Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wormy Love: Patchwork and Embroidered Pillow Tutorial

Hi there!  I'm so happy to be here at Sew We Quilt/Stash Manicure for the very first time!  I'm AnneMarie of Gen X Quilters and I've worked up a little pillow to add to the cute love and romance of Valentine's Day...

I did mention I love RED??  The brilliance and energy of reds call to me every time.  So the pinks and reds of Valentine's Day are right up my alley.  And guess what?  I just so happened to have this charm pack (Flirtations by Sandy Gervais) in my stash from a couple years ago.  It makes up into such a cute little pillow to throw out during the month of February.

There is some simple patchwork to do before adding the PiZazZ.....  and the pizazz is a little embroidery!  This is a fun trend I've really gotten into lately.  I received the book Doodle Stitching for Christmas.  It's made me get out my pen and paper to do some drawing again.  What fun!  Sometimes the actual sewing part is so soothing to just sit down on the couch in the evening and hand stitch a little embroidery.  If you haven't tried it, give it shot!  It's sooooo relaxing...

Wormy Love Embroidered Pillow

1 charm pack
1 8.5" x 8.5" square of coordinating solid (I used Kona Pale Flesh)
3 coordinating embroidery floss (brown, red, pink)


Pillow Top
1.  Select 16 charms to be part of the pillow top.  I pulled out 4 of those 16 on the left, all of them light in value.  These 'light' charms will be used to flank the cornerstones.

2.  Cut your fabrics as follows:
            -solid should be cut to 8.5" x 8.5".
            -each of the 4 light charm squares should be cut into 2 -  1.75" x 3.25" strips (8 total)
            -the remaining 12 charms should be cut into 3.25" x 3.25" squares

3.  Arrange your cut squares and strips as shown below to make a frame around the solid 8.5" square.  I used the darkest charms as the cornerstones, the light 1.75" x 3.25" strips flanking either side of the cornerstones, and then the medium valued charms in the middle.  But you can lay them out however you like!

4.  Sew the 4 strips used in the top row together and press.  Repeat for the bottom row.  Then sew the left and right columns together and press (the cornerstones are included in the side columns).  Use a 1/4" seam allowance for all seams.

5.  Next sew the top row to one side of the 8.5" square.  Sew the bottom row to the opposing side of the 8.5" square.  Again, use 1/4" seams throughout and press seams toward the border.

6.  To finish the pillow top, first sew the left side strip to the left side of the 8.5" square.  Sew the right side strip to the opposing side of the 8.5" square.  Use 1/4" seams throughout and press toward the border.  There we go! 

7.  Now you are ready to embroider!  You may print off the embroidery pattern here.

 I trimmed the 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper down to an 8.5" square to help me center the design on the solid square in the middle of the pillow top.

8.  There are several ways to transfer the designs to the fabric.  I use an iron-on transfer pencil to trace the design on the wrong side of the paper.  It helps to hold the sheet of paper up to the window when tracing.

9.  Next center the sheet of paper with the design tracing side down onto the right side of the fabric.  Apply a warm iron.

10.  Remove the paper and make sure the design has transferred in all places.  Repeat the ironing step if needed.

11.  Use the picture below as a color reference for your embroidery.   This design is very simple and I only used the back stitch and the french knot.

Pillow Back
12.  Select another 9 charm squares for the pillow back.  The back of the pillow will be one large 9-patch block.  Lay them out in a color arrangement you like.

13.  Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew three horizontal rows of squares. Press seams towards the darker fabric. Join the rows to finish the pillow back.

14.  The pillow back may be slightly larger than the top.  Trim the excess from all sides of the pillow back if needed.  Make sure to keep the 9-patch centered by trimming equivalent amounts from all sides.  My 1/4" seams always turn up a little short, so I didn't need to do any trimming. 

Place the pillow top on top of the pillow back right sides together.  Pin on all sides.  Sew 1/4" around all sides leaving a 3" gap at the bottom for turning.

