My 3 Monsters: Embroidered Feather Pillows

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Embroidered Feather Pillows

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Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
Hi, guys!  It's summertime, which seems like the perfect opportunity to spruce up the front porch and bring in some brighter colors.  The crazy Arizona sun faded the Kanzashi-inspired flower pillow that has been on my bench for the past couple of months into nothingness, so I made sure to get some good outdoor fabric for this new coral  Embroidered Feather Pillow.  

I've done several embroidery projects lately, but, truth be told, I find embroidery a little tedious and I'm not very good at it.  I love the way it looks though, so I continue to plug away with my needle and thread.  Maybe one of these days I'll finally get it figured out!  As far as embroidery goes, these feathers are one of the least complicated, quickest things I have done -- perfect even for beginners. Or slackers, like me.

For one 16-inch pillow cover you will need:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric
  • white embroidery floss
  • embroidery hoop and needles
Step 1:  Cut fabric to fit your pillow.

We will be making  the quickest and easiest envelope back pillow cover possible.  You will need one long rectangle of fabric that measures the width of your pillow form + 1" by the height of your pillow form doubled + 7 inches.  Does that make sense?  For example, my pillow form is 16 inches square so I cut my fabric 17 inches wide by 39 inches long {16 x 2 = 32 + 7 = 39}.

Step 2:  Use chalk or pencil to lightly sketch out your feather design.

Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
Find the center of your piece of fabric and  just used a piece of chalk to freehand some basic feather shapes.  I was worried about making my two sides symmetrical so I drew the feathers on the left first, then folded the fabric in half and rubbed the back side to transfer the chalked design to the right half of the fabric.  The chalk lines were a bit faint, so I retraced them to get the image you see above.  This is really more of a loose guide than a pattern so don't worry about drawing in every single line.

Step 3:  Embroider the feathers.

Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
Keep in mind that I am not awesome at embroidery and that I will not be using technical embroidery terms here, mmmkay, friends?  Working on one feather at a time, start by stitching the center line using a stem stitch.  Then go back and add the feathery stitches on the sides as shown above.  Pull your needle up from the back close to the center line, then go down on the outside edge of the feather.  For your next stitch pull the needle up from the back on the outside edge of the feather {near where you just pushed the needle down} and go back down near the center line.  

Work one full side of the feather, from bottom to top, before moving onto the other side of the feather.  Stitch the feathery lines as close together or as far apart as you like.  I liked the way it looked when I did most of my lines close together and then left a wider gap between lines here and there throughout.  There is nothing symmetrical or perfect about these feathers!

From the front it will look like this:

Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
And from the back it looks like this:

Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
Be sure to pull your stitches taut as you go, but not so tight that it puckers the fabric.  Using an embroidery hoop helps a lot with that!

Step 4:  Sew pillow cover together.

Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
Make a narrow rolled hem on each of the short edges of your pillow fabric, then lay the fabric out right side up on your table.  Fold each end into the center, laying one end on top of the other so they overlap by about 5 inches, as shown above.  Pin the fabric in place along each unfinished edge, then flip the pillow cover over to make sure your embroidered design is centered .  Make adjustments if necessary, then stitch each edge closed with a 1/2-inch seam allowance {shown by dashed lines above}.  To reinforce the edges, stitch the areas marked with dotted lines -- the part where the fabric flaps overlap -- again.

Turn the pillow cover right side out and insert pillow form.

Embroidered Feather Pillows at /
I am so pleased with the way it turned out.  Because the embroidery is so simple {and the stitches are so long} it came together really quickly.  I just turned on So You Think You Can Dance, and before I knew it, all four feathers were finished.  I love it so much I'm now envisioning it in all different color schemes.  Oooh!  Or what if you used that variegated color embroidery floss so the feathers had an ombré effect?!  You could make so many cool designs!  Good thing they're easy to make . . .   You'll have to come back on Monday to see how I made the bird pillow behind it.

Have a great weekend, friends!


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  1. That's gorgeous. (btw I love it when I'm visiting a link party - 36th Ave today - and I click on a lovely project and leave a comment, then I click on another and it takes me to ANOTHER great project from the same blog. I visited your lovely tie dye picnic blanket just a moment ago!)

    1. Thanks! I'm so glad you stopped by . . . again.

  2. So pretty! I think it could work on a t-shirt too - but you might have to back it with interfacing or something (I'm just guessing since I've never actually done something like that!). I might just have to add it to my "do" list. :)

    1. I think you're right -- if you backed it with interfacing it would look really cool on a shirt! Now you've got my mental wheels spinning . . . Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Wow! What a beautiful pillow, Amy!


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