I was window shopping at a boutique not long ago and noticed a trendy herringbone-print armchair (it was so cute!). But being a unique, one-of-a-kind chair, it was a bit more than I was willing to spend. Seeing this fun chair had me thinking, how could I incorporate a fun herringbone print into my house? Summer is here and a change of scenery inside my house is refreshing. The idea of sewing a pair of accent pillows came to mind. I explored the options and am very pleased with the results! This summery pillow design wasn't too difficult to put together and I was able to complete it in an afternoon. Not to mention that for a fraction of the cost of that darling armchair, I have a super cute accent pillow decorating my house.
I was able to sew this pillow cover together in about a day's worth of combined effort.
- 1/4 yard of binding fabric
- 1 yard of fabric 1 (herringbone fabric)
- 1/2 yard of fabric 2 (herringbone fabric)
- 1/2 yard of backing fabric
- 18" x 18" pillow form
- 20" x 20" batting
- 24" zipper (cut to size when ready)
- Sewing Pins and/or Wonder clips
- All-purpose sewing thread (Sew Complete is what I used)
- Sewing Machine
- Zipper foot (it's helpful, but not required)
- Measuring Tape or Ruler
- Rotary cutter (easier than scissors, but scissors are OK)
- Rotary mat
We've got a few fabrics to cut and prepare for the pillow. Let's start with the binding fabric. From binding fabric, cut 2 strips of 2.5” x Width of Fabric (WOF). Set this aside.
From the herringbone fabric #1, cut 5 strips of 2.5” x WOF. From these 5 strips, cut 18 pieces of 2.5” x 10”. Repeat this step with herringbone fabric #2. You will now have a total of 36 herringbone pieces.
Here's a time-saving tip when it comes to cutting the 18 pieces: Lay 2-5 strips in a row on a rotary cutting mat and cut all at once using your rotary cutter and ruler as shown in the image below. Only place the amount of strips that will fit under your ruler. This allows you to accomplish more cuts in a single motion.
From the remaining herringbone fabric #1, cut 1 strip 20” x WOF. Open 20” strip and cut one 20” x 20” square as well as 3 sashing pieces of 1” x 18.5”. Set these aside.
From the backing fabric, cut a square 18” x 18”. Cut this piece in half to reveal two pieces, 9" x 18".
Cut a 20" x 20" square from your batting of choice.
Place 5 pieces of the herringbone fabric #1 and 4 pieces of the herringbone fabric #2 on your cutting mat, with the right side up. Start and end with fabric #1, alternating colors. Each consecutive strip will be 2” farther to the right. Once sewn together, this will be the panel piece. (The strips should be staggered, creating a Z pattern on the mat.)
To sew together, take the bottom strip and place it on top of the strip above it, with right sides together. Do not line up the short ends. There should be 2” of overhang on the left and on the right of the combined strip. Do this with all fabric #1 pieces as pictured below. Pin in place on bottom edge and sew along this bottom edge, using ¼” seam allowance. Press to the dark side (insert Star Wars joke here :)). Continue sewing pieces together until all 9 strips are sewn together creating a panel.
Repeat to create an identical panel (we want two of these).
Repeat the above steps to make two more panel pieces. Except this time you will reverse the direction your lay your pieces down on the mat as well as the colors. So this time you will use 5 pieces of herringbone fabric #2 and 4 pieces of the herringbone fabric #1. Start and end with fabric #2. You should now have a total of 4 panel pieces.
For this next step, you will need to create a paper template that measures 4.75" x 18.5". To do this, just grab two pieces of paper from your printer and tape them together to create one long piece that measures 8.5" x 22". Draw out a rectangle that measures 4.75" x 18.5" then cut it out.
Place the paper template that measures 4.75” x 18.5” on top of a panel piece lining up the criss-cross with the edges as shown in the picture.
Pin in place. Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut the panel along the outside edges of the template. Repeat this step with the remaining three panels.
Sew a sashing strip to one long edge of three of the panel pieces. Lay out your panel pieces as shown below, alternating the direction that the strips go. Sew all panels together keeping only one sashing piece between each panel. There should be no sashing piece on the outside edges when all panels are sewn together. Press seams so they hide underneath sashing
Layer the 20” x 20” cream fabric piece wrong side up, then the batting, then the pillow front right side up. Pin in place to create a quilt sandwich. Don't be afraid to use a lot of pins.
