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Topics: art,crafts,Girl Scouts,homeschooling,how to,Unschooling

How to: Make a Super Cool Sewn Checkered Pillow

I’ve been enjoying making pillows since I was twelve and received my first sewing machine. I’ve recently shared my love of pillow making with my Girl Scout troops. We made simple 4 square checkered pillows. My 7.5 year old daughter loved it so much, she made one completely by herself the next day. Here is that pillow in each of the stages. The only help she needed was for me to take the photographs, thread a needle a few times, and verbally talk her through a few steps. I’d already precut all the fabric.

NOTE: We used some squares of the Sharpie Tie-Dyed fabric that we made in our Girl Scout troop last year. It turned out fantastic!

  1. Pick out the fabric you want to use. Decide what size you want the final pillow to be. I have a nice plastic 8″ bias square, so I like to cut a lot of fabric to this size. Any size would be fine!
  2. Lay out all the fabric in the exact order you want the pillow sides to look like.

    Pillow 1

  3. For every pair, put the pretty sides together (wrong sides out). Pin the edge that you are going to sew. Be sure to pin so that you can take the pins out as you go. You don’t want to break/bend a needle by sewing over it.

    Pillow 2

  4. Sew a straight stitch down the pinned edge. So long as you sew consistently, the place you choose to sew will be fine. Pick a guide line on your machine. Usually people like to sew 1/4-1/2″ in.
  5. TIP: Continue sewing all the squares together (with a few extra stitches in mid-air in between) before cutting the squares apart.
  6. Cut the squares apart and lay them out again.
  7. Fold the right sides together again, pin, sew, and cut apart again.
  8. Lay the two sides out exactly how you want the final pillow to look. This is an excellent time to search all your seams for holes. Sewing up a hole now can save you a lot of work later.

    Pillow 3

  9. Put right sides together again, carefully lining up the seams to how you want them to look.
  10. Pin all four sides together.
  11. Choose a spot along one edge to start sewing, then sew all the way around (get all four corners!) until you have a fist sized hole remaining.
  12. Check for holes in the seam around the edge.
  13. Carefully turn right side out. Poke the corners with a finger.
  14. Stuff with fluff! This is the fun part. TIP: Tear apart the fluff as you stuff in order to avoid lumps.
  15. Once you are happy with the amount of fluff, line up how you are going to sew the small hole together. Many people choose to sew it by hand, but sewing with a machine is quick! My daughter sewed her hole closed by hand with a simple loop stitch. You can get as fancy as you’d like here.
  16. Show off your super cool new pillow. Then, make some more for all your friends.

    Pillow 4

    Pillow 5