Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Ornament Pillow Tutorial

{I am re-posting this tutorial to my blog so that I can add it to my tutorial links.}

Finished size - 16" x 24"
Techniques - Straight line quilting and raw-edge applique
Skill Level - Confident beginner

There's nothing like festive pillows to add a holiday touch to your decor. This one sews up so quickly, there is time to make one for yourself and some for gifts! I have made this one in bright, modern Christmas colors, but it would be just as pretty in traditional holiday or vintage fabrics.

Read through all the directions before starting.

Gather the Supplies:

Fabrics:  3/8 yards for background
              3/8 yards for pillow back
              5" strip of a striped fabric
              scraps of six holiday prints, at least 5" square (Charm squares are great for this!!)
              scrap 1 1/2" x 6" for ornament tops
              3 1/2" strip for zipper flap
              5" strip for binding

quilt batting, 18" x 30" remnant
Paper backed fusible web, such as Pellon Wonder Under
one yard 1/16" ribbon
18" zipper
basic sewing supplies

All seam allowances are 1/4"

Let's Begin:

For the background, cut a piece of fabric 12 1/2" x 24 1/2".  Cut two pieces of the stripe, 2 1/2" x 24 1/2". Sew a strip of the stripe to the top and bottom edge of the background.  Lay the piece on the quilt batting and baste. I like to spray baste small projects like this.

Quilt straight lines across the pillow front.  Have fun with this, vary the widths and don't be too concerned with keeping them perfectly straight.

For each ornament, cut a piece of paper-backed fusible web, and fuse to the wrong side. I like to cut the fusible web slightly smaller than the fabric.

You can use anything you have on hand to cut the circles. I have some templates left over from my scrapbooking days that work great, but jar lids, drinking cups or paper templates will work just fine. Trace and cut with scissors. Again, the circle doesn't need to be too perfect.

Use this picture as a guide for your circle sizes, but feel free to vary them as you wish. Just try to have a mix of small, medium and large circles.

Remove the paper backing from the fusible web and fuse the circles into place on to the background.

Applique the circles in place using a raw-edge technique. You can use a thread that blends in or contrasts - I went with white on this pillow, but red or hot pink would be cool, too! Start at the top, about 1/8" from the raw edge and travel around the circle as many times as you wish to achieve the required result. I like to go around three times. Remember, it is supposed to be free-form and irregular so don't go right on top of the stitches already there.

For circles that are overlapped by another circle, stop with your needle down, pivot and go back in the other direction.

For the ornament tops, cut a piece of the fusible web 1 1/2" x 6" and fuse to the wrong side of your fabric. Cut rectangles to fit your ornaments - mine are 1 1/4" x 1" for the larger ornaments and 1" x 3/4" for the smaller ones. Don't fuse these to the pillow yet.

Using a straight edge, lightly draw lines for the ribbon placement and cut ribbons at least 2" longer than the lines. 

Thread the ribbon through a large tapestry needle an insert into the seam between the stitches. Leave a tail of 2".

Lay the ribbon on the line and place the ornament top piece on top. Fuse in place.

Applique around the edges of the ornament tops and then sew down the center of the ribbons. Trim the batting so that the pillow measures 16 1/2" x 24 1/2".

Finish It Up:

My favorite way to make a pillow back is with a zipper and a contrasting zipper flap. My go-to tutorial for this is at Sew Mama Sew, here. For this pillow, cut the pieces 18 x 16 1/2" and 7 1/2" x 16 1/2". Cut the contrast flap 16 1/2" x 3.5". Just for fun, I used a red zipper!!

Baste the front and back pieces wrong sides together. Cut two binding strips, 2 1/2" x width of fabric and bind the pillow as you would a quilt. Hand sew the binding in place on the back of the pillow.

Stuff it with a pillow insert and enjoy your handiwork!!

Just a note - I like to buy feather pillow inserts at Pottery Barn, they sell a 16" x 26" one that is perfect for this pillow.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.

Happy Sewing,
Tessa Marie

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  1. Tessa, this is so cute! I love your clear instructions and pictures. Thank you!
    Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

  2. Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I love this pillow! i have been looking for a tutorial to make something like this for a while and the colours you have used here are so nice! You are a very talented artist.
    I will be making this tonight after work. I am so excited! Thanks again

  3. I followed you here from Finish it Up Friday over at Amanda Jean's and have added you to my Bloglovin'. You have a wonderful style and color sense, and it's clear you're very generous with your tutorials!! I still have Christmas ideas on the brain and adore this pillow -- simple and chic! -- so have bookmarked it in hopes of making some for myself, friends and family for Christmas 2014!


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