DIY: Autumn Leaves Pillow


Happy Labor Day and welcome to Fall!  In Arizona we won't be feeling the fall weather anytime soon, but that's no reason to give up on a little autumn color in home decorating.  Here is an easy DIY for a cute Autumn Pillow you can make.  I made this for myself last year and this year I have this pillow cover listed in my Etsy store, Pretty Home Threads if you don't want to make it yourself.  Don't miss the entire Harvest Collection in my Etsy store - pillow covers, aprons, throws, dish cloths and more to satisfy your craving for all things Fall.  If you would rather make it yourself, read on!


Fabric for underlying pillow cover (less than a yard)

Various small scraps of fabric for autumn leaves

Wonder-Under fusible paper backed stabilizer (1/2 yard)

Embroidery floss (I used DMC #817)

Embroidery needle (or just plain hand needle)

Sewing machine

First, follow my Envelope Pillow Pattern for directions on cutting the main portion of the pillow cover based on the size pillow you want.  This one is a 14" square and I used a heavier canvas fabric for the main pillow cover.  Follow the directions in turning under the short sides of the pillow cover.

Next, you want to make leaves.  You can find a number of leaf shaped templates online by searching Google.  Download and print the ones you like.  Keep them fairly simple because you're only interested in the shape, not the detail.  You can also use your home printer to resize them for your pillow.  My leaves are about 3-4" tall.  Trace your leaves onto heavier scrapbook paper, cut out and set aside.

Take the Wonder-Under and place it, paper side down, on ironing board.  The side facing up will feel a little nubby. Place a small piece of "leaf" fabric over it, wrong side down.


Make sure the fabric is completely covering the Wonder-Under as you press the fabric with a hot iron.  If your iron touches the nubby side of Wonder-Under, it will leave a sticky mess on your iron.

Once you have fused your leaf fabrics to the Wonder-Under, turn it over to the paper side and trace your leaf shapes onto the paper side.  The red shapes you see below are my heavy paper templates.

Cut them out and you get these fabric leaves with paper backing.

Going back to your main pillow cover, lay it out and mark the location of the front of the pillow with pins in the corners.  You can tell what part is the front cover by folding the ends over the front so they overlap as described in the Envelope Pillow directions.

Now place your fabric leaves on the front of the pillow cover, making sure to leave about an inch on each side so your leaves don't end up in the pillow seam allowances.  Pin them in place, including through the paper backing.

You're now ready to take the paper off the back of each leaf and iron them into place.

The Wonder-Under should hold pretty well, but in order to give this a rustic look and keep the leaves from coming off in the wash, we're going to do some primitive applique using embroidery thread.  If you've never used embroidery thread, it is actually 6 strands together in the package.  For this project, cut a long piece of thread and separate 2 strands for hand sewing.  I used color number 817 (a cranberry color).  You can find the color number on the label just below the bar code.  You can choose any contrasting color you would like.

Now we're going to do a little old fashioned needle and thread action - nothing fancy here.  Tie a knot in the end and coming up from the wrong side of the pillow fabric, sew the embroidery floss in and out with even length stitches - no need to backstitch because this is mostly decorative.  Stay close to the edges of the fabric and work your way around each leaf.  This will be important as the pillow cover is used and washed.  The leaf fabrics will pucker and fray a tiny bit, but these stitches will keep the fraying to an attractive minimum.

Isn't this relaxing?  Don't you feel a connection to your ancestors who sewed without machines?  Once you have sewed all of your leaves, use your sewing machine to put the seams in for the pillow cover using the directions on the Envelope Pillow Pattern.  

And that's it!  Again, if you like the pillow cover but don't have the time or inclination to make it for yourself, I'm happy to make it for you in the pillow cover size you would like.  Just head on over to Pretty Home Threads on Etsy to get your own.



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