Have a seat! Lightly padded and tufted with soft felt and floss rather than hard buttons, these floor pillows make fast and easy extra seating. If you’re brand new to tufting, a slim style cushion like this is a great first project as there is less bulk to pull through.
To keep the surface as comfy as possible, we decided against button tufting, figuring even small shirt style buttons could create a Princess and the Pea situation when sitting for any length of time.
Instead, we did simple stitch-tufting then covered the resulting knots with cute 1” felt circles in a variety of colors. The center of each felt accent is embroidered with a starburst to give the look of a flower’s center point. The combination of the tufting and the stitching that anchors each accent in place causes the edges of the felt to ruffle slightly, like petals.
You could, of course, change the shape your felt accents as well as the style of the center hand embroidery stitches. You could even eliminate the felt accents altogether and opt for a stitch-tuft at each of the nine points of the tufting grid. We link to our full Tufting Tutorial below should try want to try this alternative.
Although tufting is a hand stitching technique, this fun project is still generously sponsored by Janome America and their amazing collection of home sewing machines, embroidery models, and sergers. It’s one of the things we love about working with our friends at Janome; they care about educating the “whole sewist,” helping provide instruction and inspiration from all angles so you have the confidence to tackle whatever type of project strikes your fancy.
For this project, you will be handling quite a few layers of differing thicknesses. We used Janome’s amazing AcuFeed™ Flex built-in fabric feeding system to keep all these layers moving in perfect precision and unison across the needle plate. Another option is a Walking or Even Feed foot. Whatever your choice, always remember your machine and all your tools are meant to help you achieve good results – they are never meant to frustrate. That’s why we choose Janome every time.
All the layers of high loft batting are stitched directly to the inside of the pillow cover, using a classic upholstery technique you may have seen on padded benches or chairs. The technique keeps the finished cover as a very stable unit. Look at you learning cool upholstery tricks!
For our two floor pillows, we fussy cut a different bold fabric for each front panel but kept the back panels matching. This is a great way to pull the two together as a set.
With simple side seams rather than a side wall or gusset, our floor pillow is a fun beginner friendly project. You could finish several in a single afternoon.
Use them on the floor or pile several on a chair or bench to create a cushy, padded surface. They’d be fun around a low coffee table for family game night or while resting in a sunny corner with a good book.
Our Slim Tufted Floor Pillows finish at approximately 22” x 22”.
Sewing Tools You Need
Sewing machine and standard presser foot
Walking or Even Feed foot; optional, but makes handling the multiple layers easier – you could also engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system, such as the AcuFeed™ Flex system we use on many of our Janome studio machines; it was our choice for this project
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ¾ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight or décor weight fabric for the pillow front
- ¾ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight or décor weight fabric for the pillow back
- ¾ yard of 60”+ wide lightweight interfacing for the front panel
NOTE: Lightweight interfacing options most often come just 20” in width when purchasing by-the-yard. However, Pellon’s Featherweight Fusible is available in a 60” width in one-yard packs. If you are unable to find this option, you can use the 20” option. Buy one yard, then cut the length at 23”, as noted below in the Getting Started section, using the full 20”, then cut additional 3” blocks to piece together to create the full 23” width.
- ¾ yard of 45”+ wide fusible fleece for the front panel; we used 45” Pellon Thermolam Plus fusible fleece
- 4 yards of 30”+ wide high loft batting for the pillow filler; we used Poly-fil Extra Loft quilting batting
NOTE: This type of high loft batting comes in standard “bed sizes” – the “twin size” at 72” x 90” is plenty from which to cut the six required 24” x 24” panels.
- SMALL SCRAPS (our circles are 1” in diameter) of wool felt in a variety of colors to coordinate with your chosen fabric; we used 5 different green tones on one pillow and six different blue tones on the other pillow – the mix is up to you – do use the heavier wool felt as standard craft felt is too flimsy
- ONE skein of Pearl Cotton Embroidery Thread – size 5; we used white – choose a color to accent your felt circles
- Longer hand needle with a large eye for tufting and embroidery accents; look for heavy duty needles or small upholstery/specialty needles
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Small, sharp scissors if cutting felt by hand
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Die cutter for precise circles; optional – but it does insure all the cuts are exactly the same, however, you can certainly cut your own circles free hand or using a small paper pattern – or choose a different shape you like even better
Getting Started and Pattern Download
- Download and print the ONE Corner Guide.
IMPORTANT: You must print this PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rules on the page to confirm your print out is to size.
- From the fabric for the pillow front, fussy cut ONE 23” x 23” square.
- From the fabric for the pillow back, fussy cut ONE 23” x 23” square.
- From the lightweight interfacing, cut ONE 23” x 23” square.
NOTE: As noted above, if you are unable to find the wider interfacing, cut three pieces from a yard of the standard 20” option: one at 20” x 23”, one at 20” x 3”, and one at 3” x 3”
- From the fusible fleece, cut ONE 23” x 23” square.
- From the high loft batting, cut SIX 24” x 24” squares.
NOTE: You can try more or fewer layers of batting if you feel your lofted batting seems different than what we’ve pictured and recommended. Bear in mind that the side seams are standard – there is no side wall. With fewer layers, the finished cover could be too baggy, and with more layers, the seams could start to stretch.
- From your scraps of felt, cut NINE 1” circles – or substitute a different shape of your liking
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Panel marking and fusing
- Gather the three layers that make up the front of the pillow: the fabric panel, the lightweight interfacing panel, and the fusible fleece panel.
- Place the lightweight interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric panel. All edges should be flush.
- Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse from the back…
- … and from the front.
NOTE: Remember, if you are working with the narrower interfacing, you’ll need to fuse three pieces in place to completely cover the wrong side of the front panel.
- Repeat to layer and fuse the the fleece panel in place on top of the fused interfacing.
- Below is our recommended placement grid for the NINE tufting points. Based on the accuracy of your cuts and fusing, you may need to adjust slightly. The key is keep all nine points evenly spaced side to side and top to bottom.
- Create a generous mark with your fabric pen or pencil at each of the nine points on the front panel.
- If you are brand new to tufting, we recommend creating a matching grid on the back fabric panel. In order to keep the pull of the thread even and straight, front and back markings are standard when tufting through thick cushions,, but with this slimmer style, you can get away with just marking the front. What’s that we always say, “Better safe than sorry” ? It just takes a minute longer to mark both sides.
Round the corners and stitch front to back
- Place the fused/marked front right sides together with the back panel.
- Find the Corner Guide and place it in one corner of the layered panels. Pin in place.
- Trim along the outer curve of the Guide.
- Repeat to round the remaining three corners.
- With the front and back rounded layers still right sides together, and all edges flush, pin along all four sides, leaving an approximate 10” opening along the bottom for turning.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all the way around the perimeter. Go slowly along the rounded corners to maintain a smooth and even curve, and remember to lock your seam at either side of the 10” opening.
NOTE: We engaged the Janome AcuFeed™ Flex built in fabric feeding system for the best precision. You could also attach a Walking or Even Feed foot.
- Generously clip each of the corner curves. For more about creating the smoothest of curves, check out our full tutorial.
- Press open the seam allowance, pressing back the raw edges along the 10” opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
Layer and attach the high loft batting
- Find and stack all six layers of high loft batting.
- Find the pillow cover, which should still be wrong side out.
- Set the sewn cover back side up and centered on the stack of batting.
- Pin the cover in place, keeping your pins inside the seam line so the seam allowance is free all around.
- Using a machine basting stitch, sew all way around through all the layers, running the seam just outside the sewn seam, which means you are stitching on one side of the flattened seam allowance. Again, it is best to engage your machine’s built-in fabric feeding system or attach a Walking or Even Feed foot.
- Trim back the batting as close to the seam as possible around the entire perimeter.
- Turn the cover right side out through the opening.
- Reach inside the cover and gently round out each curved corner with your finger or a long, blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turn.
- Fold back the raw edges of the opening along their original creases (the pressing you did prior to turning the cover right side out). Pin the opening closed, then hand stitch using a tiny ladder/slip stitch.
NOTE: Our tufting was done as a two-step process: first tufting with the floss, then securing a pre-embroidered felt circle over each tufted point. The process will be the same whether you use a circle as we did or choose another shape. You can, of course, also choose to change the look of the center pre-stitched embroidery. Finally, you could decide to eliminate the felt accent altogether and use a single X stitch tuft at each point. We do not recommend button tufting – even with tiny buttons – with this slim style, the buttons are likely to be uncomfortable for sitting. For more details about various types of tufting, check out our full tutorial on the technique.
- Find the nine felt accents.
- Thread the large needle with a single strand of pearl cotton and pre-stitch your chosen hand embroidery pattern.
- We used a simple 8-point starburst.
- Repeat on each of the nine felt circles.
- Set aside the pre-stitched circles.
- Flip the floor pillow right side up so your original NINE marked tufting points are visible.
- Cut a length of pearl cotton about 10-12”.
- Double the pearl cotton and pull it through the needle, but do not knot the ends.
- Insert the needle into a marked point from the front side of the pillow. Leave, and hold onto, a tail of about 5” in length.
- At one marked point, push the needle through to the back of the pillow. Pull the needle through, but make sure you still have that 5” tail extending out the other side.
- Move approximately ⅛ – ¼” and insert the needle back into the pillow, pushing it back through to the front.
- Repeat once more, remembering to keep that original 5” tail.
- Slip off the needle and pull the ends of the pearl cotton taut, creating the depression of the tuft. The tightness of the tuft is a matter of personal preference, however, the fibers of the floss and the fabric are likely to loosen with time, so it’s best to pull nice and tight. Tie the ends together into a square knot. Pull taunt and tie a second time.
- Trim the ends close to the knot. The pre-stitched felt accent will be covering the knot.
- Tuft each of the nine points in this same manner.
- Once all the tufting is complete, re-thread the heavy needle with a single strand of pearl cotton, knotting one end. Find all the pre-stitched felt accents.
- Secure the single strand of pearl cotton around the tufted knot. Don’t go all the way through the cushion; you are simple anchoring the strand around the knot through the top layer of the pillow. Bring the strand from the back, through the center of the felt circle’s starburst, then loop down again through to the back side of the felt.
- Pull taut and knot twice under the felt. Clip the ends so they are hidden behind the felt. It’s a bit like sewing a shank style button in place.
- The outer edges of the felt circle may gather up a bit. This is fine and, along with the center embroidery, creates the look of a little flower.
- Repeat to attach a felt circle to each of the remaining eight tufted points.
- As mentioned above, should you wish to eliminate the felt accents, you’ll want to create a simple X tuft. Follow the steps of our full tufting tutorial for this option.
Project Design: Anne Adams
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild