The Dahlia Pillow Tutorial
January 28, 2014 in Projects
It’s finally here, the how-to-make-this-pillow tutorial!
For this pillow, you’ll need:
- A 16″ x 16″ square cut fabric for the pillow front (I made a 15″ x 15″ finished pillow…so, if you do a larger or smaller pillow, just add an inch to the width and length to cut your fabric measurements)
- For a Centered Zipper (follow link to tutorial), you’ll need 2 rectangles of fabric measuring: 8.5″ x 16″ and a regular polyester zipper (about 3″ shorter than finished measurement…so, I got a 12″ zipper)
-For an Invisible Zipper (follow link to tutorial), you’ll need to cut your pillow back the same size as your front (for this tutorial, I cut the back at 16″ x 16″) and an invisible zipper (about 14″ for a 15″ finished pillow)
- A Pillow Form (for this tutorial, it’s a 15″ x 15″ pillow form)
- For the flower…if you are using a serger to gather your flower (purple flower on the pillow above), you’ll need a 1/2 yard (of 45″ fabric), the Serger Ruffling Foot (recommended), 3 spools of serger thread. If you’re using a sewing machine only and the Ruffler Foot or by gathering (as shown by the pink flower above, you’ll need 1.5 yards of fabric (the gather is fuller with the pink flower).
- A button or embellishment for the flower center…I recommend a 1 1/4″ or larger button or embellishment (found a really cute one from Hobby Lobby for the pink pillow)
- Lastly, all purpose sewing thread
1. First, you’ll need to cut 7 strips at 2″ each (for serger gathering) or 13 strips at 4″ each (for sewing machine gathering). I just kept my fabric folded as it came off the bolt and cut my strips from it (now, if it came off the bolt unevenly, iron it back in place before cutting).
2. Sew all of your strips together to create one long continuous strip.
3. Then, to avoid fraying on these short seams, I just used the pinking sheers and pressed the seams open.
4. Now, I will show you how to gather with the serger (skip down to step 8 to see the sewing machine gathering instructions). First, we’ll need to finish one side of your strip (and then, we’ll gather the other side) With the serger, we’re going to stitch a 3-Thread Overlock Narrow Hem (or you could use the 3-Thread Overlock-Rolled Edge if you don’t have that stitch on your serger) on the entire outer edge of one side of this long strip of fabric. The pictures below show the settings from my Baby Lock Evolution for the 3-Thread Overlock Narrow Hem (Stitch Width: 3.5, Stitch Length: Rolled Hem 1.5, Stitch Selector: C).
5. Serge along one edge of the long strip (try not to cut into your fabric).
6. Gather and serge the other side of your long strip. For best results, use the accessory Baby Lock serger Ruffler Foot. Below are the ruffling/gathering stitch settings for my Baby Lock Evolution Serger (Pictures in order: Baby Lock Serger Ruffler Foot, Stitch Selector: B, Stitch Width: 5, Stitch Length: Standard 4, Differential Feed: 2.0).
7. And ruffle the remaining raw edge! It may help your fabric to ruffle up a bit more if you place your finger behind the foot to encourage the fabric to bunch up more (and so, you don’t pull it through stretching it out at all).
8. If you’ve just ruffled by serger, skip to step 10. Now, I’ll show you ruffling by sewing machine. Ok, so you have thirteen 4″ strips and have sewn them all together (to create your really long strip), pinked the short seams, and pressed them open flat. Now, press your long strip in half width-wise, so that your long strip is 2″ wide. (Side note about picture below: I had used 2″ strips and serged the one side, yours will be folded in half…and the fold will be the outer edge of your flower). I recommend using the Sewing Machine Ruffler Foot (see more information here) or you can gather using this tutorial. Place the raw edges of your folded strip under your Ruffler Foot (or gather the raw edge with either of these methods to desired fullness). The settings on my Baby Lock Ruffler Foot were Gather per every 1 stitch at a 2 or 3 depth with a 3.0mm sewing machine stitch length.
Also, side note…when I ruffle with the Ruffler Foot, I turn my speed to medium and pedal to the medal most of the time (then, I don’t end up going too fast).
9. Gather, gather, gather…I love gathering!
Lot’s of gathered fabric…
10. Ok, now, we need to draw lots of circles on our pillow front to have a sewing guide! Draw a 9″ circle and then, circles every 1/2″ inward (I used a homemade protractor with a pin, sewing measuring gage, and marker/pencil).
11. Then, I took my gathered strip and started sewing my ruffle on, lining up the inner edge with my outer line. This part actually doesn’t take very long…I didn’t even pin, I just lined up as I went.
12. Once you complete a circle, overlap about 1-2″ and then, move your ruffle strip in to the next circle.
And, keep on sewing!
13. Once you start getting to the inner 5 or 6 rows, encourage your fabric to gather more as the circles are tighter and will pull on the outer edge of your ruffled strip (so, we want to avoid that).You may need to take it out and pin (encouraging a fuller gather by scrunching more fabric in) as you get really close and then, stitch in place.
14. Clip the end off when necessary and pin to look presentable. Stitch in place (it doesn’t have to look pretty…as long as it will be concealed by the button).
15. Now, let’s sew that button on…you can hand sew it on, but, you can also (more awesome-ly) sew the button on with your button sewing foot (see here for more information on how to sew a button on with your sewing machine)…it’s basically so cool! I did have to hand stitch the embellishment on that is on the pink pillow…I do love it so!
And, your flower is complete! Continue on to finish your pillow!!
I love the texture!
16. After sewing your flower on, click to this tutorial on how to make your own piping (if you’d like to add piping) and to this tutorial on how to put that piping on the pillow front and to this tutorial to sew a Centered Zipper in your pillow back (beginner) or to add an Invisible Zipper (intermediate) to the pillow back. Zippers are an awesome addition to pillows when washing is necessary!
17. Now, you should have your front and…
your back (centered zipper shown below)…or…
If you did the invisible zipper, you’re entire lower seam should be sewn…
18. Regardless, unzip the zipper (very important so that you can turn your pillow right side out after sewing)! Put pretty sides together and pin (I like to pin on the front side of the pillow) around the entire pillow (if you did the invisible zipper, you may not need to pin that lower seam where your zipper is).
19. It’s nice if you did sew piping onto your pillow front and pinned on the front side of your pillow because you have a stitch line that you can use as a guide to sew the 2 sides together (and if your stitch line got a little crazy, just use a marking utensil to even it out and act as a new guide to follow as you stitch…example in the picture below…although the stitch line is pretty straight). Hopefully, that makes sense!
Anyways, if you sewed a Centered Zipper in, stitch all the way around using your piping stitch line as your guide (or sew a 1/2″ seam allowance). If you sewed an Invisible Zipper in, using your piping stitch line as your sewing guide, start on the line where your zipper ends (on the piping line), backstitch, go all the way around and end on the other side of where your zipper meets your piping stitch line.
20. Trim the corners down, turn right side out through your zipper…and stuff (as shown below)! Yay! You’re done!