There's one little pillow on our couch that I insist is mine, the perfect size for right behind my head while watching junky TV. It's about 12x16 inches, and luxuriously feather-filled. I decided that I needed another, of course, and thought I'd share the process.
With the directions below, you can create fun hand-stitched a pillow out of any special block of your choosing.
Step 1: Pick a favorite 12.5x12.5 inch unfinished block. I used one of my recent Star Seams blocks.
Step 2: Cut two strips, 12.5 x 2.75 inches, and stitch them to the right and left sides of your block to create a 12.5 x 17 inch rectangle. This will become your pillow front! You can match the block's background fabric, as I did, or use a contrasting color.
Step 3: Find a scrap piece of batting at least 1/4 inch bigger than your pillow front on all sides. Smooth everything out, and pin your pillow front in place. If desired, machine quilt lightly to hold everything in place. Above, I simply outlined the star once.
Step 4: Create some kind of hand-stitching template. You could mark simple straight lines, continue echoing some machine quilting, or create a new texture, which is what I decided to do. Using a folded index card, I cut out a pointy oval/ leaf shape, marked lines on the pillow, and traced the shape along the lines with a disappearing ink pen.
I decided I wanted to make it seem like the star was placed in front of the background, so I didn't mark or stitch on top of the it.
Step 5: Using perle cotton or embroidery floss, hand-stitch in straight lines to fill in your design.
I had experimented with creating texture via hand-stitching before, and I knew the effect would be subtle, yet also create a highly squishy, squeezable product.
Step 6: Once it is quilted to your liking, trim pillow front to 12.5x16.5 inches, squaring up corners.
Step 7: Find, or piece together, a 12.5x16.5 inch piece of fabric for the pillow back. I prefer to use home decor- or upholstery-weight fabrics for pillow backs, to add some structure.
Step 8: Construct your pillow as desired. If you love zippers, go for it! This time, I was a little lazy, since I knew that this would just be for me, and went back to one of the first methods I ever learned: just stitch the whole thing up!
To create a closed pillow like mine, layer pillow front and back together, face to face, and stitch around three sides, with a 1/4 to 3/8 inch seam allowance. Clip corners, turn pillow right side out, stuff with a 12x16 inch pillow insert, and use a ladder stitch to close the final side.
My product: a soft, nubbly, pretty pillow. And there's one less couch asset to fight over. Maybe now I "need" more throw quilts?