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Citrus Holiday: Perky Pom Pom Pillows

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Do you have a friend who is perky? Does the description go something like this: bright, happy, bouncy, cute? We think these plump and pretty pillows are perfectly perky. I got a quarter for every 'P' I used in that sentence.

Each of our positively perky pillows (sorry ... I'll stop now, I have enough quarters for a soda), is made up of two squares. We picked different fabrics for our pillow fronts and backs, making them reversible.


Remember, this pillow does not have an opening for easy removal of the pillow form, which means you can't pull off the cover to wash it. If it's just a decorative toss pillow you take out for the season, you should be fine. Just don't let Santa near it with his milk and cookies. He's clumsy with those big, red mittens.

Our Citrus Holiday designs were made using Heather Bailey's delightful Pop Garden & Bijoux Collection. To learn more about how we created this non-traditional holiday palette, read our article: Citrus Holiday: A Lighthearted Living Room.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Fabric for pillow front panel: ½ yard of 45" wide fabric PER PILLOW: we used 4 four different Heather Bailey Pop Garden & Bijoux fabrics for our 4 pillows: Paisley in Blue (A), Wallpaper Roses in Green (B), Pineapple Brocade in Canary (C), Peonies in Red (D)
  • Fabric for pillow back panels: ½ yard of 45" wide fabric PER PILLOW: we used four different Heather Bailey Pop Garden & Bijoux fabrics for our 4 pillows: Rose Bouquet in Cream (A), Mod Bead in Tangerine (B), Swirly Buds in Tangerine (C), Mod Bead in Canary (D)
  • Pom-pom trim in coordinating colors to fabrics: 1¾ yards PER PILLOW: we used a 1" pom-pom in orange (A and D), gold (B), and green (C). Note: For our sample, you actually need 54" per pillow, which is exactly 1½ yards, but it's better to have a bit to spare - just in case there's a horrible pom pom accident; you never know.
  • Fabric for covering button: we simply used leftover scraps from our Heather Bailey Pop Garden & Bijoux fabrics to contrast against each fabric
  • Button covering kit (1"- 1½" button): you need 2 buttons PER PILLOW (some kits come with 1 - 4 buttons per package depending on button size)
  • 12" x 12" pillow inserts: 1 PER PILLOW
  • All purpose thread
  • Button or carpet thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Specialty hand sewing upholstery and/or curved needle (optional)
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Using your see-through ruler and fabric pencil, draw out and cut two 13" x 13" squares per pillow.
  2. Cut your pom pom trim to 54". This is calculated as follows: perimeter of the pillow (13" x 4 sides = 52") + 2" for finishing the ends.
  3. Make two covered buttons per pillow, using a Cover Button Kit and following manufacturer's directions. You can also refer to our tutorial: Button Kit Covered Buttons. Or, learn how to make you own with our tutorial: DIY Covered Buttons - No Kit Required.
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  4. Pick one front square and pin your pom pom trim all around the edge. It goes on the right side of the fabric with the raw edges aligned.
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  5. With pom pom fringe, it's a good idea to start and finish at a corner. Start pinning, leaving about a 1" tail. Keeping your trim and fabric edges even, continue all around the perimeter of the pillow.
  6. When you get back to the starting point, trim your starting and ending 'tails' so you have just about a ¼" to fold under on each end and overlap at the corner. You'll likely have one 'pom' dangling at the corner. That's fine. If necessary you are carefully snip off a pom to create a more even spacing.
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At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Secure the trim in place with a hand or machine basting stitch. If using your machine, choose the zipper foot, which will allow you to stitch closer to the edge. A basting stitch insures your trim won't slip and slide when you're sewing your final seam. You can simply pin it in place as well, sandwiching it between the two fabric squares, but it's a bit harder to control. As with all fringe-type trims, remember these rules: your fringe goes in between the two fabric layers, the raw edges of the fabric and the fringe are even, and whatever dangles from the fringe, in this case pom poms, is falling towards the middle of the pillow.
  2. Find your corresponding back fabric square and pin to the front, right sides together.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance and starting about 1" - 2" from the corner of one side, sew to the first corner, pivot, sew completely around the next three sides, pivot at the fourth and final corner, sew about 1" - 2" and stop.
  4. You are stopping, because on this fourth side, you need to leave an opening just large enough to insert your pillow form. About 8" should be big enough.
  5. Clip corners and turn your pillow cover right side out, the pom poms will pop out and hang free. Push out the trimmed corners from the inside to make nice, square corners on the outside. Use your finger or a blunt-edge tool, like a large knitting needle.
  6. Press the seams flat. Remember, the edges of the opening should be pressed so they fold in to match the stitched edge.
  7. Insert your pillow form or pillow filler and fluff out the corners of the pillow evenly.
  8. Hand stitch the 8" opening closed with a slip stitch.
  9. Using a long needle (either a 4-6" doll maker's needle or a 4-6" upholstery needle) threaded with button or carpet thread, sew a few stitches through the center of the pillow. Pull these stitches tight and knot off. This will pull the center of the pillow in and allow the button to sink in the center, once it is attached.
  10. Using a smaller hand sewing needle stitch a covered button to the center of each side of the pillow. Do one button and then the other; don't try to stitch both at once.

Hints and Tips

  • You can make your pom pom pillows in any size or shape. To decide how large you need to cut your fabric, determine the size you want to end up with, and then add 1" all around for your seam allowance.
  • Using your measuring tape, measure the length and width of the pillow form you will be covering from finished seam to finished seam. We used an 12" x 12" pillow form.
  • Height of cut piece = finished pillow height + 1" (½" seam allowance on each side)
  • Width of cut piece = finished pillow width + 1" (½" seam allowance on both sides)
  • In our example, because our pillow is square, the formulas are identical:
  • Height of our cut piece = 12" + 1" = 13"
  • Width of our cut piece= 12" + 1" = 13"

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Aimee McGaffey



Comments (11)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Laura_la -- we originally purchased our pom fringe on Etsy from a private seller. That's always a good place to search. In addition, Create For Less carries a great selection, but you do have to buy theirs in 18 yard lots. Don't sweat it too much if you can't find exactly 1" poms, 1/2" or 3/4" would look nice on this size pillow as well. Regular stores, like JoAnn or Hancock usually carry a fairly good selection of by-the-yard colors.

Here is the pom page at Create For Less:

http://www.createforless.com/search/Cheep+Trims/Pom+Poms/a!2,aid!21956-i...? SH=QT1DaGVlcCBUcmltc35CPUNoZWVwIFRyaW1zfkQ9MTV_ST1Qcmlj
Laura_la said:
Laura_la's picture

Having trouble finding the 1" pom pom frnge. Can you help?

txrollergirl said:
txrollergirl's picture
Oh! Thank you so much for the tips! I can't wait to give it a try!
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi txtollergirl -- you can browse through our pillows and cushions category above, but the think that comes closest is probably our tutorial on invisible zippers -- although it is a simple insert into a seam without trim. Two things to think about -- go ahead with your trim around the edge and put your zipper in the middle of the back. If you want trim and zipper on the pillow's edge, just be careful to baste your trim in place first, then you can work with the pillow front and back as two pieces with the trim secured when you insert the zipper. The trickiest thing is to sew carefully, keeping the trim out of the way of the zipper.

Here's the invisible zipper tutorial: http://sew4home.com/tips-resou...ur-friends
txrollergirl said:
txrollergirl's picture
Is there a demo elsewhere on the site that you could recommend that incorporates a trim and a zipper?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi txrollergirl -- 2 kids - 2 dogs! Yep, I can see how everything would need to be washable smilies/cheesy.gif. You won't be able to get the center tufted covered button look, but if you can live without that, these would be totally cute as a cover! Have fun.
txrollergirl said:
txrollergirl's picture
I want to make these (using the Hello Kitty machine my 4-year-old is getting for Christmas) with removable inserts. I have 2 preschoolers and 2 large dogs. EVERYTHING must be washable! But I'm oh-so-in-love with these I HAVE to make them. I haven't sewn in YEARS so wish me luck . . .
manny said:
manny's picture
simplemente hermosos, lastima que aqui en Mexico es dificil encontrar telas tan hermosas pero intentare hacerlos con telas mas sencillas para empezar a practicar....gracias por el tutorial....saludos!smilies/grin.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
I call these pillows the "cute baby kittens" of sew4home ... everyone loves them.
roseytheriveter said:
I used the basic idea for these pillows; made 2 Christmas pillows, and they turned out so cute!