DIY Ruffle Throw Pillow

Who doesn't love a cute little ruffle throw pillow!? I know I am ga-ga over this one that I made for my daughter. You can read a little more about the why over on my Instagram

Want to learn how to make your own adorable ruffled throw pillow? Follow along below for the step-by-step instructions! 

• Basic sewing supplies : scissors, rotary cutter/ruler, pins, matching thread, iron, fabric safe marking pen, etc.
• 1/2 yard Main panel fabric (I used a bleached drop cloth for a rustic chic look)
• 1/2 yard Ruffle fabric (I had this pink geometric pattern quilting cotton fabric in my stash)
• 14 inch pillow insert (or another size. Just be sure to adjust your fabric measurements based on the size of your insert.) Grab a 14" pillow insert here: (affiliate link)
• Serger (mine is a Brother 1034D)
• Sewing Machine (mine is a Brother LB-6800)
• Embroidery machine (or you can do it by hand)

Step 1: Prewash and iron all of your fabric. Then cut the panels for the front and back of your pillow cover. These instructions are for an envelope style pillow cover. My measurements for my 14" pillow insert are 15"x15" for the front, and 15"x11.5" for the two back panels. You want your back panels to overlap by 4". So, if you are making a larger pillow cover, simply divide your front panel measurement in half and add 5" to that measurement to allow for the folded finished edge.

Step 2 (optional): If you want to add embroidery now is the time to do it. I chose to add the phrase "I love you" in a handwritten embroidery font to my pillow. You could also add a monogram or an applique. Or, if you have mad sewing skills you could do your own hand embroidery -- I don't have those kinds of skills.

Here it is all finished still in my embroidery hoop. I am already thinking of other fun projects to use this embroidery font for... I'm in LOVE!

Step 3: Now it's time to work on the ruffle. I folded my ruffle fabric in half to be able to work with it more easily. Then I used my rotary cutter to cut 6" wide strips of fabric. I used four strips for this size pillow and it worked out perfectly. Be sure to add more strips if you have a larger pillow.

Next I cut the selvage edges off the ends of each strip of fabric. (Looks like I need some new sewing scissors... these ones are really well-loved.)

Step 4: Creating one long strip of fabric from your smaller strips. The best way to do this is to sew them together along the bias as if you were making bias tape in quilting. Line up two strips of fabric matching the corners so that they are perpendicular _|_ to each other. Then I took my quilting ruler and a marking pen and simply drew a line from one corner to the other creating a 45º angle.

Pin along the two sides of your line and take your fabric to your sewing machine. Using a regular stitch length (3.0) sew right on your line from one end to the other.

 Clip off the extra fabric on the SHORT side of your fabric. It will end up being a triangle. Unfold it and press with your iron to create a longer strip (two pieces joined together.

Now you can add another strip on to the end of the longer strip you just made. Keep adding and ironing your seams flat until you have all your strips joined together in one long piece.

Step 5: Take your mile-long strip (okay, it's not really, but it totally starts to feel that way) to the iron. You want to fold your strip in half, hot dog style, so that your 6" wide strip now becomes a 3" wide strip. Iron all the way down your strip. Then pat yourself on the back... it's quite a feat to maneuver that long strip around on your ironing board!

Step 5: You have a choice here on how to gather your ruffles. You can use your sewing machine and set your stitch length to the longest and your tension to the tightest and it will gather as you sew. OR, you can use a needle and thread and hand gather your strip -- I use this method when I have a small amount that needs gathering. OR, I used my serger to gather my strip this time. It was easy and fast given how long my strip was.

If you are a budding seamstress and don't have a serger, I highly recommend you get one. I have a fairly inexpensive one and I've only had to replace it one in 10 years (mind you I use it ALL THE TIME!). It is a Brother 1034D. You can buy one here on Amazon for around $200.

These are the settings I used on my machine to gather my fabric. If you have the same machine (or a different serger) be sure to test your settings on scraps of fabric until you get it just the way you want it. Sometimes it takes a little adjusting to get it all just right.

Once I got my settings where I needed them, it was really easy to just zip my fabric strip through my serger. It slightly gathered as it came out the other side of the machine.

Just make sure you have lots of space to catch all those beautiful ruffles. Here's how it looked once I got it all through my serger. Beautiful ruffly goodness!

Step 6: Now that all the hard work is done it's time for assembly. Take the front panel of your pillow cover and lay it face up (right side up) on your work space. Then find the middle of your ruffle strip and pin that to the top middle edge of your front panel piece. From there simply continue to pin the ruffle to the right side of your panel matching up the edge of your ruffle to the edge of your pillow panel all the way around.

When you get to the corners you want to round the ruffle. It won't want to lay straight on those corners. If you want a fuller corner, scrunch your ruffles together or pull slightly on gathering stitch to add more gathers around that corner. You can see how perfectly my serger gather my ruffle.

When you get to the bottom of your panel your ruffle ends will meet somewhere near the middle. You may need to trim your ruffle piece if it's way too long, but be sure to leave about 2-3 inches for the two ends to overlap each other.

To finish off the edges of your ruffle we are going to fold over the raw edges two times and sew it down to create a finished hem. Fold over the raw edge of your ruffle about 1/2". You can iron or finger press. I found that just pressing with my fingers was enough for it to stay put.

Then fold it over again another 1/2" so that the raw edge of your ruffle fabric is now on the inside (hidden).  Then take it to your sewing machine and run a stitch (make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end) about 1/8" from the inside folded edge. TIP: In order to make sure the smooth side is the one you see from the front of your pillow you will want to make sure that when you fold you fold your raw edge towards the top (facing you) of your ruffle.

If you have a keen eye, you can see that I goofed with my first ruffle end. I have the smooth side up -- which means I see the seam on the front of my pillow -- so DON'T do what I show you, do as I say. ;)

I got it right the second time though! My ruffled edges overlapped by about 2".

Pin them in place and then it's time to baste the ruffle on.

Use either a basting stitch (if your machine has one), or the longest stitch length -- which on my machine is a 4.5. Sew about 1/8" from the edge of your fabric and ruffle all the way around following the curved edges that you pinned on the corners.

Once you are done it should look like this:

Step 7: Time to finish this baby! Remember those two back panel pieces you cut ages ago? Grab those. Take them to your iron and lay it wrong side up (face down). Fold one of the long edges (the one that's the same measurement as your front piece) over 1/2" and press.

Then fold it over a second time to enclose that raw edge like we did on the ruffle ends, and iron. Repeat with the second back piece.

Top stitch the folded edge on using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Now we can assemble the pillow back. Take one of the back pieces and lay it right side down on top of your front panel (that should be right side up). You are placing right sides together. Pin it in place. You want to pin the first back panel to the top edge of your front panel.

You are creating a ruffle sandwhich. Don't mind the marker spot on my cutting mat... kids happened.

Add the other back panel on top of your sandwich lining it up with the bottom. Your finished edges of your back panels should be in the center and will overlap by about 4 inches.

Take your completed sandwich over to your sewing machine. This time with a 3/8" seam allowance (or whatever it takes to be sure your basting stitch won't show on the finished side) you are going to sew all the way around your pillow. I usually start a few inches past the corner on a side. When you get to the corner, you are going to want to stop about 1/2" from the corner.

Keep your needle down and lift up your presser foot. Then pivot your fabric (with the needle still down) to about a 45º angle.

Sew 3-4 stiched at that 45º angle -- until you are about 1/2" from the other side.

Lower your needle, lift your presser foot, and pivot your fabric so that your needle and presser foot are lined up now with the new side of your pillow.

Now you can continue stitching and repeat that same method at each of the other 3 corners. Once you are back to where you started, backstitch and cut your threads.

You can be done there, or if you want a more professional look, you can run that through your serger. If you do, be sure to reset your serger to your normal stitch settings... otherwise you will ruffle your entire pillow!

Be sure to iron your stitching to set it into place. Now your pillow cover is done being sewn, yay, and you can turn it right side out to admire your handiwork!

Once I turn mine right side out and fluff out all of my ruffles, I like to give the whole thing a nice steam. I simply hold my iron (set to steam) just above my fabric. It helps those ruffles to just look a little more ... ruffly!

I love how it turned out. I set this cute pillow on my daughters bed to surprise her when she got home from Grandma's house.

Be sure to Pin this post so you can try it out when you have some free time! If you like this tutorial, please leave me a comment with suggestions on what else you would like to see. Also, consider following me on Facebook so you will be the first to know when there are new posts!

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