Even though it's really tricky to spell, corduroy is cool. It adds interest to any project and comes to loads of wonderful colors, like Turquoise, 2010's Color of the Year. We took corduroy's terrific texture to the next level by spinning the wale to create an awesome center diamond, then we kicked out the corners by turning those famous fabric ridges in yet another direction. We did all this without getting dizzy. A beautiful silver button through the middle adds the finishing touch. It's just one plain fabric, but by being playful with the design, it's certainly not just one plain pillow.
For more about this year's top color, read our article and see some of our favorite turquoise fabrics. This pillow was made as a companion to our Turquoise 2010: Pendleton Wool Chipara Throw. Make them both... because we think they'd be lonely without one another.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome DC4030)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of medium wale corduroy (extra fabric is needed because we're cutting the wale at various precise angles): we used Sew Classic Corduroy 8 Wale in Turquoise
NOTE: Corduroy's wale count per inch can vary from 1.5 (wide) to 21 (super skinny) with the standard falling between 10 and 12. So our 8 Wale was a chubby medium.
- One 12" x 22" pillow form
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- Button or carpet thread (for buttons)
- Two decorative shank buttons
- Hand sewing needle
- Specialty hand sewing upholstery and/or curved needle (optional)
- Chalk or marking pen
- See-through ruler
- ½ yard pattern paper (find it at Nancy's Notions)
Note: Regular drawing paper would work as well, it just needs to be large enough to cut one full rectangle to start with.
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Cut the back rectangle for your pillow at 13" x 23" with the 13" sides parallel to the wale of the corduroy. Set aside.
Make your pattern
- Cut a piece of pattern or drawing paper 13" x 23".
- Fold the paper in half in both directions. Draw over the fold lines with a pen or pencil so you can see them better.
- Fold in each corner at a 45° angle. The corner's side should line up with the center crease perfectly. Crease the corners and mark the folds with a pen or pencil.
- Now, you may have a mind like a steel trap, Smarty Pants, but I think it's a good idea to write along each fold, "+ ½ " so you don't forget to add your seam allowance for each inside seam. The seam allowances are only needed along the folded lines - the inside seams. Our outside final dimension of 13" x 23" already includes ½" seam allowances to create the finished 12" x 22" cover for the pillow form we've purchased. So, by writing on each piece, you also keep track of which sides you DON'T add to.
- On each CORNER piece, mark the direction of the wale, which should be parallel to the short side.
- On each INSIDE piece, also mark the direction of the wale, which is parallel to the 45° fold.
- Cut along each fold.
Cut out your pieces
- Pin all four corner pattern pieces to the corduroy, making sure to line up the direction of the wale with the line you drew on your pattern.
- Using your see-through ruler and fabric chalk/pen, add the ½" seam allowance to each piece along the diagonal edge only.
- Cut out all four corner pieces.
- Pin all four inner pattern pieces to the corduroy making sure to line up the direction of the wale with the line on your pattern. I know I'm being repetitive about this, but in order to create the cool diamond pattern in the center of the pillow and the contrasting texture on the corners, you HAVE to get the wale going in the right direction. So, I'll continue to wail about the wale (sorry... I couldn't resist that).
- Add the ½" seam allowance to THREE sides of each inner piece. Ahhhh... please ignore my broken ruler in the photo below... it still works great, up to a point.
- Before starting construction, lay out all of your pieces to make sure the wale is indeed going in the right direction, and to confirm you've added all the appropriate seam allowances. Overlap your seam allowances in order to check the overall 13" x 23" measurement.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Pair up your two sets of top and bottom inner pieces.
- Pin each top and bottom set right sides together along the long straight side.
- Stitch each set together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press open.
- Take your two top/bottom units and pin them together to create your middle pillow seam. Making sure the centers are matching perfectly.
NOTE: Why am I picking on you again about perfection? Because you are creating a beautiful diamond pattern out of these four center pieces with the wales all lining up across the seams at 45˚ angles. If, and only if, you are super careful... it will look very, very cool.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press open.
- Pin one corner to each corresponding bottom diagonal edge.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press open.
NOTE: You'll notice that the corner points stick out of the seam allowance. Don't worry. That's correct. That's what happens when you are stitching angles to straight edges. It's part of the seam allowance, and when everything is sewn together, it will look perfect.
- Repeat to attach the top two corners.
- Retrieve the pillow back piece you set aside so long ago.
- Pin to the completed pillow front, around all four sides, leaving a 6" opening along one long side.
- Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance, and leaving that 6" opening... open.
- Clip corners
- Turn pillow cover right side out and insert pillow form.
- Thread a hand sewing needle with matching thread.
- Slip stitch opening.
- Using a long needle (either a 4-6" dollmaker's needle or a 4-6" upholstery needle works well) 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.
- Using a smaller hand sewing needle (a curved needle also works well) stitch a button to the exact center point of each side of the pillow. Do one button and then the other; don't try to stitch both buttons at once.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation & Instructional Editing: Jacqueline Smerek