15.  Turn the pillow right sides out and stuff.  Close the 3" opening using a hidden stitch.  Ta-dah!  All done!

Wormy Love Pillow Back

Wormy Love Pillow Front

13.5" square pillow

Thanks so much for having me Madame Samm and I'd love to see it if you decide to make this little pillow!  Stay warm!

**A Question showing up in the comments below asks what kind of iron-on pencil I use...  I use a Dritz iron-on pencil from Joann's.  I have not tried any of the markers...  I would definitely suggest a test piece to make sure the markings will come out or fade before using on the real thing.  Hope this helps!**


  1. This pillow is so darn adorable!! I love the colors and the worm ... well, I thought I'd better leave a comment before I go to see the drawing because I may get so caught up in its cuteness and whether or not I have supplies for this pillow, who knows when I'll make it back ... lol ... Thank you for sharing!!!

  2. What a delightful little stitchery, gorgeous cushion

  3. Lovely! I really want to start and sew some cushions! Thanks so much for the great idea!

  4. Good Morning Anne Marie...a timely heart felt project indeed. A very lovely transfer too... Ohhh love is in the air, I can see it now...all of us searching for that perfect charm pack to join in the fun. I am sure I have enough reds to make one too...thanks for a delightful tutorial...

  5. So cute. Perfect for Valentine's Day :-)

  6. Anne Marie this is just so adorable!!! I love the worm :) Your tutorial is wonderful, thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  7. This will be great for Valentine's Day. And you have my mind racing for other Holidays! Look out sewing room, here I come!

  8. love this pillow. So darn cute I have to make one. :) Still using up my scraps so can't buy new fabric yet. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  9. Thank you for sharing. This little pillow is simply adorable! I think I have that charm pack too...maybe a pillow will be in my future!

  10. Great tutorial and an adorable decorating idea for a Valentine's project. I do not have many decoration for Valentines day and this would be 'sweet' to make. Thank for sharing:)

  11. I received the same book for Christmas because I had checked out of the library so many times, they suggested I get my own copy LOL

    where do you purchase your iron-on pencil and what brand do you recommend ?

    Great tut - many thanks

  12. What a great tutorial!!! Thanks for sharing it with us. I just love the reds (my favorite color). I have all that I need to make this. I just have to set aside some time for it. Great post!!! Hugs Ariane

  13. Thats for the great tutorial. What brand of iron-on pencil do you recommend? Have you tried the iron-on pens?

  14. What a fun and interesting post. I am a "drawer/doodler" too and who knows what I might come up with. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. What an absolutely gorgeous cushion! Great tutorial, too.

  16. O my heck.. only you could make a worm cute haha. Love this - thanks for sharing!

  17. a cute pattern and pillow, thank you for this nice tutorial

  18. AnneMarie, thank you for a cute tutorial. I'm not a pillow person, but this would work so well as a mini wallhanging, too. I could see this pattern used for different seasons, holidays - using differnet stitcheries and fabs. Again - thank you for your lovely post.

  19. Very cute pattern and great tutorial! Thanks for the inspiration!

  20. I love embroidery! I've heard someone else mention the transfer pencil. Where do you find it and is there a brand? blessings, marlene

  21. Super cute pillow. And great tutorial!! Will have to try this. Thank you!

  22. How cute. Thank you for the tutorial on how to use an iron-on transfer pencil.

  23. That is super cute. Thanks so much for sharing. Looking forward to trying this.

  24. A very cute pillow, just in time for Valentine's Day. And a very informative tutorial. Thanks for both.

  25. Awesome tutorial :) I can't wait to make one with either my frolic or lollipop charm squares :) Thanks again for taking the time :) I appreciate it!

  26. I just love it, I will check out my stash to see if I can create a cute pillow

  27. How cute, thanks for the instructions.

  28. So cute! I got the Doodle Stitching book recently as well and would like to start adding a little embroidery to my projects. This looks like a great one to start with!

  29. What an adorable pillow. Excellent tutorial.


  30. I remember when I made a pillow in Jr High once, it's always nice to have your own personal touches to it. Maybe I should use this tutorial and some machine embroidery to make one for my girlfriend...

  31. Just used this tutorial to make a pillow for my brother for Christmas. It came out great. Thanks very much!


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