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DIY Pillow- December

Hello all. Welcome to our DIY pillow– December. We have chosen a holiday pillow again this month with a new theme and new medium. I will be sharing with you my triumphs and fails (and there were some major fails, believe me).

Burlap has been a popular texture to use in your home for some time now, especially DIY pillows. It is a natural solution for the farmhouse and vintage look that has swept the nation and a clear winner in the area of affordability. We also perform upholstery services in our workroom, so burlap was an easy item to get our hands on. If you do use burlap there are a few things to keep in mind. Upholstery grade burlap smells very organic, like dirt. And if you have allergies, wear a mask and eye protection, because it releases fibers in the air by merely handling it. You may also want to consider wearing gloves and having a broom and canned air handy, as the fibers seriously get everywhere. Oh, and do not wear good clothing when handling burlap. 

We decided to make another 20 x 20 sized DIY pillow with a snowman stencil. You can buy these stencils pretty much everywhere, however, I found mind from a “maker” on Etsy. They come in various sizes and I purchased the largest one available as it fit perfectly on the front of my pillow. 

December- Burlap stencil pillow

Tools and materials needed:

20 x 20 pillow insert (any fill type is fine), pillow template (optional), burlap- 1 yard, iron-on fabric stabilizer or lightweight interfacing, stencil, wooden garland from the dollar spot last year at Target (optional), fabric covered welt cord (optional), oil-based Sharpie paint markers, sewing machine, iron, tape measure, scissors, needle and thread. 

I purchased a bolt of the burlap for our upholstery projects in the workroom, so I had plenty on hand. I wanted to try and make something a little prettier out of it, rather than using it on the underside of our upholstery projects.  

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Step 1- Cutting

We decided that the weave of the burlap was too loose for a finished pillow. And the grain shifted a great deal when we attempted to cut it, So we chose to use iron on fusible stabilizer on the wrong side of the burlap (you decide what the backside is, as the back and front are pretty much interchangeable). After the stabilizer was applied, cooled and checked for adequate adhesion, we used a regular black Sharpie marker to trace our pattern with our reusable pattern, for a 20 x 20 finished pillow and then cut the two pattern pieces out. 

Step 2- Stenciling

I came across these handy mess-free oil-based Sharpie paint markers some time ago. I thought they would be a great solution for this burlap pillow. WRONG! They did not work at all. The area you see here took me about 3 minutes to color in and then as it sat, the color sank into the burlap fibers and pretty much disappeared. The fibers of the burlap also started to wind themselves around the tip of the marker. I had to find another way to color in Mr. Snowman!

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Step 3- Painting

I decided to put my thinking cap on and come up with another medium to color in Mr. Snowman’s body. I chose to give chalk paint a try. Using a natural bristle brush I used some leftover chalk paint that I had from another project. I was afraid when I started to use it that it would dry hard and crack when bent. I was correct, it did dry stiff, but it did not crack at all when it was bent. I have been testing the crack-ability for three weeks now and have been pleasantly surprised. Hooray for chalk-paint!! I did use the Sharpie fabric markers for the perimeter of Mr. Snowman, his hat and his arms. The black oil-based paint marker worked very well on the burlap fabric. 

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Step 4- A little detour

The more I stared a the wooden garland, the more blah it looked to me for this pillow, so I opted not to use it on this project. I decided to brighten up the pillow a bit by adding a festive red-colored welt cord around the perimeter of the pillow instead. I typically save welt cord remnants from old jobs, so this was leftover from a swag job about 10 years ago (yes, I am a hoarder).

Step 5- Sewing the welt cord

Sewing the welt cord around the perimeter of the pillow using a welt cord foot or a zipper foot, join the ends together, clip corners and make easement cuts around the entire pillow as well to avoid bunching. 

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Step 6- Sewing back side and front side together

Place the front side and the back side of the pillow together and begin sewing the front and the back of the pillow together using a zipper foot. Get as close as you can to the welt cord, by using your finger as a guide. Leave am opening about 12 inches wide on the bottom of the pillow so you can insert your pillow form.  Be sure and back stitch when you begin sewing and when you end sewing.

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Step 7- Trim edges and corners

After you complete sewing around the perimeter, clip the corners, close to the seam to remove bulk and trim the perimeter of the pillow to about 1/4″ seam allowance to once again, remove bulk (far left photo, edges trimmed on right side). 

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Step 8- Insert pillow form

Carefully insert pillow form into the opening. Be sure to fill the four pillow corners as well. You may have to reach your hand inside the pillow to scoot the pillow form around inside a little before sewing it shut. 

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Step 9- Hand stitching closed

Pin the opening closed and hand stitch using burlap colored thread. 

Check out last months pillow DIY lesson here.

How about our free ball pillow pattern and video.

Who do you plan to give your special pillow creation to???

Share your progress in the comments below. 

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