When we make a handmade gift, we want to make it as personal as we can. We adapt the styles, colors and more for the person we are creating the gift for. One of the best ways you can personalize a gift is with a handmade throw pillow.
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A handmade throw pillow can be created in almost any size, color, style and fabric. They can be coordinated with any decorating style. And these are loved by most all ages!
The best thing about a handmade throw pillow is that it is easy to make. Depending on any embellishments, they can also be made in a few hours. And if you are making two to match, you can have them finished in an afternoon!
Fabrics to Use for Handmade Throw Pillows
I can go absolutely crazy in a fabric store! I love all the colors, patterns and textures that are available. When it comes to a handmade throw pillow, I have to be very careful, because there just isn’t enough room in my house for all I want to make!
A handmade throw pillow can be made in almost any fabric. But you do need to remember that for some heavier fabric, such as leather, you need a heavy-duty needle designed specifically for them.
These are some of the fabrics you can use:
- Cotton (great for Embroidery)
- Linen (great for Embroidery)
- Faux Fur
If you love creating your own design, consider:
Using a cable knit design, crocheting shells, or piecing together scrap fabric for a quilted look will make your handmade throw pillow even that much more personal. If creating a knitted or crochet handmade throw pillow, be sure to choose a backing to sew the design to first, in order to hide the pillow form.
Handmade Pillow Embellishments
If you want to embellish your handmade pillow, it is best to do it after you cut it out, but before you assemble it. Some great ways to embellish your pillow is:
- Embroidery – choose a design, word or saying and embroider it with coordinating thread
- Ribbons – use ribbons to curl, outline, or frame another design
- Buttons – choose strategic locations and add buttons by sewing in place
- Beading – create your beaded ‘yarn’ or design by laying it out first, then carefully adding it to your handmade pillow front by sewing in place if possible, or by using fabric glue
Odd Size Handmade Throws
Handmade throw pillows can be made in almost any size. If you choose to use a premade pillow form, you will need to check the size of the form before measuring the fabric for your pillow. If you make a non-standard size, such as my large 26” throw pillows I use for a bedroom, you may have to custom-make the form.
This is easily done by measuring your fabric 1” larger than the finished size. I use white cotton fabric for mine, but you can also repurpose an old white sheet, or use bleached or unbleached muslin.
Cut two pieces of fabric 1” larger than your desired finished size. Place both pieces right-side facing. Pin together and sew a 1/2″ seam around all edges – leaving a 2” to 3” gap unsewn at the bottom of the form.
Turn your form right-side out. In the slit you left open, stuff cotton or polyester loose batting (not the sheets) in the form, using as much as possible to make the form stiff. Be sure to get batting into the corners. You may want to ‘overstuff’ just a bit, to accommodate the opening, once it is sewn closed.
Once your pillow is filled, turn the opening fabric edges under by 1/2″, to fall in line with the seams. Stitch the opening closed. You can do this on a sewing machine, but due to the size, it may be too bulky to fit. It may be best to hand-sew it closed. Use small stitches if you do, to keep the batting from falling out.
If you want to make a smaller throw pillow, you can either follow the same directions for the oversized form, or simply omit using a form and filling the pillow instead.
Creating a Handmade Throw Pillow
Because even a handmade throw pillow can get dirty, these instructions are designed to make a cover that will slip on and off to accommodate washing.
Keep in mind – cotton is usually machine washable. Other fabrics may need special care. A true linen will need to be hand-washed in warm water and a mild detergent. Leather needs a gentle cleaning, and fur or faux fur will need to be dry cleaned. Take this into consideration before creating your handmade throw pillow.
For these directions, I will use the 18” pillow form that I had on hand to create the one in the photo. However – if you use a smaller or larger form, you will have to make adjustments accordingly.
- 1 yard (or more) fabric (I used a linen blend)
- Straight pins
- Coordinating Thread
- 18” Pillow Form
- Self-healing cutting board
- Rotary cutter
- Any embellishments you choose to use (embroidery supplies, ribbons, buttons, etc.)
Front: Cut one piece of fabric 19” x 19”. (If using a smaller form, measure the size of the form and add 1/2″ to all sides for a seam allowance!) At this time, add any embellishments you choose. Set aside.
Back: Cut two pieces of fabric 19” high x 12.5” in length. On one short side, fold your fabric in 1/2″, and press. Fold over again 1/2″ and press. Sew in place close to the edge. Repeat this process with the second piece of 19”x 12.5” fabric. Your finished pieces should be 19” x 11.5”.
On your workspace, place your pillow front face up. Line the first back piece face down along the top, bottom and one side. Use a straight pin or two to hold in place. Repeat this process with the second pillow back, pinning to the opposite side of the pillow front.
These two pieces will overlap each other by roughly 2”. Pin the front to the back securely to keep from slipping.
Sew a 1/2″ seam around all four sides. Using the opening created by overlapping the back, turn your handmade throw pillow right side out.
Gently insert the pillow form. Using your hands, gently tug until the pillow form fits smoothly.
Note: If your pillow form is a bit bulky, you can easily adjust the length of the back panels to make sure the closure works properly. To make certain of this, lay your back panels across the pillow form, leaving your outside 1/2” seam allowance draping off the sides. Check to make sure the overlap allows for a smooth closure.
A Bonus Handmade Pillow Idea!
I love playing with fabric. While searching in my stash for fabrics, I came across some pieces of Homespun that I thought would be perfect for a handmade throw pillow. Alas – not one of the pieces were large enough to accommodate the front and back of an 18” form.
But little glitches like that never stop me. I took three of the prints. One was large enough for the back pieces, plus a section of the front. So, I did this:
- Cut 3 strips 19” long x 7” wide.
- Sew the strips together using 1/2” seams. This should create a 19” square
- Cut the back pieces 19” high x 12.5” long.
- Continue with the assembly directions above
Would you like a printed version of these directions? Just download them HERE!
The Gift of a Handmade Throw Pillow
Although a handmade throw pillow are perfect to give as gifts for most any occasion, don’t forget to ‘gift’ yourself with one or two. Choose fabric that coordinates with one of your rooms and décor themes, or create your own knitted, crochet, or quilted throw.
No matter how you create yours, a handmade throw pillow is sure to delight!
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