Lina and Vi: Behind the Scenes: Burlap State Pillow

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Burlap State Pillow

It has been an incredible week for Lina and Vi. This is our first Christmas season selling handmade products as well as our first holiday season with an Etsy shop. I have been sewing non-stop for the past week, personalizing Christmas stockings and the burlap state pillows I introduced on the blog here last week.

Today I wanted to share a very quick tutorial for the burlap state pillow. Despite the fact that these are for sale in our Etsy shop, I want to walk through how they are made for those who purchased one and want to know how it was made and for anyone new to sewing that wants a beginner project to work on. If you have ever taken a sewing course, one of the first projects they will introduce to you will be how to sew a pillow. It's simple enough that even a beginner can learn to do it quickly, while learning some pretty basic sewing skills. The state pillow is unique in that it has the state silhouette created using a stencil and flexible fabric paint. If you're interested in learning about the stenciling technique, visit this post from September where I showcased the Plymouth pillow I created for my home.


- thread
- scissors
- sewing machine
- fabric of your choice cut 18 inches by 18 inches (2 pieces)
- fiber fill/stuffing
- pins


1. To begin, place your fabric pieces on top of each other with the right sides facing into each other. Pin all the way around three of the edges of the square pieces of fabric, leaving about 3/4 inches from the edge. On the fourth edge, place a pin about 3 inches in from each corner and leave the remaining area free of pins. You will need to turn the pillow inside out in the end, and this opening will allow you to do so.

2. Next, ensure your sewing machine is threaded with your thread of choice. Place the pinned pieces under the pressure foot of the sewing machine starting at the pin from the fourth edge that is closest to you. You will line your needle up there, remove the pin, and then begin to sew that small 3 inch section of the edges together, stop at the corner and leave your needle in the fabric, life the pressure foot and rotate the square fabric so that you can begin to sew the edge of a new side. Place the pressure foot back down and begin to sew the second edge. When you hit the corner, do the same as before by stopping the sewing machine with the needle in the fabric and rotating the square again to sew the third side. Finally you will rotate it one more time and sew the fourth side again, but only to the single pin remaining. Secure the end of the seam by adding a few back-stitches with your machine.

3. Then, trim the edge seams that were just sewn together down to about 1/2 inch using your scissors. This helps to reduce unnecessary bulk in the pillow when you turn it inside out.

4. Using the opening that is not yet sewn together on the fourth side, turn the pillow inside out. Your right sides will now be facing outside of the pillow and your seams will be turned inside of the pillow.

5. Using your hand to grab small bunches, fill the pillow with the stuffing to your desired fullness. Then, fold the seams of the pillow opening into the pillow so that the raw cut edges are on the inside, Pinch the two pieces of fabric together to seal the opening and pin them together along that edge to secure them.

6. Lastly, using your sewing machine, sew that fourth pinned seam together. You may need to sew slowly as the pillow will be full of stuffing at this point and you may need to help guide the edge under the pressure foot to prevent the pillow from slipping out from under the needle.

And that's it! This is a project for a beginner without a doubt. Once you have the basics down, you will see how easy it is to design accent pillows for your home using different fabrics and embellishments like piping, tassels, or lace. It's a fun way to learn to sew while making something that you could use in your home everyday.

I hope you're having a good start to your week. You can visit our Etsy State Pillow page here if you are interested in purchasing a custom state design by Lina and Vi.


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