. We used off-white in order to allow all the incredible colors within each design to pop. Our choice is a 60” Natural Linen from Fabric Wholesale Direct that is available in 18 luscious colors. A medium to heavy weight fabric, the combed and woven texture of this linen is strong but with a wonderfully soft drape.
There is subtle tone-on-tone piping around the perimeter of each pillow and a classic buttoned back opening so the pillow covers can be carefully cleaned.
The square pillow finishes at approximately 18” x 18” and the rectangular pillow at 20” x 12”, excluding the ¼” piping in both cases. As mentioned above, the embroidery designs are each offered in two sizes. Click the link below for all the sizing and thread chart details.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and a standard presser foot; you’ll also need an embroidery model to create our Peace designs or a sewing and embroidery model to accomplish both tasks; we used the Janome Memory Craft 550E Embroidery Only machine for our embroidery
- Zipper foot
- Embroidery needles
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Supplies shown are for the pillow set: one 18” x 18” square and one 20” x 12” rectangle.
- 2 yards of 60″+ wide mid-weight linen or similar for the fronts and backs of both pillows; we used 60” 100% natural linen in Off White from Fabric Wholesale Direct
- ⅝ yard of 44″+ wide lightweight batiste or similar for the pillow front linings; this is optional but helps prevent any shadowing from the embroidery against the pillow insert and is a nice finish for the back of the embroidery.
- Stabilizer for the embroidery as recommended for your embroidery machine; we recommend 15” in width
- All purpose thread to match fabric for construction
- 40wt Embroidery thread in colors for the embroidery design(s) – the specific colors for each design in each size are detailed in the color chart, which is on the same download page as the embroidery files. You will need from 15 – 17 colors per design
- Pre-wound bobbins; optional but best for this type of precision embroidery
- SIX ⅞” – 1” buttons
- 4 yards of ¼” piping cord
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
Getting Started and Design Downloads
- Click the Download button above to access the Floral Peace Word and Floral Peace Symbol embroidery designs in the appropriate format for your machine as well as all accompanying templates and color charts. Load the design(s) into your machine.
- We have provided these files in SIX main embroidery formats: EXP, JPX, JAN, PES, VIP, and VP3.
NOTE: The EXP file folder is special for the newest Bernina machines and it contains the image files and color information for the screen of the machine. If you are a Bernina owner of one of these new machines, you will just drop the whole folder onto a USB stick and your machine will know what to do with it. Any other brands that use EXP will simply ignore the information they don’t need. JPX files are special for the Janome MC12000, MC15000, and MC550E machines.The JAN files are useful if you have Digitizer Pro. Check the largest hoop size for your embroidery machine. The designs will work for a 230mm square hoop, a 300mm hoop and, of course, the new Janome 360mm hoop.
- From the main fabric (the off-white linen in our sample), cut the following:
For the 18” x 18” square pillow: ONE 21” x 21” square for the front panel and TWO 14½” x 19″ rectangles for the back panels.
For the 20” x 12” rectangular pillow: ONE 22” x 15” rectangle for the front panel and TWO 15½” x 13” rectangles for the back panels.
- From the remaining main fabric, cut enough 2″ strips on the bias for the piping to yield approximately 4 yards of length when joined end to end.
NOTE: If you are new to working with bias strips and/or creating piping; we have a great step-by-step piping tutorial you can review before starting this project.
- From the optional batiste lining fabric, cut the following:
ONE 19” x 19” square
ONE 21” x 13” rectangle
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
NOTE: Our steps are shown using the Janome Memory Craft 550E Embroidery Only machine and its new 7.9” x 14.2” RE36b Hoop. As mentioned above, the designs are available in slightly different sizes and in six different formats to accommodate other options. Bear in mind that your embroidery process may be slightly different than ours.
Embroidery – Floral Peace Letters for the Rectangular Pillow
- Find the 22” wide x 15” high front panel.
- Cut two layers of tear away stabilizer to match the panel.
- Layer the fabric over the stabilizer.
- Print and assemble the PDF template for the Floral Peace Word embroidery design.
- Place the paper template over the layered fabric and stabilizer, centering it top to bottom and side to side.
- Locate the crosshair and mark its center position with a pin.
- Transfer the mark to the fabric and draw in a full crosshair using an air soluble marking pen.
