It’s always fun to buzz around on our Pinterest boards to discover which projects are trending as most-popular-repins. These three tiny toss pillows are today’s winners. Like cherries on top of your favorite sundae, they add just the right dash of color and shape to a romantic bedroom retreat. Black velvet piping unites the two square and one round pillows. Using a consistent accent color like this is a great trick for bringing together a variety of fabrics. We used cuts from Tula Pink’s The Birds & The Bees and Amy Butler’s Cameo, proving there are no rules about using just one designer collection at a time! Both fabric selections have bold motifs that play off one another, and each contains hints of colors (blue, chartreuse and rose) that spotlight the same shades within the surrounding bed linens.
Remember those famous girl groups of the 1950s? Our pillows are also a harmonious three-part set: the lead ruffle pillow and the two square back-up pillows. The list below spells out the ingredients needed to make all three for a perfect blend. We’ve recommended full yard cuts, which will mean a bit of excess, but which will also allow you the freedom to fussy cut your pieces as needed.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any sewing machine (we recommend the Janome New Home Memory Craft 7700 QCP)
- Zipper foot
- Walking foot (optional, but very helpful for the multiple layers of the round pillow)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of 44-45″ wide cotton fabric for the round ruffled pillow; we used Meteor Shower in Sunset from The Birds & The Bees by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics
- 1 yard of 44-45″ wide cotton fabric for the two square pillows; we used Tea Rose in Scarlet from Cameo by Amy Butler for Rowan Fabrics
- ⅓ yard of 60″ wide stretch velvet fabric for the piping on both pillows as well as the covered button on the round pillow; we used black stretch velvet
NOTE: We used straight cuts of the stretch velvet for both our square and round pillows. It had enough stretch to curve around the corners of the square pillows as well as the inside circle of the round pillow without a bias cut. If you do not use stretch velvet, you will need additional fabric to make cuts on the bias. Read more about piping in our tutorial: How To Make & Attach Your Own Piping.
- Two 14″ x 14″ square Fairfield Soft Touch pillow forms
- One 14″ round Fairfield Soft Touch pillow form
- Two 1½” covered button kits
- 5 yards of ⅜” piping cord
- All-purpose thread to match fabrics
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- From the fabric for the round ruffled pillow (Meteor Shower in Sunset in our sample) use an appropriately-sized pot lid or dish to cut the following:
TWO 14″ circles
TWO 7″ x WOF: width of fabric strips (trim the selvedge from both ends)
NOTE: If you don’t have anything on hand that is a 14″ circle, take a look at our Here Comes The Sun pillow tutorial, which shows you have to make a circle pattern using a pencil and string.
- From the fabric for the two square pillows (Tea Rose in Scarlet in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 15″ x 15″ squares
TWO 13″ wide x 15″ high rectangles
TWO 12″ wide x 15″ rectangles
- From the stretch velvet, cut FOUR 1¾” x WOF strips. From one strip, cut TWO 9″ strips. From another strip, cut ONE 43″ length.
NOTE: If you want to be super economical, you could get just ¼ yard of stretch velvet and cut THREE 1¾” x WOF strips. Leave two full-length and cut the third into three pieces: two at 8½” and one at 42½”. You have slightly less to work with to attach your piping, but if you are a piping-pro, it will hardly be noticeable.
- Cut the piping cord into two 68″ lengths and one 43″ length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the back panels
- Find the four back rectangles.
- On each, fold and press one 15″ side to the back by 1″, then fold and press an additional 1″.
NOTE: These are the inside edges that will overlap. If your fabric is directional, lay the pieces side by side to insure you are hemming the correct inside edges.
- Edgestitch in place along the inside folded edge of each to create a 2″ clean finished hem.
NOTE: If you are new to hemming, check out our technique tutorial: How To Make A Simple Hem.
- Separate the hemmed pieces into two sets of two.
- Overlap the hems to yield the correct finished width (15″ in our sample). Pin the hems together at the top and bottom.
- Working as close to the edge as possible, machine baste the hems together at the top and bottom to secure and create one piece. This is just a short seam, along the very edge, to hold the two panels together; it’s easier to work with one piece to stitch front to back.
Make and attach the piping
- If you are new to piping, take a look at our tutorial: How To Make & Attach Your Own Piping.
- Find the TWO full-length velvet strips, the two 9″ strips and the two 68″ lengths of cording.
- Pin a full length strip right sides together with a 9″ strip along one 1¾” end to create one 68″ strip. Stitch together using a ½” seam allowance. Repeat to create two 68″ lengths of velvet.
- Place one 68″ strip right side down on a large flat surface.
- Lay one 68″ length of cord in the center.
- Fold the fabric over the cord, keeping the cord centered and matching the raw edges of the fabric.