Topstitch along both edges of each sashing piece beginning with the center one. Now do the same to all edges of herringbone next. When topstitching the herringbone pieces, start by lowering the needle onto the edge of a sashing piece. Backstitch your first stitch in place. Now sew along the herringbone piece to the next sashing piece. Backstitch again. Trim thread and repeat to all herringbone edges. This will give you a neater topstitched look. Also, instead of stitching in the "ditch", I liked to topstitch just to the inside of the sashing seams as well as herringbone fabric #1 pieces only. Click on the pictures below for a closer look.
Trim up quilted pillow top to 18" x 18" using your rotary cutter.
Place zipper on top of the long edge of one of the backing pieces, right sides together. Sew zipper in place. I used a zipper foot, but you can do it with your regular foot attachment as well. Fold zipper over so now it is right side up. Press in place.
Place the long edge of your 2nd backing piece on top of the zipper, right sides together. Sew this new piece to the zipper. Fold fabric over and press.
Unzip the zipper halfway. You really don't want to cut off the zipper piece by forgetting to do this. Now cut off the zipper overhang on both ends.
Sew the binding strips together to create one long strip. Cut off the selvedge ends before doing this or sew ¼” before them as shown below. Cut off the excess to ¼”. Press seam. Press strip in half wrong sides together.
Place the pillow top onto the backing, wrong sides together. Pin along the edges or use Wonder clips. I love my Wonder clips. Anytime I can lower my risk of getting poked, I'll take it. You can find Wonder clips in our store.
Line up the raw edge of your strip with the raw edge of your pillow. Start sewing about 6” from the beginning of the strip making sure to backstitch in place. *Note: Do not start sewing near a corner. Start near the center of an edge. This will make joining the ends easier.
When you reach a corner, sew till you are ¼” from the edge and backstitch. Remove the pillow from your machine and cut the thread. Some people have nifty 1/4" markings on their foot to help with this. If you don't, try this helpful tip: Place a pin on the binding strip where the edge of the pillow is located. Sewing with a ruler or a post-it note indicating where a 1/4" is from the needle will help you accurately know when to stop sewing.
Fold the binding upward to create a 45 degree angle that meets with the corner of the pillow. Hold the 45 degree edge in place and fold the strip back down. The fold should be even with the top edge and the strip will now run along the adjacent edge. Bring your fabric back to the machine and begin sewing this adjacent edge from the very top, securing with a backstitch. This extra material will create a pretty, mitered corner.
Continue sewing till you finish the last corner and sew down a few inches. Backstitch and remove the pillow from the machine.
To bring the ends together, start by folding them back as pictured, leaving a ¼” space between the two ends. Finger press in place. It may help to mark the crease on both sides of the fabric with fabric chalk or a pencil.
Open up your starting 6" tail as pictured. Now fold it down till you can see your marking. Open up your ending tail as pictured. Now join your creases/markings from both ends, right sides together. One of your pillow corners will lift in order for the markings to reach each other. Clip in place. Feel free to use as many clips as needed to help hold it in place.
Before sewing, fold the binding strip back up and lay it against the pillow top with the clips in place. This will show you if you did the previous step correctly. If it won't lie flat as shown, there was an extra twist done on one of the ends while aligning the creases together. If it looks good, sew along the crease.
Lay the binding flat against the pillow again. It should lie nice and flat. There shouldn’t be any stretching or looseness to it. If it lies flat, cut the extra fabric off.
Bring the pillow back to the machine. Backstitch where you last finished sewing the binding on. Sew the remaining binding in place till you reach your first stitches. Backstitch in place.
To hand sew the binding in place on the back side of the pillow, start by folding the binding over to the backside and holding it in place with the wonder clips.
When binding, you want your sewn lines to be covered by the binding.
To hand sew in place, use a thread that is similar in color to the binding. I like to use Bottom Line or Kimono Silk because they are fine, but strong threads. Using a fine thread that is similar in color to the binding helps to hide your stitch marks.
Sew the binding down using a “whip stitch” starting and ending with a securing stitch.
Put your pillow form inside and you're all done!