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Pillow Personality with Fairfield Processing: Modern Fussy Cut Pillow

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A pillow doesn't need a lot of extra fol-de-rol to have plenty of personality. (Okay... the Cinderella lovers can sing along with me now: "All the sensible people of this world will say, fol-de-rol and fiddle-dee-de and fiddley, faddley foddle... all the wishes in the world are poppy cock and twoddle.") Today's pillow is super simple: cut, sew, stuff - done. The tricks are to find the perfect fabric, spend the extra time to fussy-cut your squares to best showcase the motif, then pick a super cushy insert, like Fairfield's Feather-Fil® for that high-end, karate-choppable look. 

A pillow like this takes just half a yard of fabric, so you can indulge in a more expensive choice without breaking the bank. Even spending a bit more, you'll still come in way under those pricey pillows you've seen in the high-end stores and catalog. Plus... yours will be a one-of-a-kind original. 

Fairfield products are easy to find! They're available at the big box stores, national fabric stores, as well as your favorite local quilt shop.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ½ yard of 54" wide décor weight fabric; we used Oslo in Amethyst by Richloom, available at Fabric.com
  • One 16" x 16" Feather-fil® insert from Fairfield: 95% feather and 5% down with a heavy-weight 100% cotton cover
  • 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
  • Tissue or pattern paper (optional for fussy cutting)

Getting Started

  1. From the decorator fabric, fussy cut TWO 16" x 16" squares. 
    NOTE: For pillows where it's ALL about the fabric (there are no additional embellishments), we like to cut a pattern from tissue paper or other semi-transparent paper in order to really be able to see the motif and get the very best cuts possible. We then lay a see-through ruler along the edge of the paper and cut with a rotary cutter.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. Place the two squares right sides together, aligning all four raw edges. Pin in place all around, leaving an approximate 7" opening along the bottom edge.
  2. If you have a directional fabric as we did, make sure both sides are facing the proper direction. 
  3. Using a ¼ - ½" seam allowance, sew around all four sides. Remember to pivot at the corners and to lock your seam at both sides of the 7" bottom opening left for turning. 

    NOTE: As we've mentioned throughout our series, you want your pillow cover to finish from ½" - 2" smaller than your pillow insert. Because we wanted a little extra room for a cushier pillow, we opted to stay on the large end of the scale. I used my Janome Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set to get a perfect ¼" seam, which gave me a finished cover size of 15½" x 15½". 
  4. Trim all four corners at a diagonal. For more about corner-cutting, see our tutorial
  5. turn the cover right side out through the opening and press flat.
  6. Turn under the raw edges of the opening used for turning so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin closed.
  7. Insert the pillow form, we used a wonderfuly "smashable" Feather-Fil® insert from Fairfield. Gently fluff it into each corner, working from the farthest side out toward the opening.
  8. Thread a hand-sewing needle with matching thread and slip stitch the opening closed. Use small stitches to keep your work as unnoticeable as possible. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Liz Johnson



Comments (16)

emahmad said:
emahmad's picture

thanks liz, i hope learning  soon to show u my work have a nice day.

emahmad said:
emahmad's picture

hello dear i am emahmad from algeria ,i am a university teacher and like veryyyyyyyyyy much sewing.I bought a sewing machine last week, but i do not have a clue about sewing any suggestions to help me start?

by the way your tutorials are wonderfulllllllllllll

maija said:
maija's picture

a friend had pointed me to your website and i am loving all the tutorials and cant wait to get started on a new project.   

SewingAngel said:
SewingAngel's picture

I found out, the pearls are called styrofoam balls. Poly Pellets would have made the pillow very heavy, because it´s too big.
I re-used the insert of my breastfeeding pillow.


MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

Thanks for the tip about using paper to view fabric for fussy cut.

SewingAngel said:
SewingAngel's picture

Great tutorial. I like the design of the fabric. Pretty birds.
The pillow I would send for the contest (if I lived in the US) would be a ton shaped pillow (14,5 inches long, 7,5 inches diameter) made of one of my elastic shirts. It´s from my save-my-favorites-collection and is filled with tiny while plastic pearls (What do you call them?). I made it for my husband to rest his broken arm on it.
Oh, by the way...Maybe you should mention when to put the insert into the case ;)

Keep sewing

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ SewingAngel - thanks for your idea -- love it. I think what you are describing are "seed beads." And, I did add the "put insert in now" step above. 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ SewingAngel - I have not received an email, which is odd. Try using the "Contact Us" link at the very top of all the pages.