Another designer technique we came across again and again as pillow private-eyes is what we dubbed: the Wrapped and Embellished pillow. This is the style we've knocked off today. The idea is to start with a plain base pillow, then accent it with a unique highlight fabric, securing that accent with a bit of bling. We found a beautiful burgundy taffeta at a local chain retailer that was pre-embellished with pretty little pinch pleats. In this case, the fabric does the heavy lifting, providing built-in texture and beauty for the base. For our wrap, we chose a Millinery Netting gathered into a floral burst and secured with a rhinestone button. Our Fairfield Home Elegance™ pillow form completes the deal. The Home Elegance collection has a full compliment of square pillow options (14", 16", 18", 20", 24" and 26") as well as two rectangular options: 12" x 16" (what we used) and a bed pillow size at 20" x 28". We found a range of inspiration for this knock-off, from $150 to $235 each. To create ours, we used the best quality, brand new components (no stash stealing) and still came in under $35, saving up to $200 over high-end retail. See our pillow inspiration after the jump.
This pillow is straight stitched on all four sides with the wrap secured in the side seams. This means the pillow cover cannot be removed without opening a seam. The specialty fabrics we selected are really not meant to laundered but instead should be dry cleaned or spot cleaned at home, so four standard seams is a fast and easy way to go.
The Wrapped and Embellished pillow style is a great way to experiment with some of the luxe fabrics so readily available today: pleated, embellished with sequins and/or beads or just beautiful substrates like velveteens, satins, organzas, silks and more. Because a pillow uses only a small bit o' fabric, you can afford to work with those more expensive cuts you've been eyeing without breaking the bank.
For additional not-breaking-the-bank help, we're excited to tell you Fairfield has created a special 25% discount off Home Elegance™ pillow forms for Sew4Home visitors at the Fairfield World Factory Store. Use the coupon code S4H25HE at checkout through August 16, 2013 to get your 25% discount on Home Elegance™.
Our thanks to Fairfield for providing the amazingly soft and plush Home Elegance™ pillow forms for all our pillow knockoff projects. These inserts are widely available at in-store and online retailers everywhere; we provide several link-to-buy options below.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any sewing machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6300)
- Walking foot (optional, but helpful when working with slippery, shifting specialty fabrics)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ½ yard of 45"+ fabric for the pillow front and back; we used a 53" pinched taffeta in burgundy purchased locally
- 2 yards of millinery netting or similar for the wrap; we used a 9" black millinery netting purchased locally
NOTE: Our netting wrap has a subtle effect; if you want to go bolder - double or triple the yardage to allow for more layering on the sides. Netting is inexpensive, generally running just $2.99 to $3.99 per yard.
- Optional (but recommended): 1 yard of 20" + lightweight, low loft batting
- ONE 1½" + button or similar "bling"; we used a black button with a rhinestone front purchased locally
- One 12" x 16" Fairfield Home Elegance™ pillow form, available at the Fairfield World Factory Store, as well as Jo-Ann and Hancock Fabrics
- All-purpose thread to match fabrics
- 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
- Painter's tape or similar to help hold netting in place
- Small rubber band to create center "flower" in a color to match the netting
- From the fabric for the front and back of the pillow, cut TWO 12" high x 16" wide rectangles.
- From the batting, cut TWO 12" high x 16" wide rectangles.
- From the netting, cut TWO 1 yard lengths.
NOTE: If you are doubling or tripling the layers of netting, simply cut your starting yardage in half.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the front 12" x 16" panel right side up and flat on your work surface.
- Place one length of netting along each side, centering the netting top to bottom and with the raw edges of each layer aligned.
NOTE: This is the point where you can use a single, double or even triple layer of netting based on your desired finished effect. Simply fold the netting back and forth on itself however many times you'd like, remembering to leave a generous tail on each side to create the center "flower."
- Using an easily removable tape, such as the blue painter's kind, tape the netting in place. Make sure you place the tape at least ¾" - 1" from the raw edge. You don't want the tape within the ½" seam allowance where it could be stitched through... it's hard to pull out.
- Bunch up the netting in the middle of the panel and pin or tape in place so it will stay out of the seams.
- Place the front and back panels right sides together, sandwiching the netting between the layers. If you have a directional fabric, make sure both sides are facing the proper direction.
- Make a sandwich with the batting, layering a piece on either side of the fabric pieces. Make sure all the edges of all the layers are flush.
NOTE: As an added help against shifting, you could hand or machine baste the batting to the front and to the back and then place the fabric right sides together.
- Pin in place, leaving an approximate 7"-9" opening along the bottom edge.
NOTE: Your opening should be generous enough to easily stuff in the pillow form, but remember, you will have to hand stitch that opening. Luckily, the Home Elegance™ pillow forms are super soft and easy to compress to fit through a smaller opening.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, sew around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at both sides of the bottom opening left for turning. We used our Walking foot to keep the multiple layers from shifting. A Walking foot has its own upper feed dogs, which work in tandem with the machine's bottom feed dogs to help keep all the layers aligned.
- Trim all four corners at a diagonal.
- Turn the cover right side out through the opening and un-tape/un-pin the netting.
- Gently poke out the corners with a long, blunt tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick. You want all the corners to be as nice and sharp as possible.
- Using a small rubber band, gather the netting into a bunch in the center, tightening it up so the side layers lay flat across the pillow.
- Twist the netting into a flower shape. It's much like making a "messy bun" in your hair, using the rubber band to anchor as you go.
- Thread a hand sewing needle with thread to match the netting and tack in place through just the top layer of the pillow cover.
- Snip the folds of the netting to fluff out the flower, and trim away any excess. This is really a bit of "free form art." The effect can be as loose or tight as you'd like.
- Hand stitch the button in the center of the flower, again through just the top layer.
- Insert the 12" x 16" Home Elegance pillow form.
- Gently fluff it into each corner, working from the farthest side toward the opening.
- Turn under the raw edges of the opening used for turning so they are flush with the sewn seam. The taffeta was slippery so we pinned the edges in place.
- Pin the opening closed.
- Thread a hand-sewing needle with matching thread and slip stitch/ladder stitch the opening closed. Use small stitches to keep your work as unnoticeable as possible.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Aimee McGaffey