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Faux Cowhide Pillow
You needn’t be a cowboy or cowgirl to fall in love with this excellent accent pillow. The faux cowhide is 100% polyester with a heavy, velvety feel. Continuing our theme of imitation as the greatest (and humanest) form of flattery, we’ve paired it with a thick, rich faux suede, also 100% polyester. The design is very chic yet super quick. You could whip out a whole herd of pillows in a single afternoon.
Available in realistic tans and black (we chose a Guernsey brown), this fabric is an upholstery weight. Its polyester mesh backing makes it smooth and very easy to sew. Using a faux suede for the back gives you a wide variety of natural tones with which to coordinate.
Rather than simple front and back squares, we put on our cowboy boots and kicked it up a notch. Both sides are made from two rectangles seamed down the center and highlighted to either side with bold topstitching. It’s the same kind of finishing detail you’d see on genuine leather accessories or upholstery.
We went with a full 20″ x 20″ pillow form, which allowed us to easily make all our cuts with just a half yard of both our 54″ wide fabric choices. But – why not get a full yard of each and make one for you and one for a friend?! Or adjust your pillow size smaller to make even more.
Our pillow design finishes at approximately 20″ x 20″ and is designed with a loose fit to allow a “karate-choppable” softness.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional but helpful to keep topstitching precise
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 54″+ wide faux leather fabric or similar for the pillow front; we originally used 54″ Udder Madness Cowhide Upholstery in Milk
- ½ yard of 54″+ wide faux leather fabric or similar for the pillow front; we originally used a 54″ faux suede in mocha
NOTE: Neither of our fabrics was directional. If you have a strong directional print and are using a 20″ x 20″ form, you will need ¾ of a yard of each directional fabric to maintain the vertical panels.
- One 20″ x 20″ pillow form
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- Heavyweight thread for topstitching detail
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- From EACH of the two fabrics, cut TWO 11″ x 21″ rectangles
NOTE: As mentioned above, neither of our fabrics was directional. If you have a strong directional print, cut 11″ wide x 21″ high rectangles, which means you will need at least ¾ of a yard of each fabric.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the two front rectangles right sides together, aligning one 21″ raw edge of each. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together.
- Press the seam allowance open.
- Flip to the right side.
- Re-thread the machine with heavy thread in the top and bobbin. Increase the stitch length substantially; we used 4.5mm.
- If possible, attach a Quarter Inch Seam foot.
- Topstitch ¼” to either side of the center seam.
- Be very careful to make sure both lines of topstitching are an exact match.
- Repeat to stitch the two back rectangles. And, topstitch as above.
- Your stitch length and seam allowance should be the same as for the front panel.
- Place the front and back panels right sides together, aligning the raw edges all around and being especially careful to line up your center seams.
- Pin in place all around, leaving an approximate 8″ – 10″ opening along the bottom edge.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, sew around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at either side of the opening.
- Trim all four corners at a diagonal. For more about corner-cutting techniques, see our full tutorial.
- Turn the cover right side out through the opening and press flat, turning in the raw edges of the opening used for turning so they are flush with the sewn seam. With these faux fabrics, adjust your iron to a lower heat and/or use a pressing cloth.
- Insert the pillow form through the opening. Gently fluff it into each corner, working from the farthest side out toward the opening. Pin the opening closed.
- Thread a hand-sewing needle with matching thread and slip stitch the opening closed. Use small stitches to keep your work as unnoticeable as possible.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Leah Wand
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