- Place the layered fabric and stabilizer over the outer hoop.
- Place the inner hoop and placement template over the fabric, adjusting the position of the fabric so the center point of the hoop’s template is directly over the marked crosshair on the fabric. Press the inner hoop into the outer hoop.
- Close the easy-to-use corner levers to tighten the hoop. You can fine tune the position using the screws.
- When everything is in place exactly as you want it, add the magnetic clips to secure the fabric.
- Thread the machine. We recommend stitching our custom embroidery designs using 40 wt polyester embroidery thread in the top and pre-wound bobbins in the bobbin. Since the design is large, it is helpful to start out with a full bobbin.
- Place the hoop on the machine. Remove the plastic template. You should have already loaded the design into the machine.
- Select the embroidery design Peace Word. Before starting the embroidery, check that the needle is positioned directly above the marked crosshair.
- If desired, select Baste to further secure the fabric to the stabilizer. For large designs such as this, it helps prevent any potential puckering that might occur.
- Start the embroidery.
- The embroidery machine stitches the colors one at a time, trimming threads and stopping between each color.
- Re-thread to change colors each time the machine automatically stops.
- It’s always fascinating to watch the embroidery design come to life as each color is added.
- When the design is complete, remove the hoop from the machine. Clip the basting stitches.
- Remove the fabric from the hoop and trim away the excess stabilizer.
- Press the embroidered panel from the wrong side.
Embroidery – Floral Peace Symbol for the Square Pillow
- Our custom Floral Peace Symbol embroidery design is stitched in two pieces to create a finished 12½” x 13″ embroidery design that is large enough to fit perfectly on an 18″ square pillow. The Janome Memory Craft 550E has a well designed large hoop, which allows for the ultra-precise hooping placement necessary when aligning the two halves of a large embroidery design.
- Find the 21″ x 21” front panel.
- Print the PDF files for Peace A and Peace B. There are two pages for A and two pages for B. Align the two pieces for each half and tape together to complete the two finished half templates.
- Overlap the two templates to make a complete circle. The stem ends should be tucked under a flower by about an ⅛”. When you have your circle positioning correct, tape the templates together in their overlapped position.
- Position the completed template over the linen panel, centering the design side to side and top to bottom.
- Locate the two crosshairs and mark the position of each with a pin.
- Transfer the marks to the fabric and draw in full crosshairs using an air soluble marking pen.
- When the fabric panel is correctly marked with the two crosshairs, you’ll center the crosshair for the first half of the design within the hoop. This should be the crosshair on the left.
- Cut two layers of tear away stabilizer to match the left section.
- Place the fabric over the tear away stabilizer.
- Place the layered fabric and stabilizer over the outer hoop. Align the inner hoop and placement template so the left crosshair is centered.
- Press in place and tighten the hoop using the corner levers. Add the magnetic clips.
- Place the hoop on the machine. Remove the plastic template. Select Peace A. As above, you can select Baste to further secure the fabric to the stabilizer if desired.
- Start the embroidery.
- Continue the embroidery, changing colors when directed.
- The final color will stitch small crosshairs at the top and bottom of the arc. These crosshairs will help align the second half of the design.
- Remove the hoop from the machine. Remove the basting stitches and tear away the excess stabilizer.
- Locate the crosshair for the second half of the design.
- Repeat the same steps as above to reposition the embroidery in the hoop to stitch the right half of the design.
NOTE: The completed portion of the embroidery is on the left, which means the hoop’s magnetic clips could touch it. Because of this, we did not use the positions where the clips might have marred the embroidery, using just five of the magnetic clips instead of all seven.
- Place the hoop on the machine. Remove the plastic template. The needle should be directly above the marked crosshair.
- Open Peace B, the second half of the embroidery design.
- Notice the position of the small crosshairs at either end of the arc; as mentioned, these were the last color that was stitched on the first half of the design. It is also the first color for the second half of design. Advance the stitches one at a time. The needle position should match the first set of crosshairs.
- At this time, it is possible to adjust the position of the embroidery using the jog keys to ensure the design elements match exactly. Continue advancing the stitches until the machine moves to Color 2.
- Start the embroidery.
- Continue the embroidery, changing colors when directed.
- Because of the precision hooping, the design will overlap to form a completed Peace Symbol.
- Remove the hoop from the machine.
NOTE: We did not use a basting stitch on this second side of the design so we could adjust the needle position as needed.
- Remove the fabric from the hoop and remove the excess stabilizer. Press the completed design from the wrong side.
Finishing the Pillow Construction
Trim the embroidered panels and collect the remaining cuts
- For the Rectangular Floral Peace Letters pillow, place the embroidered panel on the cutting mat. Center the design and trim to 21” wide x 13” high.
- Collect the matching 21” x 13” batiste lining panel, if you choose to use a lining, and the two 15½” wide x 13” high back panels.
- In the same manner for the Square Floral Peace Symbol pillow, place the embroidered panel on the cutting mat. Center the design and trim to 19” x 19”.
- Collect the matching 19” x 19” batiste lining panel, if you choose to use a lining, and the two 14½” wide x 19” high back panels.
- If using a lining panel, place it against the wrong side of the embroidered front panel and pin in place around the perimeter.
Make and attach the piping
- Now’s the time to switch to standard sewing.
- Find the bias cut strips and the piping cord.
- Stitch your multiple strips together end-to-end with a ¼” seam allowance to yield one approximate 68″ strip for the rectangle pillow and one approximate 76” strip for the square pillow.
- Press all seam allowances open and trim the sides flush
- Place a length of cording down the center of the wrong side of each strip.
- Wrap the strip around the cording, wrong sides together, aligning the long raw edges of the strip.
- Attach a Zipper foot. We used the Janome narrow AcuFeed™ Flex foot with the ED zipper foot attachment.
- Stitch the length of the strip, staying as close to the cording as the foot will allow. If possible on your machine, move your needle position to the left to snug up your seam even closer. This is what we chose to do. We also lengthened our stitch to 3.0.
- Find each embroidered front panel. Place them right side up on your work surface.
- Starting at the center bottom of each panel and with approximately 1” free, place a length of piping around the entire perimeter, aligning the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the fabric. Pin in place.
- Still using the Zipper foot, machine baste the piping in place all around, removing the pins as you go.
- If necessary, you can slightly clip into the piping’s raw edges to help it ease around the corners.
- When you get back to your starting point, the free ends of the piping should overlap about 1”. Remove the panel from the machine, and with a seam ripper, open up the piping fabric on the overlapping ends. Pull back the fabric to expose the cording inside. Cut the cording only, not the fabric, so the tail of the cording is even with the head of the cording.
- Pull the fabric back into place and fold under one raw edge ½” to create a clean finish.
- Wrap the folded edge over the raw edge, enclosing the butted-together ends of the cording. Pin in place.
- Finish basting the piping in place, matching this final portion of the seam with the already sewn seam.
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you’re new to piping, check out our tutorial for general tips on making, joining, and finishing.
Hem the overlapping back panels and add the buttonholes
- For each of the back panels, create a 2″ double-fold hem along one side (for the rectangular pillow, this is a 13″ side. For the 18″ square pillow, this is the 19″ side). To do this, fold back the raw edge 2” and press. Then fold back an additional 2” and press again. Pin in place.
- Edgestitch in place along each inner fold…
- … and each outer fold.
- Set up your machine to create three vertical buttonholes, centering them within what will become the left overlapping back panel.
Assemble front to back and add buttons
- Find each set of back panels. Overlap the panels with the buttonhole panel on top. Adjust the overlap until the width of the back panels equals the width of the front panel (19” for the square pillow, 21” for the rectangular pillow). Pin in overlap in place.
- Find the embroidered front panels, both of which should have their piping in place.
- Place the embroidered front panel right sides together with its overlapped back panel set, sandwiching the piping between the layers. Pin around the perimeter.
- Stitch around all four sides, pivoting at the corners. Your seam should follow along in the previous machine basting line that attached the piping. We continued to use our Zipper foot.
- Clip the corners and press open the seam allowance all around.
- Turn the pillow cover right side out through the back overlap opening. Using a long, blunt end tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner, gently push out the corners. Press well.
- Mark through the center of each buttonhole onto the underlap panel for each button position.
- Handstitch each button in place.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Embroidery Design and Digitizing: Michele Mishler of MM Embroidery Designs
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler