The humble bow is actually a clever kind of knot. We learn about it early in order to keep our shoes on our feet. From there, it begins to shed its utilitarian beginnings, becoming fashionable as a hair ornament or impressive as a package topper. Today, we’ve kicked it up another notch, creating a luxurious bow pillow in faux fur to pretty up your bed or glamorize your sofa. This is S4H, so you can be confident this elegant accent is also easy.
Beginning sewers sometimes shy away from working with less-common substrates, such as faux fur. But, the truth is, they’re just as easy, if not easier, than a standard cotton. Faux fur is particularly forgiving thanks to the deep pile that conceals any less-than-perfect stitching. For more tips and techniques, check out our tutorial on working with faux fur.
We originally used a sumptuous Solid Mink Faux Fur from Shannon Fabrics. The pile is thick and rich and the colors are very realistic.
The accent fabric for the side panels and the center wrap adds a subtle bit of bling with a metallic dot by Michael Miller Fabrics. When ironing metallic cotton, we recommend using a pressing cloth.
Our bow finishes with slightly rounded corners. No pattern is needed, simply use a small round object to sketch in a curve at each corner of the front and back panels. We used a spool of thread.
These pillows are squeezably soft and would be great for resting your head for a quick, yet elegant, nap!
The project is excellent for beginning sewers, but we all love an easy project! They’re also great for last-minute gifts.
Our Bow Pillows finish at approximately 14” wide x 8” high x 3” deep.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional but helpful for thicker layers – or use your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system
Fabric and Other Supplies
Amounts shown below are for ONE pillow.
- ⅓ yard of 44”+ wide faux fur; we originally used 60” Solid Mink Faux Fur by Shannon Fabrics in Fawn and Ivory
- ½ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton; we originally used 44” Glitz Metallic Quarter Dot by Michael Miller Fabrics
- ¾ yard of 20”+ wide lightweight fusible interfacing; we used Shape Flex by Pellon
- ONE small bag of premium polyester fiberfil
- All purpose thread to match the fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Sharpie® or similar for tracing onto the back of the faux fur; optional
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat; it helps to have a pair a sharp, pointy scissors to best cut the faux fur
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth to protect the metallic cotton (the faux fur should not be pressed)
- Straight pins or clips
- Hand sewing needle
NOTE: Fur needs to be carefully cut. We summarize the steps below, but as mentioned in the introduction, you can also review our entire tutorial on sewing with faux fur for more information.
- On the back of the fur, use your ruler and a dark pen (we like to use a Sharpie®) to draw TWO 15” x 9” rectangles. Make sure the nap is running in the same direction on both pieces.
- Carefully cut out each rectangle, inserting the point of your scissors and lifting to make sure to only cut through the backing material. Do not cut into the fur.
- Use a small round object about 1” in diameter to gently round each corner. We used a spool of thread as our template. Trace the curve.
- Again being careful to only cut through the backing material, round each of the four corners on each rectangle.
- From the cotton, cut the following:
TWO 25” x 4” strips for the side panels
ONE 16” x 7” strip for the center wrap
- From the interfacing, cut TWO 25” x 4” strips.
- Here are all your main pieces.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find the 4” fabric strips and the 4” interfacing strips.
- Place an interfacing strip against the wrong side of each fabric strip. The two layers should be flush on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
Prepare the side panels
- Find the two 4” interfaced side panels. Place them right sides together. Pin along both 4” ends.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch both short seams, creating a loop. Press open the seam allowances.
- Mark the quarter points on your loop. These points are similar to the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 points on the face of a clock.
- The two seam allowances will be your 12:00 and 6:00 points.
- To find the 3:00 and 6:00 points, roll the loop until the two seam allowances are aligned. The outer folds are the 3:00 and 9:00 quarter points. Place a pin at the top and bottom of the loop at each outer fold.
Insert the main panels into the side loop
- Find the quarter points on each of the fur panels. To do this, you simply need to find the center point of each side. You can use your ruler and measure to find the center. Or, you can fold the panel in half one way and then in half the other way, marking the outer edge of the fold along each edge. In either case, mark your center points with a pin or draw in a mark in pen on the fur’s backing material.
- Each fur panel will be set into the side panel loop in a manner similar to inserting any flat circular base into a tube. This “tube” just happens to be very narrow and our “circle” is more of an oval. If you are brand new to this technique, we have a full, step-by-step tutorial you can review prior to starting the project.
- The loop should be wrong side out and the fur side panel should be facing right side down. Using your quarter point markings, set the fur side panel into the side loop. You are setting the side panel into the tube a bit like setting a lid upside down into a box.
- Match up the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 marks on both pieces.
- Remember the seam allowances on the loop are the 12:00 and 6:00 points so they should align with center points on the long sides of the fur panel.
- When pinning fur, it helps to use a knitting needle, chopstick or just your finger to push the nap down and away from the raw edges as you pin. As mentioned above, check out our tutorial on working with faux fur for these and other tips.
- Pin the marked quarter points first, then fill in with additional pins between these points until the panel is pinned in place all around.
- You’ll need to gently ease the two panels together around the corners.
- If possible, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system. We used the Janome AcuFeed Flex™ system on our Janome Skyline S7.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way around.
- One side down, one to go. Look at your sewn panel and confirm which way the nap is going. Make sure the nap is running in the same direction on the remaining panel as you set it in place.
- Match up the quarter point pins in the same manner as above. The only difference is you will leave a 3” – 4” opening across one seam allowance.
- You’ll use this opening for turning the pillow right side out and for inserting the filler.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way around. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 3” – 4” opening.
- Turn right side out through the opening in the seam. Using a long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner, gently round out all the corner curves.
- Fold in the raw edges at the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Finger press in place.
- Stuff the pillow with polyester fiberfill. The pillow should be stuffed so it is even and flat. Do not over-stuff or it will be difficult for the center wrap to squeeze the pillow into its bow shape. Take a handful of loose fiberfill and fluff the fibers with your fingers to remove any clumps. To do this, gently separate the fibers as if teasing hair. Insert these small handfuls of fiberfill, starting with the corner curves and working toward the opening. We have a tutorial that covers more pillow stuffing tips and techniques.
- Make sure the raw edges at the opening are still folded in and flush with the sewn seam. Pin closed. Using your hand sewing needle and thread, hand stitch the pillow opening closed. Keep your stitches tiny so the fiberfill won’t poke out.
Create the center wrap
- Find the remaining 16” x 7” cotton rectangle. Fold it in half, right sides together, so it is now 16” x 3½”. Pin together, leaving a 3” opening at the center of the long side.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch the 16” side. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 3” opening.
- Press open the seam allowance. Roll the seam to the center. Pin along each end.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each end.
- Clip the corners and press open both seam allowances.
- Turn right side out through the center back opening.
- Use a long, blunt tool to gently push out the corners so they are nice and sharp. Press flat.
- Hand stitch the center opening closed.
- Fold the strip in half, right sides together (seam side out). Align the finished ends and pin in place to create a loop.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the ends together.
- Press open the seam allowance and turn the loop right side out.
- Compress the finished pillow in order to slip the loop over one end and into place at the center. The wrap’s seam should sit at the center back of the pillow.
- The wrap should be sightly gathered at the center as shown below. Simply adjust the folds so they are as even and flat as possible.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild