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Gypsy Romance: 3-D Triangle Pillows

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Truth be told, these pillows are not actually triangles, they are tetrahedrons. But not only is that impossible to say, it sounds like a scary flying dinosaur - not what it really is: a cute pyramid pillow. We found these unique pillow forms from online resource, Downlite. Each pillow (we provide templates for a small 14" and a large 16") is made up of 16 triangles, and because we paid extra attention in Geometry class, we were able to come up with a layout that, when folded and stitched together into its final 3-D shape, has different patterns aligned at every seam. Like a little tetrahedron Rubik's Cube.

We thank the folks at Downlite for sending us their non-scary tetrahedron pillow forms, and invite you to take a stroll through their website. It was impressive to find out they are a 100-year-old family business based in the USA. It can be hard to find well made, reasonably priced down products, so we were delighted to come across this site.

Our thanks also to Michael Miller Fabrics for providing all the beautiful Gypsy Bandana fabric from the Gypsy Jewel colorway. You can find it in store and online now, including at Fat Quarter ShopFabric.com and Quilt Home. Take a look at our interview with Val Pillow and Anne Maxfield to find out more about the creative spirits who bring these fabulous collections to life.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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We have shown the minimum fabric required. However, If you are planning to fussy cut designs for each triangle, you should consider buying ½ yard of each fabric for the prints instead of ¼ yard.

16" Pillow

  • ¼ yard EACH of 44-45" wide PRINT fabric in THREE coordinating designs; we used Gypsy Bandana in Orange Tonal Kaleidoscope, Red Gypsy Paisley and Kiwi Kaleidoscope by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¼ yard of 44-45" wide SOLID accent fabric; we used Moda's cotton velvet in Hunter Green
    NOTE: You don't have to use a velvet, but adding in a texture with the smoothness of the cottons is a wonderful combination.
  • One 16" 3-D triangular down pillow insert; we used the 16" novelty pillow from from Downlite
  • One 11" invisible zipper; we used Coats & Clark

14" Pillow

  • ¼ yard EACH of 44-45" wide PRINT fabric in THREE coordinating designs; we used Gypsy Bandana in Green Firefly, Sapphire Gypsy Paisley and Yellow Kaleidoscope by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics
  • ¼ yard of 44-45" wide SOLID accent fabric; we used Moda's cotton velvet in Hunter Green
  • One 14" 3-D triangular pillow insert; we used the 14" novelty pillow from from Downlite
  • One 9" invisible zipper; we used Coats & Clark

