Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Santa Pillows--Fun Gifts or Decorations for Your Home

I'm still eating Halloween candy and roasting of the free-range turkey is still more than a week away, but I'm thinking about Christmas.

When it comes to decorating, every possible nook and cranny of my home is already covered. (My goodness, do we know how to do Christmas! Last year there were 5 Christmas trees). But that doesn't mean that I need to stop crafting. I love to make treats and decorations for those I love. And today I designed a paper-pieced pillow top adorned with cute little Santa Claus figures.

I'll bet there's room for one of these in your home.

Materials You Will Need:

  • 16-inch pillow form
  • 1/2 yard fabric for sashing and back of pillow (I used dark green)
  • scraps of red, green, white, and beige fabric for Santas and Christmas trees
  • 1/4 yard of fabric for background material for each block (I used a white sparkle "Fairy Frost" by Michael Miller fabrics.
  • black fine-tip permanent marker
  • 1/4 yard light-weight non-woven interfacing 
  • cutting mat and rotary cutter (not mandatory, but certainly helpful)
  • neutral color thread for stitching pillow top (I like to use a light gray)
  • dark green thread to match pillow sashing and backing
The patterns for this pillow, and a diagram of how to assemble the blocks to make the finished pillow top are at the end of this post. 

If you have done paper-piecing in the past I think you will find this project to be pretty easy--I would give it a "2" on a scale of 1 to 10. If you are new to paper-piecing, you might want to look at this tutorial by Carol Doak: 

Carol Doak's tutorial on how to foundation-piece

Carol advises using a paper that she markets, made specifically for paper piecing. For this project I have found that light-weight  non-woven interfacing works just as well. It's sheer so the pattern is visible from both sides and it doesn't have to be removed.

Here is a photo of the first steps of Block A. As you can see Santa's beard is piece #1. His suit is made of pieces 2 and 3. I have sewn those in place. Use your neutral thread for stitching.

And here are photos of each of the completed blocks:






Here are the patterns. Each one is assigned a Letter identifier. The numbers give you the order in which the blocks are assembled.

Pattern Pieces:

Block A (one square = 1/4 inch)

Block B (one square = 1/4 inch)

Block C (one square = 1/4 inch)

Block D (one square = 1/4 inch)

Block E (one square = 1/4 inch)
Block F (one square = 1/4 inch)

Once the units are assembled, add the corners to complete each block:
Corner units(one square = 1/4 inch)

Corner units (one square = 1/4 inch)

Assemble the blocks:

When the corners are added, it's time to assemble the blocks to make that pillow top. Here's the diagram:

Sew Blocks A and D together to form one unit; sew together the two C blocks and then join them with the B Block to make one unit; finally, sew the E and F blocks together for make one unit. Then join those 3 units together to make the square pillow top.

Add the sashing:

Now all that is left is to add the sashing to complete the pillow top, and then add the back of the pillow. 

Change your top and bobbin threads to the color that matches your sashing and backing fabric.

The pillow top, when assembled measures 12 inches wide and 13 inches in height. I added sashing to the left and right sides that measures 3 inches wide and 13 inches in height. If you use a 1/4-inch seam allowance, you will now have a pillow top that measures 17 inches wide and 13 inches high. 

Next add strips of sashing to the top and bottom. You want your resulting pillow top to be 17 inches square, so this time you will cut pieces that measure 2.5 inches wide and 17 inches long. 

Add the back to finish the pillow:

We will use two overlapping sections on the back so that no zipper or fasteners are required.

From your sashing/back-of-pillow fabric cut two rectangles 17x11 inches.

Lay each piece wrong side up on your ironing board. Create a finished hem on each piece by folding over 1/4 inch of one long side. Press with your iron. Fold again and press again. Now stitch down 1/8 inch from the inside edge.
Place the pillow top right-side up on your workspace. Then place one of the back section on it, wrong side up, lining up the raw edges. Do the same with the other piece. Note that the two back sections will be overlapping.
Sew around the edges, using 1/4-inch seam allowance. Don't forget to clip the corners so that you can achieve clean, 90-degree angles on your pillow. Here is how:

how to get perfect corners


  1. And you ask me how I do it? Five Christmas trees? Last year was the first year we didn't have ONE! LOL My goodness, I'm tired just thinking about all that decorating. :) Carry on, my friend, and best wishes to your husband and the daughter I met.

    1. Thank you Bill. We're all doing well. Looking forward to Thanksgiving Day. For the food (of course), but acknowledging how very much we have to be thankful for, each and every day. didn't mention--are you going to whip up one of these pillows for Bev for Christmas?