- Pin to hold in place.
- Carefully move to your sewing machine and adjust the piping so the raw edges line up on your seam allowance marking, and cord pokes out to the left of your foot.
- Using the Zipper foot, stitch slowly staying close to the cord and keeping your seam allowance as consistent as possible. Remember to remove any pins as you go.
- Find the two front squares. Starting at the middle of the bottom edge, pin a length of piping around all four sides of the RIGHT side of each front panel. Align the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the fabric.
- The 68″ length should be enough to go all the way around and to leave approximately 2″ free at both the beginning and the end. Use lots of pins as you go; the velvet likes to shift.
- Curve the piping around the corners. It may help to clip the seam allowance as you go around the curve to make the piping lay flat. Clip up to the line of piping stitching, but not through it. Simply make as many clips as you need to make a smooth curve. This is called “easing” – the little cuts give the otherwise rigid line the flexibility to curve.
- Using your Zipper foot or Narrow Base Zipper foot, machine baste the piping in place, using a ⅜” seam allowance, removing the pins as you go. At the corners, you are stitching around a curve, so you’ll need to gently ease the fabric as you go. This means it might ripple slightly. That’s okay.
- Continue sewing your piping in place until you are back to where you started. Leave the “tails” free.
Assemble front to back and finish the piping ends
- Place your pillow back piece and your pillow front piece right sides together, matching the raw edges all around. Leave an opening at the piping tails.
- Using your Zipper foot or Narrow Base Zipper foot, stitch a ½” seam around all four edges of the pillow, stay as close to the piping as your foot will allow. You can also back-tack three to four stitches around each corner to reinforce.
- Remember to stop and lock your seam on either side of the opening over the piping tails.
- Remove the pillow cover from the machine. Pull apart the layers at the opening over the piping tails.
- Peel back the fabric to expose the cording underneath.
- Trim the ends of cording tails so they exactly meet and lay flat against the pillow front fabric.
- Fold under one end of the piping fabric to create a clean edge. Wrap this folded end under and around the opposite end, overlapping about ½”.
- Lay the overlapped piping flat against the pillow front fabric within the seam allowance. Pin the opening closed, making sure the raw edges are still flush.
- Stitch in place, matching the existing seam line.
- Again, we have a great tutorial you can review: How to Make and Attach Your Own Piping.
NOTE: If you are new to piping, we would suggest finishing the ends of your piping on the flat front piece rather than between the layers at the end. This is how the process in described in our beginners tutorial and how we chose to do it on the round pillow below. Both methods work equally well… so now you have a choice.
- Find the two 14″ diameter circles. Fold each into quarters to find the center.
- Mark this center point on both circles.
- Using the same technique as above (and referring to our piping tutorial as needed), create a 43″ length of piping and pin it in place around one circle. This will become the pillow back circle.
- Machine baste the piping in place (again, as described above and in our tutorial), and finish the ends.
- Find the two 7″ ruffle strips.
- Pin the two strips right side together along both 7″ ends.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch together to create one continuous loop.
- Fold this loop in half, wrong sides together. Press well.
- If you have a fabric that ravels easily, finish the raw edges with a machine finishing stitch or a serger.
- Run a gathering stitch along the entire circumference approximately ⅜” from the raw edges.
NOTE: If you are new to gathering, we just happen to have a nice tutorial on the subject here.
- Gather the ruffle to fit around the perimeter of the fabric circle.
- Pin the ruffle in place on the back circle (the circle onto which you machine basted the piping), aligning the raw edges of all the layers.
- Use plenty o’ pins (remembering, of course, to remove them as you sew).
- Machine baste the ruffle in place, using a ⅜” seam allowance.
NOTE: We used our Walking foot for this step and worked with the ruffles on top, which we feel is the best option for handling all these layers.
- Place the plain pillow front circle right sides together with the pillow back circle, sandwiching the piping and the ruffle between the layers, and leaving an approximate 5″ opening for turning.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch through ALL the layers, remembering to lock your stitch at either side of the approximate 5″ opening.
NOTE: We used our Walking foot again for this seam. Very helpful!
- Turn the pillow right side out through the opening and pull out the ruffle all around.
- Insert the pillow form into place through the opening.
- Fold under the raw edge of the opening so it is flush with the sewn seam. Pin in place. Thead the hand sewing needle with thread to best match the fabric and slip stitch the opening closed.
- Using the the button cover kits and the velvet scraps leftover from creating the piping, create two covered buttons.
- Using the original center point marks on the front and back of the pillow, stitch the covered buttons in place.
- If you are new to making covered buttons, review our easy tutorial on making them and stitching them in place.
Official bed-tester, Chloe hopped up during the shoot to make sure all was in order. She declared it, “puuuurrrrrfect!”
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild