Embellished Burlap Pillow Tutorial

If you know me even remotely well, you know I am NOT a sewer!  I have wanted to be a sewer for some time now, but I just haven’t been brave enough to actually start.  I finally broke out my sewing machine a couple months ago when my mother-in-law helped me make my first pillow cover.  I was so surprised with how easy it actually was, that I decided to try another pillow cover all on my own!  I am so pleased with how this one turned out, too!  And I may just have a new love for sewing now!  I, surprisingly, feel a lot more comfortable with my sewing machine, even after just a few encounters!

Okay, enough jabbering, onto the tutorial!

I started by rough cutting a piece of burlap.  I knew I was going to cut it down to a better size and shape later, I just wanted something to start with that wasn’t connected to the rest of the 5 yards I had!  If you want to cut your exact piece now, by all means, do so!

Once you have your fabric cut, pin a strip of satin ribbon to the fabric.  I only pinned one side at a time because I was afraid it would bunch up if I did them both at once.

Here is the first side sewn onto the fabric.

Next, pin the other side.

Sew this side onto the fabric.  Mine did get a little bunchy when it’s lying flat on the table, but once the pillow was done, it looked just fine!

Next, you’ll cut out your pieces for your back flaps.  I used this tutorial to help me with cutting flaps.  The back flaps will form your envelope closure at the back of your pillow cover.  Once you cut out the flaps needed for the back work on them one at a time.  Fold one piece of fabric over about a half inch and then sew.

Fold it over again and sew once again.

If you fold it over once, sew and then repeat that, it gives the fabric a really nice, finished edge.  Repeat these steps on the other back flap piece of fabric.

Next, lay out the fabric for pinning.  Remember to lay the fabric “inside out”.  You want the insides of your pieces to actually be facing out.  Lay the smaller flap on top of the larger one.  This will leave you with the smaller flap underneath when you flip your pillow cover right side out.  Make sure your edges line up (mine obviously didn’t – apparently I had an issue with measuring!) and pin together.  Leave about a half inch between your pins and the edge of the fabric.

Sew your pieces together.  If you did some crazy measuring like I did, trim off the edges.  Just make sure you still leave about a half inch between your cut and your sewn edge.

There!  You’ve finished your pillow cover!  …  But wait!  There’s more!

Onto the felt flower.

First draw out the petals onto your felt and cut them out.  I wasn’t too accurate with my drawings.  I get a little excited about my projects and like to rush things like this.  I knew I could fix them later if I needed to, so they were just rough drawings.

I had some scrap left over from a different project, so I used that to cut out the smaller petals.  I didn’t draw them out, just freehanded it.

Next, lay out the petals and get extremely excited about how cute this is going to look!  😉

Cut out 4 (ish) inch circles.  I cut out 6 for this size flower, but you can change the number and dimensions for your project.

Use one of the circles as the base for your flower.

Use one of these…

…to glue the first layer of petals to your base.  Then glue on your second layer, varying the petals so they don’t lie directly on top of one another. You’ll use the rest of the circles to make your rosettes that go in the middle of the flower.  Fold a circle in half and then fold it in half again so that one end has a point and one end looks like this.

Fold it in half again.

Then take your scissors and cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the tip off.

I actually went a different route when I was playing around with the circles and decided to try folding them in half and then rolling them up.  This is how they turned out.  I liked them better, so I did the rest this way.

Next, roll up your rosettes and hot glue the bottoms.  Stick those suckers onto your base and look up and see that you forgot to glue your smaller petals to the base!  :)  That’s okay.  I’m actually glad I did this!  I got all the rosettes on and then just kind of randomly sprinkled in the smaller petals where they fit.  I think it looks a little more natural than laying them out in more of a pattern which I had planned to do.

NOW, step back and look at your pretty flower!  :)

You’re almost done!  I know this is a bit of a task, but if you just do it in steps, it’s not so daunting! Get some thread and a needle and sew your flower onto your pillow cover.

This is where the flower base comes in handy.  Just use that to sew into and you won’t damage any of the petals or rosettes.  I kind of went in a square and then threw some stitches cross-ways.  Note, I did NOT sew into the satin ribbon.  I didn’t want to tear it or get a pull in it, so I stayed away from it!

Okay, NOW you’re done!!  Flip that baby right side out and stuff it with a pillow form.  Stand back and admire all the prettiness!  And then plop down next to it because you’re exhausted!  😉

Here are a few more shots of the pillow.

If you have ANY questions about things I didn’t explain well, PLEASE leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!  I want this to go as easily as it can for you and I’m always happy to help!

For another fun take on a burlap pillow, click here.

Also, since I believe in giving credit where credit is due, here is a list of tutorials that helped me with this project.  I couldn’t have done this without their help! Pillow Tutorial (also noted above) Felt Flower Pillow Felt Rosettes

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  1. says

    GORGEOUS!! I love the mix of the satin and burlap, and the felt ~ fantastic textures together and it all pops. Makes me want to reach out and touch it. Fabulous :)

    <3 Christina at I Gotta Create!
    Wildly Original linky party is open

  2. says

    That pillow is totally cool! See! You CAN sew :) So happy you went for it and liked it!!! My 13 year old daughter just looked over my shoulder when I was reading and said ‘I love that pillow, that’s cool’!!! Love the flower and the tutorial is great – well done!

    • says

      That’s great! Thanks so much for sharing that, Jill! And thanks for the encouragement! I am really enjoying sewing. I think I’ll continue with some smaller projects until I get the confidence to try something larger! (I REALLY want to make a quilt someday!) :)

  3. says

    That pillow is totally cool! See! You CAN sew :) So happy you went for it and liked it!!! My 13 year old daughter just looked over my shoulder when I was reading and said ‘I love that pillow, that’s cool’!!! Love the flower and the tutorial is great – well done!

  4. says

    Hello Allison! I’m popping over from Freckled Laundry Textile Party to check out your beautiful burlap pillow! Very impressive project AND tutorial for a newbie sewer, yes, you can call yourself a sewer now! Good Job! I love the pillow and thank you for the inspiration! Oh, I pinned your pillow too!

  5. says

    Very cute! Just an fyi for the corners – be sure to clip the corners, so they can be really square when you turn it right side out. It’s a small detail that will really make your pillow look professional and your corners square.

    • says

      Thanks for the advice, Dori! I am not sure I understand exactly what you mean, though. Do you mean after I’ve sewn the whole pillow cover together, to cut the corners at a 45 degree angle? I am not super pleased with my corners, and I haven’t “pulled” the fabric as “pointy” as it could go (if that makes any sense!) because I think it looks weird when they are so pointy. If you notice in my first photo, once the pillow cover is over the pillow form, the top (all the sides, really) create kind of a “U” shape. Will clipping the corners help this or is there something else I’m not doing that I should? I’d love your feedback if you’re willing to share it. You can email me at thegoldensycamore@gmail.com if you’d rather.

      Thanks again! ~Allison

  6. says

    I’m so glad you decided to give sewing a try! I was just thinking this morning how I should start a ‘learn to sew’ series on my blog, but there are so many already out there. It’s really a matter of convincing people it is NOT HARD! The rest is up to them. It’s all about what we are used to. Ar 58, it was a challenge for me to start a blog and try to learn the tech stuff. It’s a slow process and sometimes overwhelming, but exciting at the same time. It’s no different with sewing or anything else really. If you’re motivated enough, anything is possible. I’m a new follower and look forward to seeing your progress ;). (no pressure) lol

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing that, Doreen! I really think you should start the learn to sew series – and just make sure to link each post up to link parties. I know there are other tutorials out there, but maybe the way you explain it will help someone that otherwise didn’t get it. It really isn’t that hard if you just go for it … and have someone to share helpful hints! I love when people with a skill are willing to share it to help others learn!


  7. says

    Great tutorial – I think I could attempt this now!
    I adore this pillow – it is sweet and has great texture!
    Thanks for linking up this week at the Creative Inspirations Party at Embracing Change!

  8. says

    What a great and thorough tutorial! I just found your post through Craft and Tell’s features. I just love this! I’m now following. Hope you’ll stop over at Quirky Vistas and follow as well, if you like.

  9. says

    I love the simple beauty of this project. Thanks so very much for sharing it on Show and Tell at SNAP! I can’t wait to feature it!

    xoxo, Tauni

  10. says

    What a beautiful pillow! Love the flower and ribbon detail! And it looks so pretty on your armchair with the throw! Looks very comfy & cozy!

  11. Patti says

    This is lovely and you are doing great as a beginner seamstress. It is fun and rewarding and the possibilities are endless when you sit down at a sewing machine. One hint I will offer that will help it go a little faster is to pin your pins across the area you are going to stitch, rather than in line with the stitch. The pins don’t get in the way, are easier to pull out as you get to them, and you’re less likely to stick yourself. I’ve been sewing for over 45 years (my mother started teaching me at a young age)and I find there is always something new to learn. Thank you for sharing your beautiful idea. Well done! BTW I’m starting on this pillow right now!

    • Allison @ The Golden Sycamore says

      Thanks so much for that tip, Patti! I tried it recently and it worked so well! Definitely keeping it in mind for my future projects, too! :)

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