We call this our favorite “flora and fauna” set. The lush and plush pillows feature botanicals on one side, animal prints on the other. We originally used one of Anna Maria Horner’s most color-packed collections: 2012’s Field Study for FreeSpirit fabrics. Although no longer readily available, you really can never go wrong when browsing Anna Maria’s fabric for decorator pillow ideas!
Not only did we mix and match six unique fabrics for the pillow trio, we also combined two different substrates: quilting cotton for the botanicals and a cotton velveteen for the animal prints. As always, a project’s final fabric choice is always up to you, and this design could really work with any substrate. Stay within one collection as we did or pull from several designers for your custom combo. Prints and substrates you might not traditionally put together, may look smashing side by side! For an “inside peek” at how we do it, take a look at our article: Top 10 Designer Tips for Blending Colors and Prints.
The luxe look of these pillows is accentuated by the gorgeous brush fringe that frames each of them. By using the same fringe on all three pillows, it pulls them together beautifully as a coordinated set. Three reversible pillows yield over a dozen cool combinations. To echo our look, we recommend fabrics with a strong depth of color and motif; they will play off the elegance of the fringe.
Take the time to carefully fussy cut each of your pillow panels. If you are new to cutting in a way that will precisely capture a specific section for a specific purpose, take a look at our full fussy cutting tutorial. You can use this skill on any project.
Even with such a luxurious finish, these pillows are very beginner friendly and a great way to introduce yourself to sewing with fringe.
The pillows finish at 16” x 16” excluding the 1¾” – 2” fringe.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Even Feed/Walking foot or engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, like the AcuFeed™ Flex system we love to use on many of our Janome studio machines; optional, but very helpful for sewing the thick brush trim
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Ingredients shown below are for ONE 16″ x 16″ pillow, but the more you make, the more you get to mix and match. Yardage shown allows for fussy cutting and is shown as a range because the exact size needed depends on the size of your fabric’s motif and repeat. If you motifs are big and bold, opt for ¾ yard; ½ yard is enough for more petite prints. Check out our fussy cutting tutorial and the mixing and matching tutorial for more details.
- ½ – ¾ yard of 54″+ wide cotton velveteen or the fabric of your choice for Side A
- ½ – ¾ yard of 44″+ wide quilting weight cotton or the fabric of your choice for Side B
- 2 yards of 1¾” – 2″ dense brush fringe
NOTE: If you make more than one pillow, consider keeping the fringe the same for each. This ties all the pillows together into a coordinated set.
- One 16″ x 16″ pillow insert
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- 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 the fabric for Side A, fussy cut ONE 16¼” x 16¼” square.
- From the fabric for Side B, fussy cut ONE 16¼” x 16¼” square.
NOTE: As mentioned above, take your time to create a really beautifully positioned motif for each side.
- Trim the fringe to a 67″ length (16¼” x 4 sides + 2″ extra to “futz” with; you’ll trim the excess as needed after all is pinned in place). Wrap the ends of the fringe with a tiny piece of tape to hold the fringe threads in place.
NOTE: The bottom edge of this type of fringe is usually sewn in place to hold the ends of the strands together. Do not remove this stitching yet; it’s easier to work with the fringe as a more solid unit during construction.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the side to which you’ll attach the fringe right side up on work surface. We chose the velveteen side because it is a heavier substrate and this increased stability works well with the heavy fringe. Either panel can work.
- Starting at the middle of one side (if you have a directional print, start along what will be the bottom of the panel), align the top edge of the fringe with the raw edge of the fabric. Pin in place around all four sides.
- At the corners, curve the trim rather than attempting a 90˚ turn.
- This type of fringe requires just a tiny overlap as shown below. It is dense enough to disguise this simple finish.
- Overlap so there is no gap in the fringe, but don’t create a thick overlap “bump.” Trim away the excess fringe as needed.
- Machine baste the fringe in place, staying within the ½” seam allowance. We used our Walking foot for this step.
Stitch front to back
- Place the fringed panel right side up on your work surface. Smooth out the fringe to make sure none of the threads will be in the way of the final seam.
- Place the plain panel right sides together with the fringed panel, sandwiching the fringe between the layers.
- Align all the raw edges and pin in place all around, leaving a 6-8″ opening along one side for turning.
- Stitch together through all layers around all four sides, using a ½” seam allowance. Go slowly and make sure your layers stay flat.
- We are still using our Walking foot to keep the layers from shifting. You are stitching just to the left of your fringe basting seam.
- Your seam should parallel the basting seam as you curve around the corners.
- Trim away the excess fabric at the corners to create a smooth curve.
- Turn right side out through the opening.
- Gently round out the corners from the inside using a long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner.
- Gently pull out the fringe all around. If needed, pick out any visible basting stitches with your seam ripper. Remove the thread(s) holding the bottom of the fringe together.
- Insert your pillow form through the opening and fluff it out into the corners.
- Fold in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin in place.
- Thread the hand sewing needle and slip stitch the opening closed.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild