26 November 2013

A DIY Beetle-Print Pillow

We're in Las Vegas this week but I made sure to schedule some posts for the next few days and today I'm here with a tutorial for a pillow I made last week.  

A few months ago my favorite online fabric source Spoonflower sent me this free fabric sample:

It's of a print called Scarab Allover Acid Green and I love it a ton. The little sample that I got was just a little 8x8(ish) inch square but I knew I wanted to figure out a way to do something with it. 

At first I was just going to frame it and hang it in the playroom, but then I decided I wanted it on a pillow. Obviously the little sample was too small to make a whole pillow out of, so I decided I'd make the pillow with a different fabric and then put this little square on the front of it. 

For my main pillow fabric I used the same leftover blackout curtain fabric that I used as a backing for a framed shirt last week. I used this tutorial for making the basic pillow cover (even the measurements were the same since I was using the same pillow insert that I used for one of the covers I made in that tutorial). 

But what was different about this cover is that I had to create an opening in the front, like a window, for the beetle fabric to show through. I've never done anything like that before so I was kind of just improvising the whole time and hoping for the best. It ended up coming out pretty well; not perfect, but still super cute. 

So the way that I did it was to first find the center of the front piece of fabric (after cutting and ironing it). I marked out the center with an x (or two...my first mark was a little off). Then I measured the beetle fabric (not the white border but just the actual printed part that I wanted to show) and put a mark on my fabric where each of the corners of the beetle fabric would be. Then I used a straight edge to draw a square slightly inside of those four corner marks. That square was going to be the size of my opening so I wanted it a tiny bit smaller than the size of the beetle fabric so that I wouldn't have to worry about any of that white border peeking through on the sides. 

Are you with me so far? I should have done a better job of photographing each step instead of jamming 3 different markings into one photo. Recap- we've got three marks so far: one in the center, a box around that for the opening, and four dots just outside of the box- one at each corner. 

Next I drew a smaller box inside the first box- maybe like a quarter inch or so smaller all the way around. That was the part I was actually going to cut out. 

I cut that piece out and then made a diagonal cut in each corner of the opening, all the way up to the pencil line of the next drawn box. 

I folded all of the strips over (keep in mind my fabric has been wrong side up this whole time) and ironed them in place, that way from the front the opening would have a clean, hemmed edge. 

Then I laid the beetle fabric over the opening and pinned it in place. 

Now this is where it got kind of tricky. The beetle fabric was really slippery (just the type of fabric that sample happened to be printed on- they have a bunch of different options for it) and there wasn't room for a whole lot of pins. And I was sewing my hemmed edge that I'd just made at the same time that I was attaching the beetle fabric, so it took some effort to keep everything lined up right as I sewed. 

In the end what worked for me was to sew front-side-up and hold on to the beetle fabric from underneath while I was sewing. 

I went all the way around once with a normal stitch and got it all attached smoothly, but I completely suck at keeping my stitches going in a straight line so I wasn't thrilled with how the exposed stitches looked. 

So I went back over it with a heavy decorative stitch, and even though that one came out totally wavy and uneven in spots too, somehow it looks a little better in a more deliberate stitch (as opposed to just one thin one that looked like it wasn't really suppose to be there). 

I think eventually what I want to do is find some kind of trim that I can attach over the stitches with fabric glue, then there won't be any of my crappy stitches showing at all. But in the meantime, at least this pillow is just in the playroom, and where else is it more acceptable to not be perfect than in a kids' room? 

Anyways I attached the pillow front to the back using that tutorial I linked to earlier, and now the pillow is looking super cute on a chair in the corner. 

Don't mind that missing dresser drawer. It got ripped right out of the dresser so hard that it's metal track got broken and now it's sitting on the floor waiting to be fixed. This is what real life looks like. 
Who would guess this sweet looking little guy could be so destructive. 

Hopefully the new pillow survives him, because I'm really liking it!


  1. Tory Burch really popularized the scarab but I have been a fan as long as I can remember. I really like that fabric!

  2. So cute! I love the bright green color. Such a clever way to use such a small piece of fabric!