I’m in love with a pillow. It’s been sitting on my bed for a week now, and I never stop sighing when I see it. I had this idea in my head for a few months, but couldn’t quite make reality. So I enlisted the help of my amazing sister! The ruffle takes a large chunk of time. But with patience, you can have a store quality pillow for a fraction of the cost.
You’ll want a lightweight fabric that is a little higher end, preferably something with texture. Cotton is a little too plain for this project.
1/2 yard fabric
1/2 yard liner (muslin or quilt backing)
16×16 pillow form
Ruler or quilting square
Cut the following pieces out:
2 – 17×17 pieces of main fabric
3 – 6″ wide strips of main fabric
2 – 17×17 pieces of liner fabric
Set the 6″ strips to the side. These will make the ruffle. At this point you will have four pieces that are the same size, two liner and two main fabric pieces.
TIP: Backstitch, backstitch, backstitch.
Pin one liner to the wrong side of one main fabric piece. Do the same with the second liner and main fabric pieace. Sew a 1/4″ seam on all four sides. At this point you will have two separate pieces of main fabric, each with a liner attached.
Set the two pieces to the side, and grab the 6″ pieces. These will become your ruffle. The first goal is to create one long piece that is 6″ wide by sewing the short ends of each piece together with a 1/2″ seam.
After this is done, we’ll turn the long piece into a tube. Fold the right sides of the fabric together, lengthwise and sew both short edges and long edge with a 1/4″ seam. Start at one short end, continue until you are about half way down the tube. Backstitch and cut the thread. Leave a 6″ gap and then continue on the long side until the tube is completed. Trim the corners at an angle.
Turn the tube inside out through the gap, making sure the corners are completely pressed out. At the gap, fold the sides into the center, and sew a 1/4″ seam, which will completely close the tube. Smooth out the edges, and press if your fabric allows (my fabric couldn’t be pressed).
We’ll now turn the tube into a ruffle. Put in the quilting thread, or a different color thread for the bobbin. If you don’t have it, you can use the same thread as the rest of the project, you just need to be very very careful not to break it. Adjust your machine to the longest thread. Leave a 6″ length of thread at the end, then sew down the entire length of the tube. Start and end as close to the edge as possible. Leave another 6″ tail of thread at the end as well.
Find the bobbin thread (it’s at the bottom), and gently pull, shifting the fabric down the thread until it starts bunching. Even out the ruffles as much as possible. You now have a loooooong ruffle! If you’ve never done this before, it may help to make a smaller test ruffle on cheap fabric before using the more expensive fabric.
After you complete your ruffle, you’ll need to arrange it on the pillow in concentric circles, adjusting them as needed until you have a good idea of how you want your circles to look. The last circle will stand up more than the others. Mark with pins, key points, like the total width of the largest circle and the edges of a few other circles. After you have a general idea for size, you’ll need to pin the largest circle in place. After you’ve done that, you’ll sew along the seam, attaching the circle to the pillow cover. This takes some adjusting as you go through several layers of fabric. Go slow, it’s worth the extra time. Repeat, making the circles smaller and smaller, until you have all of the ruffle in place. The end can be tucked over on itself and hand sewn into place to make a neater appearance.
At this point you’ll have two pieces again, one with the ruffle attached. Pin the right sides of each piece together and sew a 1/2″ seam. You’ll start about two inches from the end of one side, sew completely around three sides, and end two inches in on the starting side. This will leave an opening with which to insert the pillow form, while also creating a continuous seam around the corner which will add strength to the pillow.
TIP: Leave your needle in the fabric when turning, this will prevent your thread from gapping when you turn.
Stuff the pillow form into the pillow, making sure the corners match up. Push it down as far as it will go. This will allow extra room at the top while you machine stitch it closed. Having the pillow form at the edge makes this last step very difficult.
Pin the open edge closed, folding the seam into the pillow. Line it up straight, and then sew the last bit of it closed. You’ll want to get as close to the edge as possible.
Clip the threads as needed, and you now have a chic ruffled pillow to keep or give away!