I love making throw pillows. You can completely change the tone of a piece of furniture just by adding some new pillows, so it’s an easy way to upgrade a look or color scheme. I fell in love with the texture of a pillow on a “daily deals” type of site, and since it wasn’t available for purchase anymore, I decided to study the photo and figure out how to recreate the texture myself (sorry, the photo is gone or I would show you). I thought this was going to be a tough project based on how intricate the pattern looked, but after a few plan tweaks here and there, it ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be—hooray!
-leather or faux leather (at least 30″ x 17″ wide)
-white canvas material (enough for two 17″ x 17″ squares)
-rotary cutter and cutting mat
-standard sewing machine with zipper foot, non-stick foot (optional), leather needle (optional)
Take your leather and cut 30 strips that are 1″ wide and at least 17″ long. To give this pattern a greater contrast, you’ll want to choose a material that is a different color on the back of the material.
Place some fabric glue on the back of one of your strips along the bottom edge. Turn the strip right side up, and line up the top of the strip (the edge without the glue) with the top of your front fabric panel. Add glue to the bottom of another strip, and overlap this second strip with your first one so that the middle of the second strip lines up with the bottom edge of the first strip. Continue to overlap your strips until your whole pillow front is covered. Trim any excess leather strips from the sides after the glue is dried.
Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, line up the left edge of the foot so it’s in the middle of your first strip and right up against the edge of the strip underneath. Sew all the way down the strip. Continue to sew down each strip right next to the edge of the strip underneath until you have all the strips sewn.
Measure 4 1/2″ to the right of your machine needle, and place a piece of tape on your machine to act as your sewing guide for this next step. Line up the right side of your panel with the tape guide, and starting with the second strip from the top, sew another vertical line down the panel. Instead of sewing the strips down flat, this time you’ll fold up the bottom half of each strip as you sew over that strip, revealing the texture of the bottom side of your fabric.
Using the tape as your guide will ensure that you are sewing the folds in a straight line, so make sure to check your guide often as you sew. Leave the last strip unfolded when you sew over it so that the very top and bottom strips aren’t folded and lie flat (this will make your final outside seams much cleaner). Repeat the process on the other side.
Sew all the way around your pillow with a 1/2″ seam allowance, but leave an opening of about 3″-4″. Use that opening to pull your pillow right side out and stuff with your pillow stuffing. Use a needle and thread to hand sew your opening closed with a blind stitch, and you’re done! It can be a little tough to hand sew the pillow closed since it has a leather front (I definitely had to use a metal thimble to get the needle through), so you can also install a zipper into the bottom seam if you’d like to avoid that step (or make an envelope-style pillow).
I’m tickled pink with how the pillow turned out! It looks super chic (and expensive), and that’s always a plus when you’re making something from scratch. Let this be a lesson to you—don’t ever be afraid to try and make something that you don’t have directions for; just go for it and troubleshoot your way through! Except for electrical work… Don’t try that without instructions… xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman. Photography: Laura Gummerman and Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.