Holiday Inspiration: Felt Reindeer Pillow

For the past week, I've been obsessed with two things (ok, three if you count Anna Maria Horner's new Innocent Crush home decor collection): pillows and felt applique. And then I suppose my FOURTH obsession would be pillows WITH felt applique. I've seriously been dreaming about pillows. Throw pillows, euro shams, box pillows, poufs, gumdrop pillows. Name that pillow. Yep, I've been obsessing over that one too. What is my deal? Maybe cooler weather equals getting cozy equals smothering myself with luxurious pillows. Or maybe I'm tired of looking at my pillow-less couch. (I am officially the cobbler whose kids have no shoes. My house consists of hardwood floors, furniture, and Benjamin Moore White Dove walls. Design Sponge would have a field day...)

So, now I've entered a 12-step pillow program and Step #1 is this graphic, mod, felt reindeer pillow I finished today. (Oh, forgot to mention that I've been dreaming about this one, too.) I was initially inspired by all the holiday felt applique pillows at Crate & Barrel right now, but I wanted something more graphic mod and less "contemporary" - ahem, maybe something more CB2 :)

To be honest, this really isn't a tutorial. If it was, it would take about 10 more megabytes of download time than your DSL service is prepared to deliver you. Plus, I bet you could come up with a hundred better ways to go about it. But here is the first of MANY pillows that I will be making over the next few weeks and a few steps on how I accomplished it.

Felt Reindeer Pillow


16x16 pillow form 1 Bamboo felt sheet in Pina Colada (white) cut down to 16.5 inches x 16.5 inches 1 Bamboo felt sheet in Lava Rock (black) 1 Bamboo felt sheet in Macaw Red (red) 16.5 x 16.5 square of red cotton fabric (I used a solid red organic) Coordinating all-purpose polyester thead (we use Mettler Metrosene at CityCraft - best o' the best) 2 yards of cording 1/2 yard of black cotton fabric 1 invisible zipper Stitch Witchery or another fusible webbing

1. I thought I might be able to free-hand a reindeer head, but my idea of "free-handing" looked like Pictionary after a few Mambo Taxis. Sooo, I discovered a wealth of good shareware clipart using a quick Google search and found a few reindeer images that I could blow up on my printer. (Note: be careful not to use copyrighted material. The image I found was offered for license-free use from designer.) Though I was unable print out a reindeer head big enough to fill up my 16x16 pillow front, I was able to free-hand it on the black bamboo felt using my trusty white Chaco liner and the printed graphic as a guide. Not bad, eh?

2. After carefully, cutting out the deer head and a nice circle of red for the nose, I positioned the cut felt pieces on the white 16.5 x 16.5 piece of felt and secured them using pieces of Stitch Witchery fusible webbing. (Note: the hot iron did not damage the bamboo felt. Just keep your iron moving while fusing though to prevent the holes on the bottom of the iron from making indents in the felt.)

3. Next, I edge-stitched down the felt pieces using coordinating thread. It pays to go slow during this process. Also, if you get some puckering while stitching down the felt, don't fret. This is normal, and you will learn to use more fusible webbing next time! I suppose you could also use other 2-sided fusibles, but the Stitch Witchery was at-hand and didn't make a big mess on the ironing board.

4. Now that your felt is appliqued on the pillow front, cut and join bias strips using the black cotton. A great video tutorial for cutting bias strips can be found here at Threads Magazine. Just watch the first portion. And then good ole Martha shows you how to join the ends of the bias strips together to create a bias strip long enough to cover our cording (you will need a bias strip at least 64 inches in length).

5. Next, I wrapped the bias strip around the cording and secured. Want to learn how to make and attach piping? Our friends over at Sew4Home have the perfect piping tutorial, naturally!

6. After creating the piping, I basted it to the right side of my pillow front, installed the invisible zipper, and sewed the front and back pillow pieces right sides together to finish the pillow. This is exactly what I teach you how to do in our Throw Pillow with Cording and Invisible Zipper class, but if have you have a decent idea how to do this yourself check out this fabulous video tutorial on attaching cording and installing invisible zippers on a pillow on YouTube.

See, I told you this wasn't a tutorial. I'm going to affectionately call it an "inspirational". How ya like them apples?