Border prints are exactly what they sound like they’d be: a wide motif band running the entire length of the top and/or the bottom of a fabric’s design. A border print provides built-in drama along the edge of your chosen project, and is often used in garment sewing for skirts or in home décor for curtain panels. We’ve turned that traditional idea on end, literally. We show you how to cut squares from within just the border itself, then rotate those squares to form a woven effect at the center of a pretty pillow. The pillow back uses the remaining non-border fabric. We added pom pom trim around the edge for an extra bit o’ bounce.
Our original border print comes is from the SoHo Bandana collection by Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction. This is an older collection that can be difficult to source, but searching your favorite online or in-store fabric retailer is sure to reveal many other border print options.
Our pillow finishes at approximately 17″ x 17″, excluding the poms.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Quarter Inch Seam foot; optional, but helpful; we used all ¼” seams
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1 yard of a 44″+ wide cotton border print fabric with a border that is approximately 9″; we originally used Border Stripe in Green from the Soho Bandana collection by Indygo Junction for Red Rooster Fabrics
- ½ yard of 45″+ wide medium-weight fusible interfacing; we used Decor-Bond by Pellon
- ½ yard or scrap (you need a 17½” x 17½” square) of lightweight batting
- 2¼ yards of standard size pom pom trim to coordinate with the fabric: we used white ball fringe
- THREE ⅞” – 1″ coordinating buttons; we used ⅞” buttons in white
- ONE 18″ x 18″ pillow insert
NOTE: This is a very “full” pillow; our cover actually finishes under 18″ square, but the pillow fluffs out into the space and presents a pleasing look. If you’d prefer a looser fit, you could opt for a smaller pillow insert.
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- From the border print area of the fabric, fussy cut FOUR 9″ x 9″ squares.
NOTE: It might help to make a transparent 9″ x 9″ paper pattern so you can get exactly matching fussy cuts on all four squares. If your border is a width that does not accommodate a 9″ square, you’ll need to adjust the dimensions throughout.
- From the remaining fabric, cut the following:
ONE 13″ wide x 17½” high rectangle
ONE 15″ wide x 17½” high rectangle
- From the lightweight batting, cut ONE 17½” x 17½” square.
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 13″ wide x 17½” high rectangle
ONE 15″ wide x 17½” high rectangle
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the border squares on a flat surface. Rotate the squares a quarter turn each way to match our sample shown below. You have two rows of two squares.
- Place each row (each pair) right sides together. Pin along the inside raw edges.
NOTE: It’s important to keep track of the direction of your squares. If you accidentally rotate a square out of its original position, the “woven effect” will be off.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch each seam. Press the seam allowances open and flat.
- Open out both rows and place them back into position. Make sure the rotation pattern of the squares matches the original layout.
- Place the two rows right sides together. Align the vertical seams. Pin along what will be the center horizontal seam.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the seam. Press the seam allowance open and flat.
- Find the 17½” x 17½” square of batting. Place it flat on your work surface. Lay the pillow front, right side up, on top of the batting. The two layers should be flush on all four sides. Trim the batting to fit if needed. Pin the layers together.
NOTE: The batting layer smooths out the patchwork seams of the front panel and offers some soft dimension.
- Find the pom pom trim. Starting at the center of one side, pin the trim in place on the right side of the pillow front. The trim’s insertion tape is flush with the raw edge of the fabric and the poms are facing the center of the fabric. Overlap the head and tail of the trim. Cut off any excess poms at this overlap.
NOTE: If you are new to attaching pom trim, we have a beginner option in which you attach the trim in four separate sections. Check out our Xtra EZ Tufted Pom Pillow for the details.
- Machine baste the poms in place around the the entire perimeter, using a ¼” seam allowance.
- Find the two back panels and the two pieces of interfacing. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse an appropriately-size interfacing panel to the wrong side of each fabric panel.
NOTE: This gives stability to the quilting weight cotton and balances with the fleece and cotton layers of the front panel.
- On the 13″ x 17½” piece, make a 2½” hem along the 17½” inside edge. To do this, fold back the raw edge ½” and press.
NOTE: If your fabric is not directional, you may not have an “official” inside edge. In this case, simply pick one 17½” side as your overlapping inside edge.
- Fold back an additional 2″ and press again.
- Topstitch in place 1¾” from the folded edge. This insures you will be close to the inside edge of the back hem.
- Repeat to create a hem on the 15″ x 17½” panel, but use a 4″ hem along its inside edge. To do this, fold back 2″ and press, then fold back an additional 2″ and press again. Topstitch in place 1¾” from the folded edge.
- The panel with the 4″ hem is the buttonhole panel. The additional layer in this hem adds to the stability of the buttonholes. Mark the position of the three buttonholes so they will be centered within the hemmed panel. One buttonhole is at the exact center (from top to bottom) of the panel. The other two buttonholes are 4¼” down from the top raw edge and 4¼” up from the bottom raw edge. There will be approximately 3½” between the finished buttonholes.
- Following the manual for your machine, create three vertical buttonholes within this hemmed edge at your marked points. When you cut the buttonholes open, cut in a little from each edge towards the center. This is better than trying to cut them open with one action, which often leads to cutting into the buttonhole stitching.
- Find both finished panels. With both facing right side up, overlap the panels and adjust them to yield the correct finished width and height (to match your front 17½” x 17½” panel). The two hemmed inside edges should overlap one another. The buttonholes should be on top; the plain panel on the bottom.
- Pin the two panels together.
- Place a pin at the exact center point of each buttonhole.
- Make a mark on the opposite panel at this pin point. These points are where you should sew on the buttons.
- Button the panels together.
- Working as close to the raw edges as possible at both the top and bottom raw edges, baste the overlap together to secure and create one piece. It will be easier to work with one piece instead of two when you stitch front to back.
Assembling the layers to finish
- Make sure the back panel is unbuttoned.
- Place the finished front and back panels right sides together. Carefully align all the raw edges and pin in place around all four sides.
- Stitch together through all layers around all four sides, using a ¼” seam allowance. Go slowly and make sure your layers stay flat. Pivot at all the corners.
- Clip all the corners at a diagonal, but be careful to not cut into your seam, and be careful not to damage any of the poms.
- Turn the pillow cover right side out through the back button opening. Use a long, blunt-end tool, such as a knitting needle or chopstick to smooth out the corners and push the poms out into position.
- Insert your pillow form through the button opening and fluff it out into the corners.
- Button the pillow closed.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild