Down on the ground is where all the cool stuff happens. It's where cars race and roll, where balls bounce best, and where building blocks can spread far and wide. At 25" square, our tufted floor pillow tutorial is just the right size for a lil' sittin' or snoozin'. And, there's a handy carry handle so you can take it along on your next adventure. This is just one of the eight projects in our new Storybook Lil' Boy's Room Series sponsored by Moda Fabrics and featuring the nostalgic Lil' Rascals collection by Chloe's Closet.
Our thanks to Moda for sponsoring this wonderful eight-part tutorial series, as well as an upcoming Great Giveaway and a special free companion book written by your friends here at Sew4Home to go with the Lil' Rascals tree top monkeys, chubby-cheeked cowpokes, and tumbling kittens. If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll find links to all the Lil' Rascals tutorials that have posted so far. And... more are coming!
Browse all the beautiful Moda fabrics hitting stores this fall. From fresh and fun to luxurious and elegant, there's a world of inspiration for your next projects.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Memory Craft 6300)
- Zipper foot or Narrow Base Zipper foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for two of the four center squares; we used Lil Rascals from Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics in The Sugar & Spice Gang Yellow
NOTE: The squares you will cut from this fabric are 9" x 9", which means you could get away with a ¼ yard cut, but we like to suggest a bit more so you have the opportunity to fussy cut.
- ⅓ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the other two of the four center squares; we used Lil Rascals from Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics in Sugar & Spice Natural
NOTE: As above, these squares are also 9" x 9", which means you could get away with a ¼ yard cut if you do not fussy cut.
- ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for the piping; we used Lil Rascals from Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics in Dots & Marbles Natural
- 1 yard of of 44-45" wide coordinating fabric for the border; we used Lil Rascals from Chloe's Closet for Moda Fabrics in Blanket Tan
- 1 yard of 44-45" wide coordinating solid fabric in a heavier weight, such as cotton duck, canvas or twill for the caddy's back panel; we used cotton duck in a natural color
- One large bag of high quality, silky fiber fill; we used Fairfield's Soft Touch ® Poly-fil Supreme Fiberfill (not shown above in our ingredients photo)
- 3 yards of ½" cotton cording
- ⅓ yard of 1" wide cotton webbing for the handle; we used an off-white
- 1" covered button kits, enough to make TEN buttons (most kits include 2-4 buttons)
- Small scraps of lightweight batting for the covered buttons
- All purpose thread to match fabrics
- Long see-through ruler (24" or longer is best)
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Straight pins
- Seam gauge
- From the solid fabric (cotton duck in our sample), cut ONE 25" x 25" square.
- From EACH of the fabrics for the four patch center (Sugar & Spice Natural and The Gang Yellow in our sample), cut: TWO 9" x 9" squares
- From the fabric for the border (Blanket Tan in our sample), cut the following:
TWO 5" x 25" strips
TWO 5" x 17" strips
Bias strips for piping
- On your cutting surface, lay out flat the fabric you've chosen for the piping (Dots & Marbles Natural in our sample), right side up and with the selvage running along one side.
- The selvage is the woven edge of your fabric where it was originally attached to the loom. The fabric's pattern does not continue onto the selvage, but there is likely to be some information printed there that identifies the manufacturer or designer.
- Fold the fabric back diagonally so a straight edge is parallel to the selvage.
- Press the fold and use this crease as a guide to mark your parallel lines.
- Use a straight edge to make continuous parallel lines 3" apart.
- Cut along these lines with good, sharp shears or a rotary cutter and straight edge.
- You need enough 3" wide strips to make a 3 yard length.
NOTE: If you are new to making bias strips, take a look at our tutorial on making and attaching bias tape .
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find your four center 9" x 9" squares. Pair them up so you have one of each fabric. If you used a directional print as we did, make sure both pieces are running top to bottom.
- Pin each pair right sides together along one side. Before stitching, open up the pair and double check the print motifs one more time to insure the direction is correct and the motifs are straight.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together. Press the seam allowances together and to the left.
- Repeat to pin and stitch the remaining pair, but press the seam allowances together and to the right.
- Pin the two double-square sections right sides together along the center raw edges. As before, keep the motifs running in the correct direction
- If you pressed your seam allowances correctly above, they should now nest tightly together at the center intersection. This is very important. You want your four squares to align perfectly.
- Find the two 5" x 17" border strips and the two 5" x 25" border strips.
- Pin one 5" x 17" strip to the top and one 5" x 17" strip to the bottom of the four-patch center square.
- Stitch each strip in place, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowances together and towards the border fabric.
- Pin one 5" x 25" strip to each side.
- Stitch each strip in place, using a ½" seam allowance. Press the seam allowances together and towards the border fabric.
- Lay out the solid back square flat on your work surface.
- Lay the finished pillow front on top of the back. Align all the raw edges of both layers. Trim the back to match the front if necessary.
- Stick a straight pin through the nine intersections where the buttons will go. Carefully lift up the layers and make a light mark on the right side of the back (make sure you are using an easily erasable fabric pen or pencil!). These light marks will make it easier to sew the buttons on in the final steps.
- Remove all the marking pins and smooth out the fabric layers so they are nice and flat again with raw edges aligned.
- Find a small bowl or another round object. Place it at each corner and trace around the curve.
- Cut along the drawn curve to round each corner.
Join the bias strips
- You need approximately 34" of piping to go around the pillow. You will likely need to join strips to make one that is the required length. To do this, take two of your strips and place them right sides together at right angels to each other.
- Stitch straight across with a ½" seam allowance.
- Lay the strip flat, press the seam open, and trim off the overlapping edges.
- Repeat until you have one fabric strip that is at least 34".
Insert the cording
- Place the bias strip right side down on a large flat surface.
- Lay the ½" cotton cording in the center.
- Fold the fabric over the cord, keeping the cord centered and matching the raw edges of the fabric.
- Pin to hold in place.
- Carefully move to your sewing machine and adjust the piping so the raw edges line up on your seam allowance marking, and cord pokes out to the left of your foot.
- Using the Zipper foot, stitch slowly staying close to the cord and keeping your seam allowance as consistent as possible. Remember to remove any pins as you go so you don't sew over them.
- After sewing the entire length of the piping, trim back the seam allowance if necessary so it is ½" in width from the stitching line.
- Cut one end of the cording close to the raw edge, so it has a sharp, flat end.
Attach the handle and the piping
Normally you would sew the piping onto the front fabric then add the back fabric. However, with this project, because the back is canvas and much stiffer than the front, it provides a better base for both the handle and the piping.
- Cut a 10" length of the 1" cotton webbing. We taped both ends of our cording with blue painters tape to keep it from raveling.
NOTE: This length was our choice. You could pin the webbing into place first and test it, cutting it shorter or longer as feels best to you.
- Find the center point of the top edge of the back fabric. Pin the handle in place on the right side of the fabric as shown below. Make sure each end is equal distance from the center. The taped edges should extend beyond the raw edge and will be trimmed off. Notice how the handle loops in our picture. Pay attention to this when you are pinning. You don't want your handle to twist.
- Stitch the handle ends in place. We suggest two to three lines of stitching to secure.
- Pin the piping to the right side of the back fabric, aligning the raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the fabric piece. The piping should be enough to go all the way around and to leave an approximate 1" - 2" tail free at the end.
- Start in the middle of one side (pick the bottom edge if you have a directional print), and carefully pin around all four edges until you return to the start.
- Clip the seam allowance as you go around the rounded corners to make the fabric lay flat. Clip up to the line of stitching, but not through it. Make as many clips as you need to create a smooth curve. This is called "ease" - the little cuts give the otherwise rigid line the flexibility to curve.
- Start stitching about ¼" - ½" from the raw end of the piping (to facilitate the clean finish outlined below).
- Using your Zipper foot, stitch along the ½" seam allowance, removing the pins as you go.
- Remember, when you stitch around the corners, you'll need to gently ease the fabric as you go. This means it might ripple slightly. That's okay.
Finishing the piping ends
- Continue sewing your piping in place until you are back to where you started. Using that "tail" you accounted for at the beginning, cut off any excess piping so you have about 1" to work with.
- With a seam ripper, peel back the fabric to expose the cording underneath.
- Trim the end of cording tail so it exactly meets the end of the sewn-down cording.
- Fold under the end of the loose fabric to create a clean edge. Lift up that little bit of the start of the piping you left loose at the beginning and wrap this folded end under and around, overlapping about ½".
- Stitch in place, matching your seam line.
Finish, stuff and stitch the buttons
- Pin the front to the back, right sides together, leaving an approximately 6" opening at the bottom for turning and stuffing.
- The corners of the top will want to stretch because of the bias cuts, so start pinning at the center of each side and work out to the corners.
- Using your Zipper foot, stitch the two layers together, staying as close to the piping as possible. Backstitch at each side of the opening to secure.
- Turn the pillow right side out. Check all the corners to make sure the seams are clean and smooth. Now is the time to go in and fix any ugly bits. It's worth it in the end to rip out any parts of the seam you are unhappy with and re-stitch.
- Once you are 100% happy with your sea, turn the pillow right side out and stuff with fiberfill (Fairfield's Soft Touch ® Poly-fil Supreme Fiberfill in our sample).
- The pillow should be stuffed so it is full enough to be comfy, but thin enough to tuft with buttons. Take a handful of loose fiberfill and fluff the fibers with your fingers to remove any clumps. To do this, gently separate the fibers as if teasing hair. Insert these small handfuls of fiberfill, starting with the corners and working toward the center.
- To close the opening used for turning and stuffing, fold under the raw edge at the opening and stitch it down with the Zipper foot, staying as close to the piping as possible.
- Cover 10 buttons. We like to use a small scrap of lightweight batting in addition to the fabric for a smooth, soft finish. If you are new to covering buttons, we have two tutorials you can reference. We chose button kits, but you can make them without a kit. Button Kit Covered Buttons and DIY Covered Buttons.
- Sew one button at each intersection of the front patchwork. Make sure that as you stitch, the needle goes straight through to the back and comes out at the marks you make earlier on the back piece.
- We used a double button at the very center. (Too many buttons will make the pillow uncomfortable to sit on.) For this center button, sew on the front button first then sew sew on the back button.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever
Other machines suitable for this project include the Elna 5200 and the Pfaaff ambition 1.0.