The weather is getting dreary, and the world outside seems to be nothing but varying shades of gloom. Now is the very best time for a color infusion! Our eye popping Gumdrop Pillows are created in multiple colors of Candy Shag Faux Fur from Shannon Fabrics. The luxuriously long nap of the Candy Shag starts as pure white at the base finishing with brilliant candy colors at the tips. As the nap shifts, so does the color, flashing from white to bright and back again. If I had the guts, I think I’d try this technique on my own hair.
There are twelve colors of Candy Shag available in the full Shannon Fabrics collection. All of them have the playful hues of candy shop gumdrops. We selected seven different colors to mix and match into our set of four 16” x 16” pillows. Working with half yard cuts of each color, the total yardage was easily enough to make up to TEN different pillows! You could open up your own Gumdrop Pillow Shop with a unique variety of ½ yard cuts.
If you’re new to working with faux fur, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it’s easier to handle than you might think. In fact, it’s particularly forgiving thanks to the deep pile that conceals any less-than-perfect stitching. We give you an overview of several of our favorite tips and techniques below; for more information, check out our full tutorial on Sewing with Faux Fur.
Our four Gumdrop Pillows all have easy color block designs. When you’re working with super brights, it’s best to keep your mixing and matching simple. Combining too many colors within a single pillow can dilute the overall impact. We stuck with bold shapes and mirror imaging front to back to keep things interesting but not overwhelming. To amp up the color explosion, simply add more pillows.
Super fast and easy, one or more of these Gumdrop Pillows would be a sweet treat for anyone on your holiday list. They don’t even need any wrapping. Simply tie them up with a bow and they’ll be the prettiest present in the pile.
In the photos and supply list below, you’ll notice that we show invisible zippers. This is completely optional, but necessary if you want your cover to be removable. You can also opt to simply hand stitch closed. We show you tips below for both methods. As with most luxury faux furs, the Candy Shag is meant to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned.
Natural faux fur in traditional animal prints is truly gorgeous, but sometimes you just need some whimsical cartoon brights to usher in the cheer. Like a bowl of gumdrops, it’s hard to look are these pillows without smiling.
Our thanks to our friends at Shannon for providing all the colorful Candy Shag.
Our pillows finish at approximately 16” x 16” and are soft and cushy rather than super taut. With these pillows there is no pressing with a hot iron; it could damage the faux fur; simply finger press as needed. As with other steps in the construction, the plush nap conceals and softens the seams.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot; optional for working with the thicker layers of the faux fur
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: As mentioned above, we worked with SEVEN ½ yard cuts of SEVEN different colors of Candy Shag to make our set of four 16” x 16” pillows, but that yardage was easily enough to make up to TEN different pillows!
Our Candy Shag color choices were as follows:
INVERSE STRIPES: ½ yard each of Hot Pink and Orange
DOUBLE TRIANGLES: ½ yard each of Aruba and Lime
TWO COLOR SQUARES: ½ yard each of Lavender and Red
SOLID COLOR WITH POMS: ½ yard of Gray
- ONE 16” x 16” pillow form for each pillow
- ONE 14” invisible zipper for each pillow; optional, the pillows can be hand stitched closed as well
- All purpose thread to contrast with fabric; we usually specify matching thread for construction, but with faux fur, it’s better to use a thread you can see during the process. Once complete, all your seams are buried in the nap, so no worries.
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Scissors; paper or craft scissors with a sharp point are the best for cutting the backing of the faux fur…
…however, if you are very careful, it can be faster to cut the fur with a razor blade or craft knife
- Marking pen for tracing cut lines onto the back of the faux fur; use something like a Sharpie®; don’t worry, it won’t bleed through the backing
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Knitting needle; optional, but helpful for pulling the nap from the seams
- Hand sewing needle
- Longer tapestry needle for the center pom tufting
Getting Started and Pom Pattern Download
- It is extremely important the long and luxurious nap of the Candy Shag faux fur is all running in the same direction! Otherwise, your finished pillows will start to look like a toddler’s very bad hair day. Your cut lines should always be drawn in marker on the backing of the faux fur. When doing this, add drawn arrows to help you remember, and align, the direction of the nap.
INVERSE STRIPES – HOT PINK AND ORANGE
- On EACH color, draw the following rectangle shapes onto the backing and then cut:
- ONE 9” wide x 17” high rectangle
- TWO 5” wide x 17” high rectangles
DOUBLE TRIANGLES – ARUBA AND LIME
- On EACH color, draw a 17½” x 17½” square onto the backing and cut.
- Draw a diagonal line down the center of each square. Keep track of that nap!
- Slice along the drawn diagonal line. As with all your cuts, remember to only cut through the backing fabric. Do not cut into the nap.
TWO COLOR SQUARES – LAVENDER AND RED
- On EACH color, draw a 17” x 17” square onto the backing and cut.
SOLID COLOR WITH POMS – GRAY
- On the single color, draw TWO 17” x 17” squares onto the backing and cut.
- Download and print the Pom Pom circle pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern piece is one 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page to ensure your printout is to scale.
- Cut out the pattern along the solid line.
- On the scraps from your square cuts, use the pattern to cut TWO circles for the center poms.
At Your Sewing Machine
INVERSE STRIPES – HOT PINK AND ORANGE
- Alternate your cut panels so you have the wide panel in the center and the narrow panels at the sides. The front and back are inverse of one another: Hot Pink – Orange – Hot Pink on one side; Orange – Hot Pink – Orange on the other side.
