Sunday, November 25, 2012

HoHoHo! A fun Christmas pillow tutorial!

It’s Christmas decorating time!  One of the fun ways to decorate for the Holidays is changing our sofa pillows to reflect our Holiday décor.  But pillows can be pricey, and when I only use them for a month, I don’t want to invest a lot of money.   So this year, I’m making my own.

Do you sew?  It’s one of my joys to be able to sew my own home textile décor. 

But this tutorial is for those of you who DON’T sew.  This tutorial is for YOU, Heather!  My sweet sewing challenged daughter!

Pillows are a great way to start your sewing “career.”  Okay……occasional sewing experience……..  Heather’s complaint in the past has been that she can’t seem to cut anything straight.  You know……like an 18”x18” square turns out like a lop-sided mess.  Smile  Since you’ll be the occasional seamstress, my dear daughter, I know you don’t want to invest a lot of money.  The solution is easy……..either choose burlap, where you can measure, make a little snip, and the choose a thread closest to your snip and pulllll.  This leaves a perfect mark where the thread used to be for you to cut out your pillow shape.  OR……use a fabric that tears easily……like the canvas that I choose for this project.  But be careful, some fabrics can stretch and snag when you tear them.  Cottons are best.

So…’ve decided what size you want your pillow…..mine is a 22x22…..and cut your two pieces.  Front and back.

Here’s an easy thing to remember when “building” your pillow…… all decoration will be sewn on the pillow front.

So……I decided on an easy peasy tree theme.


Choose your colors and cut your trees and tree trunks.  Free hand everything.  Our pillow is going to be “whimsical” so we don’t want perfection anyway.  I choose different textures and patterns from my scrap fabrics since I was going with a neutral palette.  Felts work well also.  Pin you trees and tree trunks to your pillow front and then sew on using the zig zag stitch on your machine.

Now for the trim.  You can purchase trim, or you can make your own like I did.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have been obsessed with this cute trim from BEYOND THE SCREEN DOOR.


I choose two colors of seam binding and two different gray yarns for my trim.  I then tore a two inch piece of linen to sew my trim to and then looped and sewed and looped and sewed until I had enough trim for my entire pillow.   I can hear Heather saying “uuhh…..yeah Mom….I think I’ll skip this step.  And that’s okay too. 

Since this is a “do as I say, not as I do” tutorial, do not attach your trim yet.  WHAT was I thinking. 

INSTEAD, it’s time to make the tops for our trees.

I used the loopy yarn.


Wrap a piece around your fingers about three times and cut. 


Lay your circle of yarn on top of each tree.  Pin and sew down.  A little tricky, but you can do it!


And here’s your tree tops.  But still lacking for something.


So I cut a flower for each tree out of this lace ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  And since this is a Christmas pillow, I also used a little silver glitter yarn between my circle and my flower.  You know…..just to give it a little extra Christmas “glam".”  Again, pin and sew.


Difficult to see in the pic. but the silver yarn not only peeks out from underneath your flower, but because the flower is sheer, it also gives it a little glitter underneath.

NOW… can sew on your trim.  SOOO easy.  Trim seems to intimidate most beginners but it’s really simple.  Lay your trim down so that the pretty part  is face down and  faces the middle of your pillow and the raw edge is against the raw edge of your pillow front.   The main thing to remember is pin, pin, pin.  Right around the edges of your pillow front.   Then sew.  You can use a basting stitch for this if you wish to.  You still have to attach your back.


So…’s your finished pillow front.  Now it’s time to attach your back.

With your pillow front laying face up, flip all of that pretty trim toward the middle, lay the back on top.  Good side of the front to good side of the back.  Think of it as a sandwich, with all of the goodies in the middle!


Just like this!  Then begin pinning.


make sure that all of that bulky trim is on the inside so that it doesn’t get caught in your seams.  A standard seam is 5/8”.  Either stitch right over the stitch you used to attach your trim, or even a little more toward the middle of the pillow.  You just don’t want any raw edges of your trim to show.

Leave an opening about the same width as your hand at the bottom if you are going to use poly fill for your pillow.  OR leave the entire bottom of your pillow open if you have chosen a down form.  Turn your pillow right side out, make sure that none of your trim is caught in the seams.  Give your self a HUGE pat on the back! 

NOW…..stuff or add your pillow form and hand stitch the bottom closed.  Give yourself ANOTHER huge pat on the back and place your awesome designer looking “I would have paid a fortune for this if it had been at Pottery Barn!” pillow on your sofa or chair.


You are AMAZING dahling!……Smile


Oh….and you also made the coffee sack pillow on the right.  Same method, except the trim is made from scrap pieces of fabric.  Like the rag garlands.

Hope this tutorial was at least a  little  clearer than mud and inspired you to create something pretty.



  1. What an awesome tute Denise! I love your darling Christmas pillow!
    sending hugs...

  2. Very pretty...I like to sew but I hate dragging the sewing machine out - so I don't do it very much. I have to be REALLY motivated to get it out and set it up. But I would enjoy making some of these.


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