how to make a flower pillow

by emily on August 3, 2010

in our house,projects

flower pillow 1

I continue slowly but surely working on projects around our house. It’s fun to see it come together and makes me feel just like Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life. (side note: I love that movie and I love Donna Reed. I want to be her when I grow up.)

This weekend, I embellished a pillow cover I’d made earlier with a felt flower. And I thought you might want to make one too! It was a fun, inexpensive project that went really quickly. I did all the sewing by hand–I love sewing with felt by hand–but you could certainly do it with a machine if you’re starting from scratch instead of using a pre-made cover.

I got the original idea from my FAVORITE resource for quilting ideas, Cluck Cluck Sew. You can see her tutorial here. I’ve adapted her pattern a bit, and here’s what I came up with.

flower pillow 2

Begin with the pillow cover you plan on using, about 1/2 yard of felt (buy the kind on the bold not the individual sheets), thread to match the felt, and and some cardstock. Trace a 3″ circle and a 2 1/2″ circle onto the cardstock and cut out to use for your pattern.

flower pillow 3

Cut 28 large circles using the 3″ template and 24 smaller circles using the 2 1/2″ template. I found I could cut out at least 2 circles at a time by folding the felt in half and pinning on my template with a straight pin.

flower pillow 4

Cut all the large circles in half (doesn’t have to be exact). Cut all but one of the smaller circles in half. The whole circle will be used for your final piece to make the flower’s center.

flower pillow 5flower pillow 6

Start with the large circle pieces and form a circle on the right side (visible side) of the pillow cover fabric. If you’re nervous about doing this freehand, trace a large circle onto your fabric and use that as your guide. (I used 10 pieces for the outer circle.) Use straight pins to fasten the pieces, overlapping the tips by about 1/4″. Sew the straight edge of each semi-circle onto the pillow cover. This will be the largest ring of your flower. If things didn’t come out perfectly, don’t worry.

Arrange the next circle of pieces to fill in the gaps of the first circle. (Think of it like laying bricks. You don’t want all the rows exactly on top of each other.). Sew straight edges down.

flower pillow 7flower pillow 8

When it becomes difficult to sew the edges straight down, add a small pleat near the center and sew down. You will need to do this as the rows get smaller and smaller. (I started on the 4th row.) It will also help the flower become a bit more 3-D, as shown.

When you run out of large pieces, begin using the smaller pieces, again using pleats when it becomes difficult to sew straight edges down. Repeat until you reach the center. If you need a few extra circle pieces, trace a few extra small circles and cut in half (I didn’t, but you might, depending on how tightly you layer the flower petals).

flower pillow 9

When you get to the very center, pull the needle up through the center of the flower. Hold the final small circle in your hand and pinch together in a few places (I did mine in three). Stitch around the bottom, where you have it pinched, then sew back down onto the center of the flower.

flower pillow 10

Secure with a few final stitches. You’re done!

flower pillow 12

It looks nice finished, no?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Alyssa Paul August 3, 2010 at 7:30 am

I totally made a flower on a canvas tote like this!! But I hot glued instead of sewed. I love the way yours turned out!


Anna August 3, 2010 at 10:53 am

Love it. I’ve had it on my to do list to make two I pillows like this for my couch. Yours is adorable


pam Lynn August 3, 2010 at 11:34 am

This is adorable and gorgeous! Did I mention that it looks great? Because it does.


pam Lynn August 3, 2010 at 8:32 pm

and P.S. I love your bedding. It is SO happy and cheerful. The yellow pillow with the red flower just makes it ‘pop’ . Well done!


Daniel August 4, 2010 at 8:29 pm

This is actually really cool! I don’t think I could bring myself to make one with my manliness…or lack thereof, but hey I think maybe I could convince the future wife to make one for the kids!


elisabeth August 5, 2010 at 6:40 am

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!


yourstrulydear August 6, 2010 at 7:27 am

very cute! i love flowers and this is a hot trend right now. excellent job.


llhh August 8, 2010 at 2:17 pm

this is so cute! i really must make this for my daughter.


Katie Carter August 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

I’m starting to think you hogged all of the creativity I was supposed to get, so you’re actually working with my share and your share. How rude. My chin is sticking out real far…that’s how pouty I am. But in all seriousness – your site, ideas and projects are A-MAZING!!


Michelle September 20, 2010 at 8:57 am

I want to make a round flower cushion like this – how big is the flower?


emily September 20, 2010 at 11:15 am

Michelle, it depends on how tightly you do your spacing, but mine came out to be between 11 and 12 inches across. I hope that helps! Cheers!


Roaa November 2, 2010 at 9:34 am

THANK You … You had inspire me .. i made one yesterday … it was soooo cute like your’s


Kristin January 8, 2011 at 7:00 am

This is so cute! My sewing skills are pretty minimal (currently teaching myself to sew via the Internet), but I can’t wait to give this a try!


Sara November 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

Ooo, just saw this tutorial – so cute. Where is that bedding from??


emily November 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

Sara – Thanks! It’s from Pottery Barn. I think they still have it!


flowerfriend October 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Hey, thanks for the awesome flower pillow post! Super cute! I modified this and made a much smaller version of this for a baby headband. Awesomeness! Thanks again!!!


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