The Blog

V and Co: how to: faux pleated pillow


i have a thing for texture. i like it.
katie’s room has a lot of texture. with ruffles, and gathers, she’s got enough pillows in her room (because she steals them after i make them and hoards them on her bed…i just let it go)
but the boys? not so much.
naturally i would choose to make something for my sons’ room that is not on the ruffly side, so what’s a mom to do? PLEATS!

now in my head i kept thinking wouldn’t be cool if i could do a few different shades of solids with pleats? i could get there a few ways…but i came up with this idea of creating faux pleats using one roll up of kona solids.

from one roll up you can make 3 of these pillows (which by the way is perfect for my family because i have three boys) you will have 1/2 strip left over of each color (from every pillow), so you wont feel like you are wasting good money, and well you can probably find some project to add those strips to later on.
so shall we start?

what you will need:

1 roll up (kona solids silent film palette: $27.50 each at the fat quarter shop) but you can gladly use other palettes!

2 squares of background fabric cut to 20 1/2″ x 20 1/2″ (i would suggest a close match to your lightest fabric, or the top color fabric you are using on your pleats)
-coordinating threads (i used the black for the darker fabrics and the light gray for the lighter fabrics.
stuffing for your pillow (in my opinion Cluster Stuff is the best stuffing, maybe you have a favorite? but this one is mine, walmart used to carry it but now it doesn’t (boo!) so now i buy it from amazon. i buy it in bulk because it’s the best. true story)
super cool place to place pillow

lets get started:
*take note: we will be using 1/8″ seam allowance when directed and 1/4″ seam allowance to sew your final pillow together, i will instruct you as we go, but i want you to be aware of it from the start.

-start off by unrolling your roll.

-and separate from each of the five colors 3 strips.
-take all your strips EXCEPT for one strip of your lightest colors (or the the color that will be on the top part of your pillow)
-place that strip aside for later use.

-take your strips (minus that one) and with an iron press in half all the way down your strip.

all the strips pressed in half
-now we’re going to make those three strips of each color and make them 6 strips by folding in half length wise, and cutting at the crease.
-do this to all your strips.
** we will be using only 5 of the 6 strips so, put aside for another project 1 of the strips. (if you make all three pillows at once you will have 3 strips of each color and you can probably make a cute rectangle pillow of the left overs!)
-take your one light colored strip we set aside in the beginning (that we didn’t press with an iron), fold in half length wise, and cut at the crease to make two strips.

-take one of your cut strips and fold in half width wise

-and sewing with a 1/8″ seam allowance, sew your raw edges to create a long tube.

-take your seam and place it facing up towards you, and squish down (yes i said squish, i’m a professional) your strip.

-press with an iron

this picture shows you the difference of the top strip vs the rest of the strips we pressed earlier.

-set aside your top strip for later use.

-now take one of your 20 1/2″ by 20 1/2″ squares, and grab a ruler, and pencil.

*we will be making markings all along this square to guide us where to place our strips.

-start by measuring up from the bottom edge of the square 1 1/4″ and make your first mark by drawing a line.

-now using your first mark made on the fabric measure up 3/4″ and make your second line.
-continue to do this for the whole pillow front, you will end up with 30 lines total (last one ending with 1/4″ seam allowance from the top edge)

this is what your pillow top should end up looking like.

-now you are going to take your 5 darkest strips (black) and place the raw edge at your first drawn line.
-pin in place.
(please excuse my safety pins…that’s all i could find, and i was lucky to even find those! lets just say my “office” is still in boxes, and probably will be for a while till i figure out where exactly my “office” will be setting up shop.)

-usinga 1/8″ seam allowance, sew your first strip onto your pillow top square.

*just for demonstration only i used a light thread so you could see the stitches in the pictures, but i suggest you use the black thread so you can’t see the stitches.

-now place your next strip on your next marking (the 3/4″ up)
-pin in place
-sew in place using your 1/8″ seam allowance

-now keep going!

-i switched the thread color when i got to the light gray. if you have more varying shades of gray you can use them before i switched, but it worked out pretty good just using the two colors.

-continue to do this till you get all your strips put on EXCEPT for the top final strip.

-place your top strip on the final drawn line
-pin in place
-sew using a “top stitch” seam allowance (basically right up nest to the edge, this will give it a good finished look)

this is what your pillow top should look like now.
-sit and admire your hard work, but not for too long, because the kids should be coming home soon!

-flip over your pillow top and with fabric scissors cut off the excess of your strips.

-grab your second 20 1/2″ x 20 1/2″ square and place it, right sides facing, on top of your pillow top
-pin all around except for the bottom side of your pillow

-take your bottom faux pleat and push it in slightly so it doesn’t get caught in your seam, pin in place your bottom edge.
– sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance around your whole pillow except leave an opening at the bottom edge at least 4″ wide for stuffing. (make sure you back stitch each side of your opening)
– turn inside out
-hand stitch close.

and enjoy your super cool pillow that surprisingly my boys are all fighting over.
the oldest noisemaker totally loved it. as a matter of fact he said and i quote “mom, you are the BEST sewer..(wait for it)…in the family.” uh gee thanks bud.
after i finished the pillow and was admiring it and placing it in other places in my home…noise maker #2 said “is that for me?!” i answered “no, but do you like it?” he answered “AWWWW! that’s a cool pillow i want one!” then of course as #3 does so perfectly…he mimicked #2 and well now all three of them want one on their bed.

might as well keep the peace in our home…off to make two more. and then off to see if i can get my hands on some other colors because i really think they would look cool in so many other places in my home.

hey so speaking of pillows!
jodi of pleasant home has made kits of my ruffle pillow you can order my pattern and kit all in one place!
i know you will like this because i get countless of emails and requests to make kits of my projects…yeah yeah yeah, one more thing to add to my plate…i should, but for now go check out jodi’s kits of my ruffle pillow AND abby tote. (i know RUN!)
we’ll talk soon.