Last month, I spied an adorable burlap pillow with a ribbon-stitched heart from At Home in the Northwest on Pinterest.
When I saw the simple, yet elegant pillow, I knew I wanted to use the technique, but not for Valentine’s Day. I was thinking green — St. Patrick’s Day.
I embellished my pillow a bit more than the original crafter did because I wanted to add an extra punch of green. I really like the look, and I plan to use this on a bench on my front porch. That’s the perfect place for my cute, rustic pillow.
This tutorial will prove to you that the Atta Girls aren’t expert crafters. I made quite a few missteps and mistakes when crafting this, but I used that reliable crafter’s fixall — hot glue. Hell on the fingers, but a real project saver.
- burlap fabric, cut to size
- 5/8-inch green satin ribbon (2 6-yard rolls should be more than enough)
- tapestry needle
- pillow form or fiberfill
- shamrock template
- straight pins
You can freehand a shamrock — or a lucky four-leaf clover — or you can use my template. Just click on the image below to enlarge it, then right click to save it on your computer. This is sized for an 8.5X11 piece of paper, but you can scale it up to fit your pillow size. (The one i used is about 11.5 inches square on a 14-inch burlap canvas. I used card stock for my pattern; I wanted something stiffer than regular printer paper.)
Cut out your pattern and cut two equal sized squares of burlap. I cut my burlap to 14 inches square. (Actually, I cut it to 14X28 and folded it in half. Atta Girl Laura is the seamstress in this trio; I take every shortcut I can when it comes to sewing.) Center your pattern on the burlap. (I didn’t do such a good job with this, as you can see from the photo below. Mine was offset a bit to the right. Mistake #1.)
Pin your pattern to the burlap. If you’re smart, you’ll have all your pins facing the same way, with the sharp points going in the opposite direction that you intend to sew. I learned this the hard way. Mistake #2.
Thread your needle through a large tapestry needle. Don’t double the ribbon, just leave the tail hanging. Knot the end of the ribbon and start stitching around the shamrock pattern, going through the holes in the burlap. Try to size and space your stitches evenly and don’t pull your ribbon too tight. I think this project looks best if the ribbon is slightly poufy.
Continue stitching around the shamrock. This took longer than I thought — almost an entire two-hour episode of The Celebrity Apprentice. When you’ve stitched completely around the shamrock, tie off the end on the back, trimming it close.
My original plan was to pass the pillow along to Atta Girl Laura at this stage and have her finish it on her sewing machine. It helps to have friends who have different crafting talents than yours. But The Donald was still grilling people in the boardroom, so I decided to finish the pillow myself by whipstitching around the perimeter with green ribbon. I credit my son for this idea. Earlier in the week, I gave him some lacing cards to play with, and I expected him to use a running stitch. But he whipped out the whipstitch. My boy has good crafting instincts.
In finishing the pillow, learn from my Mistake #3, especially if you decide to whipstitch it with the ribbon, as I did.
Burlap frays at the edge, so make sure you stitch several rows back from the edge. Otherwise, the burlap will unravel and your pillow will fall apart.
That’s what happened to mine when I tried to insert the pillow form (recycled from another project.) Turns out the form was slightly too large for my pillow, and when I tried to stuff it in the cover, a few seams busted.
This is where the hot glue came to the rescue. I simply folded the frayed, split seams under and glued them down.
Since I had already confirmed that my pillow form was too large to fit in my pillowcase, I cut open the form and used the stuffing inside to fill my pillow. Then I closed the open edge and continued whipstitching around the pillow.
Now, I have a creative, handmade pillow for my front porch, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
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