- Pin the three panels of each side right sides together.
- When pinning faux fur, push the nap in and away from the raw edges. By tucking the fur to the inside as you go, you are less likely to catch up the hairs in the seam.
- Sew the two vertical seams on each side.
- With an exceptionally long nap, like we have with the Candy Shag, there are going to be some hairs caught up in the seam no matter what. That’s okay. Simply fold the panels along the seam.
- Then use a thin knitting needle or similar to pick out any stray hairs for a virtually invisible finish.
- Place the front and back panels right sides together, matching up the narrow panels and making sure the nap is all flowing in the same direction. Pin all around. As above, remember to push the nap of the faux fur in and away as you pin. Leave an approximate 10” opening along one side for turning.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. As you remove pins, you can use your finger to keep the nap tucked in. Remember to pivot at each corner and to lock your seam at either side of the 10” opening.
- Clip the corners.
- Turn the cover right side out through the opening.
- Gently push out the trimmed corners from the inside to make nice, square corners on the outside. Use your finger or a blunt-end tool, like a large knitting needle, chopstick or point turner.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Insert the pillow form through the opening and fluff the corners into position.
- Slip stitch the opening closed with a neat ladder stitch. We recommend using a contrasting color for the thread so you can better see what you’re doing amidst all the faux fur. The stitches will disappear into the nap with the stitched seam is pulled taut.
DOUBLE TRIANGLES – ARUBA AND LIME
- The construction method for this pillow is quite similar to the first pillow. Again, when you match up your two colors of triangles to create the front and back panels, make sure the nap is all flowing in the same direction.
- Pin along the diagonal and stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance.
- Before matching up the front and back, trim back some of the nap at the corner points where the two colors combine. There a lot of fur happening at those corners and you need to grade back the bulk in order to not only precisely align the panels, but also to give you a cleaner corner. Any trimming will, of course, be hidden on the inside.
- If you’d prefer to add an invisible zipper to this (or any of the other) pillows, now is the time to do it – prior to sewing front to back. More on this below.
- Pin the front and back panels right sides together.
Optional pinning method for a non-zipper pillow
- With a faux fur that has a very long nap all flowing in the same downward direction, there is an exception to the “always tuck and pin” method of layering front to back.
- Along the top and the sides, pull back the nap as you traditionally would.
- But along the bottom, let the nap cascade down naturally.
- Pin together the layers, keeping the top and sides tucked…
- … and the bottom loose.
- In this case, your opening for turning should be along one side in order to keep the bottom as a closed seam. Stitch around with the traditional seam allowance.
- When you turn the cover right side out through the one side opening, the top seam looks good even without brushing.
- The sewn side seam also cascades correctly.
- Along the bottom, pull apart the layers to reveal the seam (remember, we like using contrasting thread to be able to find the darn seam).
- And gently pull out the remaining nap.
- The strands will pull very easily, like your hair falling out of headband. Because it’s the very bottom, this is the natural end of the nap. It wants to flow downward.
- If you chose not to pin in this manner, that is perfectly okay. Simply stitch all the way around the perimeter. If you did not add a zipper, remember to leave an opening along one side to insert the pillow form.
TWO COLOR SQUARES – LAVENDER AND RED
- Other than matching nap and stitching front to back, there aren’t any tricky steps going on with this simple yet striking Gumdrop.
- If you decide to add an invisible zipper (as mentioned above, this is an option with any of the pillow styles), it helps to trim back the nap along either edge to give yourself a flatter surface on which to work.
- Just clip away enough to fit the zipper tape.
- Then insert as normal. If you are new to working with invisible zippers, we have a full tutorial you can review prior to starting.
SOLID COLOR WITH POMS
- This final pillow goes together front to back just the others above.
- Add a zipper to start or insert the pillow form and hand stitch the opening to close.
- Find the two matching faux fur circles.
- Thread the hand sewing needle with a double length of thread. Use a long running stitch (a gathering stitch) to sew around the perimeter of the circle. The stitching should be about ¼” in from the raw edge of the backing.
NOTE: The backing weave of faux fur tends to be a bit more open than standard cottons. It helps to secure the knotted end of the your sewing thread with two or three extra stitches in place. Once you feel the knot is secure, start the running stitch.
- When you get back around to your starting point, do not knot the thread. Instead, pull up on the thread to gather the flat circle into a pouch. For extra fluff, you can add a bit of polyester fiberfill into the center of the pouch. With the long nap of the Candy Shag, we didn’t really find it necessary, but it is an option.
- Keep pulling until the circle is as tight as possible.
- Take a few extra stitches to secure the gathered opening. Keep your stitches small and careful; you don’t want the fur to get caught up in the thread. Once the opening is secure, knot off your thread.
- Set the pom into position at the center of one side of the pillow. The gathered top of the pom should be against the center of the pillow.
- Thread the larger tapestry needle with a double length of thread and knot. Pull the needle through the gathered top of the pom. Make sure the thread is very secure. Then push the needle through the center of the pillow from front to back, pulling the pom into position.
- Pull the thread to create a bit of a tuft. You don’t want to pull too hard or the pom will simply disappear into the nap of the main panel. Knot the thread to secure. You can then pass the thread back and forth once again to further secure.
- Repeat to attach the remaining pom to the opposite side. On this second pom, you can drive the needle right through the center of the pom and then back through again. The nap covers all the stitching.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever