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Modern Print Patchwork Pillows with Hand Embroidered Accents: Fabulous Fall with Fabric.com

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Patchwork is traditionally associated with small prints in a closely coordinated color palette. We're starting a new tradition during our Fabulous Fall series with Fabric.com: Modern Print Patchwork Pillows. The designs are bold, the colors are bright and set against crisp, clean white. Then, just when you thought things couldn't get any more modern... we take a step back and soften the style with hand embroidery on the front and pretty tassels on the back. I think I just heard your sofa give a little shout of delight. Is it time for a little pillow therapy?

We mixed and matched six different vibrant geometric prints from the Premier Prints collection. Fabric.com has over a thousand options from this home décor powerhouse. 

Remember, pillows hate to sit by themselves, and his modern design really works especially well as a pair, the two slightly different in size and shape.

Rather than staying with the safe hues that live side-by-side on the color wheel (analogous colors), try picking opposites (complementary colors), like our navy and orange or pink and brown. Think about the fashion combos you love; designed for maximum contrast, they often look just as great in home décor. 

We love the backs of these pillows, which feature horizontal accent zippers in a strong color. We used brown then added a bouncy tassel, also handmade from embroidery floss.

Make your hand embroidery free form, or try our tips below on pre-marking for a more precise stitch pattern. 

Our thanks to Fabric.com for being the product engine behind our Fabulous Fall series. As we mentioned above, their huge selection gives you endless combinations. A great way to see how everything looks together is to use the Fabric.com Design Wall function. It's easy to add and delete swatches. You'll see an "Add To Design Wall" button accompanying each product description. The first time you click on it, you create your Design Wall; additional items are then added from there.

Our pillow set finishes at approximately 20" x 20" and 16" x 20".

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Supplies shown are for a set of TWO pillows and allow enough for precise fussy cutting.

NOTE: Inventory shifts constantly, and some fabric may not be in-stock when you first visit. However, there are other color options as well as re-stock dates listed when appropriate for each fabric at the Fabric.com site. 

We mixed and matched six different large-motif print fabrics and one solid fabric. All the print selections were 54" medium-weight, home décor fabrics and the solid was a heavier canvas. As mentioned above, using large, bold graphics in high-contrast colors will give you the best look. 

Getting Started

Our cut sizes are specifically matched to our fabric selections, and the fussy cutting shown is also unique to our fabrics. Follow the diagrams above to replicate our designs. Should you choose a different fabric selection, you may need to adjust your cut sizes to best fit your fabrics. All cuts allow for a ½" seam allowance throughout. 

20" x 20" Square Pillow

  1. Cut ONE 13" x 11" rectangle from the 54" Zippy in Drew Italian Brown.
  2. Cut ONE 13" x 11" rectangle from the 54" Emily Slub in Tangelo.
  3. From the 54" Canopy Stripe in Baby Pink, cut the following on the bias
    ONE 7" x 11" rectangle
    ONE 3" x 21" rectangle
  4. Cut ONE 7" x 11" rectangle from the 54" Canopy Stripe in Drew Italian Brown.
  5. From the 60" 8.5 oz. Brushed Canvas in White, cut TWO 21" x 11" rectangles.
  6. From the lightweight interfacing, cut ONE 20" x 20" square.

16" x 20" Lumbar Pillow

  1. Cut ONE 7" x 11" rectangle from the 54" Canopy Stripe in Baby Pink, on the bias.
  2. Cut ONE 19" x 7" rectangle from the 54" Zippy in Candy Pink.
  3. Cut ONE 13" x 11" rectangle from the 54" Oxygen Dots in White/Navy.
  4. Cut ONE 3" x 17" rectangle from the 54" Canopy Stripe in Drew Italian Brown
  5. From the 60" 8.5 oz. Brushed Canvas in White, cut TWO 21" x 9" rectangles
  6. From the lightweight interfacing, cut ONE 16" x 20" rectangle.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

20" x 20" Square Pillow

  1. Place your cut pieces right side up and flat on your work surface, assembling them in order to complete the pillow top.
  2. Place the Left Top piece (Canopy Stripe in Drew Italian Brown) and Left Bottom piece (Canopy Stripe in Baby Pink) right sides together, aligning them along their center 7" raw edges. Pin in place.
  3. Place the Center Top piece (Emily Slub in Tangelo) and Center Bottom piece (Zippy in Drew Italian Brown) right sides together, aligning them along their center 13" raw edges. Pin in place.
  4. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both seams.
  5. Press the seam allowances in opposite directions, towards the top (the brown stripe) for the left panel and towards the bottom (the brown chevron) for the center panel. 
  6. Place the sewn left panel right sides together with the sewn center panel, aligning their interior 21" raw edges. Pin in place. 
  7. Be very careful to align the horizontal seams of both pieces. Remember, the seam allowances should be pressed in opposite directions. When aligned in this way, the front intersecting corners should be a perfect match. 
  8. Find the final piece for the pillow top, the long strip for the right edge (Canopy Stripe in Baby Pink). Place it right sides together with the completed left side, aligning aligning their interior 21" raw edges. Pin in place.
  9. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  10. Press the pillow top flat. 

16" x 20" Lumbar Pillow

  1. Place your cut pieces right side up and flat on your work surface, assembling them in order to complete the pillow top.
  2. Place the Left Top piece (Canopy Stripe in Baby Pink) and Center Top piece (Oxygen Dots in White/Navy) right sides together, aligning them along their interior 11" raw edges. Pin in place.
  3. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  4. Press open the seam allowance.
  5. Place the sewn upper panel right sides together with the bottom panel (Zippy in Candy Pink), aligning their horizontal 19" raw edges. Pin in place. 
  6. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  7. Find the final piece for the pillow top, the long strip for the right edge (Canopy Stripe in Drew Italian Brown). Place it right sides together with the completed left side, aligning their interior 17" raw edges. Pin in place.
  8. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  9. Press the pillow top flat.

Zippers

  1. The zippers are attached in the same manner for both pillows. 
  2. Find the two back pieces.
  3. Along one 21" edge of each piece, fold back the raw edge ½".
  4. Find the zipper. Place the folded edge of each piece along either side of the zipper. This folded edge should be close to the zipper teeth. Pin both sides in place.
  5. Attach a Zipper foot and, if necessary, re-thread the machine with thread to match the back panel fabric in the top and bobbin.
  6. Start with the zipper about halfway open. Stitch along both sides of the zipper, running the seam as close as possible to the zipper teeth.
  7. As with most zipper installations, when you can start to feel you're approaching the zipper pull, stop with your needle in the down position. Twist your fabric around slightly and carefully close the zipper. Re-position your fabric and finish sewing to the end. Be very careful and go slowly; you want your seam line to be super-duper straight.

Hand embroidery

  1. You can certainly "free-hand" your embroidery, but we wanted a bit more precision to our embroidered Xs and so opted to pre-mark the stitching points.
  2. To do this, use your see-through ruler and a sharp fabric pencil. Place the ruler ¼" from each pillow top seam and place dots at ⅜" intervals. 
  3. Do this on both sides of each pillow top seam. This spacing is what looked good to our eye. Feel free to adjust your stitches to what you like best. 
  4. Thread a large-eyed needle (we used a yarn darner) with one or two strands of floss (we used two). You want a nice, thick texture to the stitches. 
  5. Stitch an even running stitch along the seam, crossing back and forth from the right to the left of the seam as you go.
  6. When you get to the end, double back to finish each of the Xs.
  7. You can adjust the spacing as needed at the seam intersections to create a pretty junction where each of the seams meet. 

Optional interfacing

  1. To keep the tops nice and smooth, especially along the back of the hand embroidery, we recommend fusing a piece of lightweight interfacing to the wrong side of each pillow front. Center the interfacing side to side and top to bottom and fuse in place, following manufacturer's instructions.

Stitch front to back to finish

  1. Un-zip each back panel about halfway. 
  2. Place the pillow front and the pillow back right sides together, aligning all four raw edges. Pin in place around all four sides.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners. 
  4. Trim the corners.
  5. Turn right side out through the zippered opening, press out the corners so they are nice and sharp, and press flat. 

Optional tassels

  1. Following our Sew4Home Tassel Making tutorial, create one thick tassel for each pillow. Our tassels are approximately 2½" in length.
  2. We mixed our colors, using an orange tassel on the back of the 20" x 20" Square Pillow, which featured pink embroidery on the front; and putting a pink tassel on the back of the 16" x 20" Lumbar Pillow, which featured orange embroidery on the front. 
  3. Tie the tassel to the zipper pull
  4. Insert a pillow form through the zippered opening on each pillow and fluff it out into the corners.
  5. Zip closed. 

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

We received compensation from Fabric.com, and some of the materials featured here or used in this project were provided free of charge by Fabric.com. All opinions are our own.

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