Pretty, Pleated Pillow: A Tutorial~

A little while ago I posted about the fact that I wanted to spruce up the Princess' bedroom. I started by changing out the wall behind her dresser and adding a canvas photo and some brown vinyl polka-dots. (The Princess had asked that we include brown in her room...and since we live in a rental home, painting was out of the question, so in came the polka-dots). Please disregard the desperately-in-need-of-a-makeover's coming.

After adding the dots, I knew that I was going to have to find other ways to bring the brown color into her room.

I love pillows. In fact, I may just have a little bit of a pillow addiction problem. So I decided that adding some brown in the form of a pillow was a good idea. But I wanted the pillow to feel feminine as well. And since the other pillows on her bed have a good deal of pattern to them, I wanted it to be a solid color. And, oh yeah, I had to use what I already have on hand. (That's a pretty tall order, huh?)

Luckily, I had some brown velvet in my fabric stash, leftover from some projects in the boys' room in our old house. I also happened to have quite a bit of the brown wired ribbon that I used to "hang" the canvas photo on her polka-dot wall. So here is what I came up with.

A pretty, pleated pillow. Now, if you are a sewing perfectionist, I implore you to stop reading at this point. But if you believe that imperfections only make things better, I have a little tutorial for you. (And if you're neutral on the whole imperfections issue, you'll probably like the tutorial as well.)

What you'll need:

  • Fabric (about 1/2 yard)

  • A pillow form or polyfil...I usually like to stuff my pillows with polyfil, but in this case, I had an existing pillow that I was recovering, and it had an insert, so that's what I used.

  • 2 1/2" wired ribbon

  • Matching thread

  • Pins
  • Measuring tape


1. Start by cutting two squares of fabric about 1/2" larger all the way around than your pillow form. (In this case I was using a 14" pillow form, so I cut 15" squares)

2. Cut 5 lengths of ribbon approximately twice as long as the squares you just cut. I usually add another inch or two for good measure.

3. Pick the square that you would like to be the front of the pillow and measure one side (this will be the top of your pillow) to find the center. Pin the top of one piece of the ribbon in it's center at the center point of the pillow front.

4. Working from the center, pin each additional piece at the top, so that each piece is parallel with the piece next to it. (You will notice in the photo, that there are pins running parallel to one of the edge pieces. I use these as a guide on the first piece that I sew to make sure that I keep it straight. After the first piece is sewn, I then use it as a guide for the second piece, and so on.)

5. Begin sewing one of the edge pieces. Approximately every 2" fold the piece back on itself about 1/2" to create a pleat. Then continue sewing right over the pleat you've created. Continue to do this for the entire length of the ribbon. This is where being a perfectionist is discouraged. (Well, impossible, in my case.) I simply eyeball these pleats. They are by no means perfect. But once you get the hang of it, you can eyeball it pretty easily.

6. Continue this same process with each ribbon. The pleats do not need to line up with the pleats in the previous piece. In fact, the overall piece will look better if the pleats do not line up. (Trust me on this.)

7. Once you have finished sewing all the ribbon. Pin the right sides of both fabric pieces together and sew, leaving a 1/2" seam allowance. Make sure to leave one side about half way open so that you can slip your pillow form in.

8. Trim the edges, clip the corners and then turn the pillow right side out. Put the pillow form in the pillow and close with an invisible hand stitch.

That's it!

Here's the pillow on the Princess' bed...just the right touch!

My November thankful thought for today....I am thankful for some bloggy love on Ohdeedoh. My canning jar frames were featured on their fabulous website yesterday! Eeek!!

Have a great day~


Nina @ Momma Go Round said...

Super dooper cute! I love how you did the pleats...brilliant!

One Cheap B*tch said...

So pretty and I love how you're not a perfectionist! I chuckled when you said to stop reading on if you are a perfectionist!


Courtenay@Signal Hill Interiors said...

Wow. I never thought to use ribbon for making pleats. This just opens up a whole new world for me! The pillow turned out so well.

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Love your new pillow design - you are so creative! That bed is just so pretty too - the green with the brown with the pink - yum. Thanks so much for sharing. Filing one more project away for the day when I learn to sew properly!

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

What a wonderful way to dress up a pillow, great idea!! Janell

Kelly said...

Love it--the pillow and the color!


Kat said...

At first I wasn't sure about the idea of using wired ribbon. But then the perfectionist in me thought that by having them all pinned down, one could lay a ruler across the ribbons to help with getting the pleats perfect and the wire would hold them in place. . . .
It's a sickness!

Great pillow!

Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely said...

I love that! And you made it look so simple that even I could do it. ;) No special pleating foot required. Genius!

The Vintage Farmhouse said...

Fantastic pillow! Thank you so much for the tutorial!! ♥

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of using the wired ribbon. No ironing-genius! Thanks so much for doing the tutorial!

Kama said...

SO SO so so so CUTE!

Barbara Matson said...

Never thought about using wired ribbon! Ingenious! said...

Hi I am your newest blog follower. These are just darling. I wish I would have found your blog before I sewed all my cushions for my living room. I may have just tried this. Well maybe I will anyway. You can have to many pillows to change up! lol.

I would love it if you followed me also. Take a gander at my pillers! lol

Unknown said...

Really cute and so simple!

Unknown said...

That is beautiful! I love it. I am all about imperfections making it better! ;)

Richella Parham said...

Wendy, your pillow is beautiful! I was just writing a post about my favorite things. . . I'd say one of your favorite things is a pretty pillow, no?

Unknown said...

I've been following you for almost a yr. and I truly lub your site! I love it ALL!! What a great pillow =)
Time to bring out the sewing machine this weekend for me. I'd love to have you visit and follow me and give me some suggestions and tips on progress...

Trish @TheOldPostRoad said...

Great tutorial! That is precious!

Powered by Blogger.