Both Pillows

  • All purpose thread
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Download and print one or both of the  8½" x 11" pattern sheets: 14 inch Triangle Template and/or 16 inch Triangle Template.
    IMPORTANT: You must print these PDF files at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page.
  2. Cut out the template pieces along the solid line.
  3. Following the diagram on each printout, tape the two triangle halves together to form one triangle. Do NOT overlap.
  4. Using the 16 inch Triangle Template, cut 16 triangles for the 16" pillow - four triangles from each of your four fabrics (Orange Tonal Kaleidoscope, Red Gypsy Paisley, Kiwi Kaleidoscope and Hunter Green Velvet in our sample).
    Diagram
  5. Using the 14 inch Triangle Template, cut 16 triangles for the 14" pillow - four triangles from each of your four fabrics (Green Firefly, Sapphire Gypsy Paisley,Yellow Kaleidoscope and Hunter Green Velvet in our sample).
    Diagram
  6. When cutting each triangle, your fabric's print should be symmetrically placed within the triangle template. 
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At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. For our instructions, we are using the 14" pillow as our sample. The steps are the same to create the 16" pillow.
  2. Collect one each of the three printed fabric triangles and one solid triangle. Group these into four sets of four.
  3. Following the diagram below for fabric placement, we are going sew each set together to create four identical larger triangles.
    NOTE: Design placement is important. As we mentioned above, our pattern creates its own little "triangle Rubik's Cube" with no matching designs facing one another.
    Diagram
  4. The solid triangle is in the middle. To start, pair up the solid triangle (A) with the print triangle aligned to its base side (B). Pin these two pieces right sides together along the base. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  5. Next, pin the right print rectangle (C) to the right side of the solid triangle. Pin these two pieces right sides together along the base. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance.
  6. Finally, pin the left print rectangle (D) to the right side of the solid triangle. Pin these two pieces right sides together along the base. Stitch together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowances of each seam towards the outside of the now larger triangle.
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  7. Repeat steps 4-6 to create three more four-piece triangle panels with the remaining three sets of triangles.
  8. Arrange the four finished triangular panels as shown in the diagram... three facing up and the center one facing down.
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  9. With the right sides together, you now need to pin and stitch three ½" seams to assemble the panels.
  10. Following the diagram below, stitch Panel 1 to Panel 4, then stitch Panel 2 to Panel 4, and finally stitch Panel 3 to Panel 4. You will now have one large sewn triangle.
    Diagram
  11. Fold this large triangular panel in half lengthwise, right sides together, so that the left side of the bottom edge is on top of the right side of the bottom edge.
    Diagram
  12. Sew the 9" invisible zipper into the center of this bottom seam.
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    NOTE: If you are new to invisible zippers, don't worry, they are easier than you think. Take a look at our tutorial, Invisible Zippers Are Your Friends .
  13. When your zipper is in place and the bottom seam sewn, open the zipper about half way. Otherwise... you won't have a way to turn the pillow casing right side out!
  14. Now we are getting into the 3-D part, so stay with me.
  15. Fold the right edge of the upper triangular panel down to meet the right edge of the lower triangular panel.
    Diagram
  16. Pin together and stitch, using a ½" seam allowance.
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  17. Finally, fold the left edge of the upper triangular panel down to meet the left side of the lower triangular panel.
    Diagram
  18. Pin together and stitch, using a ½" seam allowance.
  19. You now have a four-sided, three-dimensional triangular pillow casing.
  20. Trim away the seam allowance at all four pointed corners of the pillow casing.
  21. Turn the pillow casing inside out through the zipper opening.
  22. Push out the four pointed corners of the pillow casing, using a long, blunt ended tool, like a large knitting needle or a chopstick.
  23. Stuff in the 14" triangular pillow insert and close the zipper. The pillow form is down filled, so it will 'smush' nicely to fit through the opening.
  24. Line up the pointed ends of the pillow insert into each of the four pointed corners of the pillow casing. Fluff.
  25. As we mentioned above, the steps to create the 16" pillow are the same, just be sure to use an 11" zipper.

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Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Gregory Dickson

Other machines suitable for this project include the Bernina 350PE and the Singer Fashion Mate 7256.

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Comments (13)

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
@ Gloria3133 -- Great story. I really love these pillows and am so glad to know they were a hit.
Gloria3133 said:
Gloria3133's picture
I just finished this. Easy, fun. I did not use a zipper. Instead I just stuffed it with polyester fiber fill. My husband said "oh is this for me?" "No, it's for #1 son his birthday is tomorrow and he always is folding over his bed pillow and leaning over the lap top, so..." He said "NICE, I ah..." So I will be making another one, maybe a couple of them for around here to prop up and read in bed or....
THANKS.
Tracy DVR said:
Tracy DVR's picture
Thanks for the tutorial...Had seen a book prop similar to it and was going to figure out how to duplicate it, you made it much easier just need to add a large lip/base around it to prop the book on. smilies/cheesy.gif
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi Dana S. -- The key word is "down" - a quality down pillow is definitely a more costly form option. Their pillow forms are really beautifully made (in the USA) and very full and soft. I haven't found these cool shapes in a regular pillow form, but they could be out there somewhere. You could certainly stuff with fiber-fill as a more economical option.
Dana S. said:
Dana S.'s picture
I chekced into ordering the pillow form from Downlite, the 16" is $28 and shipping is $15! I think this a great project, but ordering at $28 plus $15 for a 16" pillow is this side of crazy, unless one is made of money!! Your statement "reasonably priced down products" is not accurate unless one has a money tree in the back yard!!
ArtsySharon said:
ArtsySharon's picture
Wonderful!!! I love these pillows and will make them.
migs said:
migs's picture
I made this style of cushion a few years ago and to this day my dad insists they are the most uncomfortable cushions he has ever used. I loved them though!! Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw your pattern.
dragicap ... made by me ... said:
dragicap ... made by me ...'s picture
Fantastic! That colour... amazing!All is perfect!

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