Spring Trend: DIY Nautical Pillow

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It’s National Craft Month, and Joann Fabric and Craft Stores has challenged a few of us bloggers to create a craft that follows one of the hot spring trends to celebrate.  I chose the nautical trend, and I’m excited to share with you a little pillow tut that incorporates several nautical themes, but isn’t your run-of-the-mill anchor pillow.

JoAnn makes spring crafting easy during national craft month with a $5 off $25 or more purchase coupon {here} and a spring crafting inspiration website {here}

I love the nautical look, but for now, my house doesn’t have the navy and reds in it…but I do live by the beach, and I think the two themes (beach and nautical) can mix well.  I opted, though, to make a throw pillow for my girls room, so instead of the classic navy, white and red, I turned to bright pink and white with turquoise accents…but in sticking with that good ole nautical them, I brought in the rope trim/cording, some metallic gold accent and of course the big bold stripes that we so often see.

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I also used a variety of mediums to create this pillow: wonder-under, embroidery, and applying cording around the outside, so this pillow is a good way to learn a lot of basic craft/sewing skills!  PS, I got all of my supplies at JoAnn.

First of all, at first glance, I didn’t notice any big bold stripes, either in Navy and White or Pink and White…so that got my mind churning, and just decided that it would be easy enough to make my own…BUT, if you have the big bold striped fabric, use it!


-White and Bright Pink Broad Cloth

-Turquoise calico polka-dot print

-Heavy Duty Wonder Under (do not buy it by the yard…buy the package of it, it’s in the notions section!)

-White Rope cording with a lip

-Thin batting

-Metallic Gold Embroidery Floss

-Pillow Form (mine was 20″ x 20″)

Let’s get started!

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First begin by cutting your fabric strips from the broadcloth to make the bold background of the pillow.  I cut 2 1/2″ strips: 6 Pink and 5 White (I wanted Pink to be both on the top and bottom) Lay them out and sew them together as seen in the two pics below…



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When all the strips are sewn together, iron it out.  Please be sure to press the seams toward the darker color, in this case, the pink, so that you won’t see the seams through the white from the front when you’re done.

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Trim your stripes down to be 21 1/4 x 21  1/4

Now you’re ready to embellish the front, I cut my anchor with my Cricut machine, using the Life is a Beach cartridge.  I also used this kind of wonder under:

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Follow the instructions on the back of the box to use your wonder under, and cut out your anchor…you can also print an anchor silhouette from the internet and trace it onto the wonder under before ironing it onto your fabric.  After it’s cut, go ahead and iron it onto your striped back ground.  (I did mine at an angle on the bottom-right corner

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Stitch around your anchor to make sure it’s permanently affixed!

I planned on sewing some cording around the outside of my pillow, so I made sure that my corners made a shallow curve, rather than a right angle.  I used a glass and some disappearing ink, and just cut it off with scissors.

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Using that same ink pen, write ‘ahoy’ in one of your white stripes to be embroidered on.  (the beauty of the disappearing ink is that no one will see how bad you are at cursive!) Also, be sure to lay your piece of batting under the pillow front at this point (before you embroider).  This way, you won’t be able to see the ugly back of the stitches through, and it gives it a cuter quilted look.

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We did a tutorial on how to embroider words using the back-stitch {here} check it out for help on this fun step!

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Once the embroidery is done, its time for the cording!  If you can, switch to a zipper foot so that you can get as close to the edge of that cording as possible…

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Begin this step by basting your cording on to the front of you pillow.  Start at the bottom of your pillow (or as discreet a place as possible) and pin your cording with the lip right along the raw edge of your pillow front.  When you begin sewing, don’t start right at the edge, but rather, start an inch or two in.

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As you are sewing, curve the cording around the corner nicely before you get to the curve.  You may want to pin it in place.  The next three pictures show my progression of going around the corners.

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Once you’ve gone around all four corners, and approach the end, pin your starting edge so it angles off the fabric as shown below:

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Then, as you approach that end, make sure that the end of the cording does the same things, but also overlaps where the beginning part of the cording goes off the edge…see?



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This is what your pillow front should look like now:  Go ahead and trim off the extra cording.

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Now the easy part.  Time to put on the backing fabric.  I just use a white canvas fabric for the back.  The trick to the backing dimensions is to cut the two back layers at 2/3 the height of the pillow…My pillow front was 21 1/4 x 21 1/4.  So, I cut my two back pieces to be 21 1/4 x 14 1/4 (or 21 1/4 inches by 15…if you want to make sure you have room for a small hem!)

Lay the two white pieces on top of the pillow front with right sides together overlapping…So, you should have the pillow front laying face-up…then one of the white pieces, lined up perfectly with the bottom edge with the hem, or right-side facing down, and then the other white piece, lined up perfectly with the top edge, with the hem, or right side facing down.  Pin all the way around the perimeter: this is what you should get:

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You should still have your zipper foot attached at this point.  Slowly sew around the edge of your cording again, This is a little tricky, and you sort of need to do it by feel, but you can sort of see the cording bulge as you go around.  Just try to sew as close to that cording edge as possible, just as you did before!

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When you’re done, trim around the outside, if needed…

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and then flip it right-side-out and insert your pillow form!  This is what your cording should look like now…

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** the following project was done as a part of the Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores National Craft Month campaign.  I received compensation for supplies used in this project, however, this post is my own personal work, opinion and experience!



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