How to Sew a Shabby Chic Pillow

How to Sew a Shabby Chic Pillow

by Jodie Richelle



Nothing says “Welcome spring” more than a new set of patio pillows. This pillow has striped piping and flower appliques, which brighten your decor and add a touch of shabby chic. Plus, you’ll learn how to stitch continuous piping.

Here are the how-tos!


  • 1 yard of linen
  • 1/4 yard of striped fabric
  • Scraps of three coordinating cotton prints (B, C & D)
  • Lightweight double-sided paperbacked fusible web (See “Source.”)
  • Matching cotton thread
  • 5/32”-diameter cording (amount according to pillow measurements)
  • Rectangular pillow form
  • Waxed paper
  • Zipper or piping foot


Measure the pillow-form height; add 3″, and then record as the pillowcase height.

From the linen, cut one rectangle according to the pillowcase height and 10″ wider than the pillow form.

Cut this piece in half widthwise; set aside as the pillow backs.

Cut another rectangle according to the pillowcase height and 3″ wider than the pillow form; set aside as the pillow front.

From the striped fabric, cut two 1 1/2″ x the fabric width with stripes running widthwise along the strips. Set aside as the piping strips.

Adhere fusible web to the remaining striped fabric and each fabric-scrap wrong side according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the paper back from each fabric scrap. Designate the striped fabric as fabric A.

Download the applique templates (only free for a limited time!).

From fabric A, cut eight petals using template 2 and ten petals using template 9.

From fabric B, cut eight petals each using templates 1, 2, 3 and 5.

From fabric C, cut eight petals each using templates 3, 5 and 6.

From fabric D, cut eight petals each using template 8 and 9.


Use 1/2” seam allowances unless otherwise noted.

Center a piece of waxed paper over the grid template. To create the large flower, use the grid to align the petal points and edges, positioning the eight fabric B/template 1 petals right side up over the paper along the grid outer edge; press to secure in place.

Repeat to align the eight fabric B/template 2 petals over and in between the first petal layer.

Evenly space the eight larger fabric A/template 2 petals over the previous layer, aligning all the points and edges at the grid center; press to secure in place.

Position the eight fabric C/template 6 petals over and in between the previous layer,  aligning the points together and edges aligned; press to secure in place.

Repeat to position the eight fabric D/template 8 petals over the previous layer. Allow the flower to cool, and then carefully peel the flower from the waxed paper.

To create the medium flower, follow the previous layering instructions using eight fabric C/template 3 petals, eight fabric B/template 5 petals and five fabric A/template 9 petals.

To create the small flower, follow the previous layering instructions using eight fabric B/template 3 petals, eight fabric C/template 5 petals, five fabric A/template 9 petals and eight fabric D/template 9 petals positioned near the fabric C petal edges.

Position the pillow front right side up on a flat work surface. Position each flower over the pillow front as desired, making sure to place them at least 1″ from the perimeter; press to fuse.

Thread the machine with matching thread. Following the topstitching diagram B topstitch each flower.

Double-fold one back-panel long edge 1/2″ toward the wrong side; press. Thread the machine with matching thread. Topstitch close to the folded edge. Topstitch again 1/4″ from the first stitching line.

Repeat to construct the remaining back panel.

Piece together the piping strips with right sides together along the short ends to form one long strip. Join the strips using a 45° seam to reduce bulk. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″, and then press open.

Center the cording over the piping strip wrong side, and then fold the strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together; pin.

Install a zipper or piping foot onto the machine. Stitch the fabric as close to the cording as possible, making sure not to stretch the piping strip during stitching.

Position the pillow front right side up on a flat work surface. Position the piping over the pillow front, aligning the piping raw edge with the pillow-front perimeter. To easily position the piping around each corner, clip the piping seam allowance up to, but not through the stitching. At the piping ends, pull both ends away from the pillow front, overlapping one piping end over the other to prevent any raw edges from showing.

Stitch the piping to the pillow front close to the cord, but not as close as possible. Trim away the excess piping. Position the pillow front right side up on a flat work surface. Position one back panel wrong side up over the pillow front, aligning the raw edges. Position the remaining back panel wrong side up over the pillow front and first back panel, aligning the raw edge; pin.

Using a zipper foot, stitch the pillowcase perimeter as close as possible to the cording. Turn the pillowcase right side out, making sure the piping is even with no visible stitching lines. Make any necessary adjustments. Turn the pillowcase wrong side out.

Stitch the pillowcase perimeter again for added strength. Press open the seams and clip the corners. Turn the pillowcase right side out through the back opening. Insert the pillow form into the pillowcase.

Learn how to make two more matching pillows in the April/May 2018 issue of Sew News.



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