How to Make an Oversized Floor Pillow
Perfect for the park, sporting events or just lounging in your backyard, these oversized floor pillows will keep you comfortable and free from grass stains while still enjoying the outdoors, and the added handle makes them conveniently portable and easy to carry. The mitering technique we used on these pillows gives them added appeal and interest, making them not only functional but chic and stylish as well. If you don't want a mitered look, you can still follow along with our DIY to make a pillow of any size and style. Match them to your home décor and bring them indoors for extra seating during parties and holiday gatherings. Keep reading to learn more!
When deciding on fabric for a mitered pillow, one of the most important things to consider is the stripe pattern and how much yardage you will need. We chose Sunbrella® Upholstery Fabric for our mitered pillows, which is a great choice for both outdoor and indoor environments as it’s mold and mildew resistant and easy to clean. When calculating how much yardage you’ll need, there are some factors to keep in mind. For almost all striped pillows that measure approximately 34-1/2 inches square when finished (the size of our pillows), you’ll need about 2-1/2 yards of fabric per pillow. It may be possible to “nest” two triangles on a fabric’s width in order to save on yardage; however, that will be a rarity, so you should plan on being generous with your yardage estimate. After all, it’s always better to have too much fabric than not enough.
If you don’t need an oversized floor pillow but have always wanted to learn how to sew a mitered pillow, you’re in luck! You can use these same instructions to make a throw size pillow for a couch or armchair — the process is entirely the same for making a pillow of any size. The only things that will change are the amount of fabric you’ll need, the size of the button (choose a size appropriate for the size of the pillow), and the formula for removing the dog ears from the pillow corners so they don’t stick out oddly when the pillow is stuffed.
Here is the formula for removing dog ears from pillow corners: Measure the side of your pillow (the length after seam allowances, not the original length) and divide that number by 4. Take this measurement and measure out from each corner on both sides of the pillow and mark this point. For a throw size pillow (24 inches square or smaller), at each corner measure 1/2 inch up and 1/2 inch in and place a mark on the seam line. For an oversized pillow (25 inches square or larger), you’ll measure 1 inch up and 1 inch in and place a mark on the seam line. Now connect these marks with a straight line and trim. This will reduce the bulk in the corners and result in a great-looking pillow.
Now that you have the calculations and instructions for making a smaller size pillow, you can follow along with our step-by-step instructions or watch the video tutorial. At Sailrite® we believe in growing, not limiting, your creativity. We want these free videos and blogs to inspire you with any DIY you want to tackle, and in that spirit, we’re more than happy to provide tips on altering or modifying our instructions so that you can create a project that perfectly suits your needs.
How to Make an Oversized Floor Pillow
1. With Dura-Skrim® patterning fabric and using a carpenter’s square to create accurate 90-degree corners, trace a 36-inch square. Next, use a straightedge to trace diagonal lines from corner to corner, creating four triangle shapes. Mark the inner and outer triangle corners with different symbols for future reference and pattern placement. Cut out the patterning material.
2. Depending on your fabric, you’ll need to determine the pattern repeat. If your fabric has even-sized stripes you can nest your panels to save on yardage. If they are not even-sized stripes you will need more fabric in order to create the same striping sequence in each panel as you will not be able to nest the triangle panels. Take each triangle and align it on your fabric. Use the selvage edge as a visual to start the placement of your patterning triangles.
3. Use straight pins to mark the corner locations of each triangle. Once the corner pins are placed, use a ruler or straightedge and a pencil to trace the lines for each triangle panel. Repeat until you have traced eight triangle panels. Cut out the panels. If your fabric has a right side and a wrong side, keep track of which side is the right side.
4. Lay out four panels for the top of the pillow. Arrange the panels to create the squared mitering effect. Separate them into two larger triangle shapes made up of two panels each, and then fold the two panels with right sides together.
5. Taking care to keep stripes aligned and fabric layers matched, begin pinning the miter edge of the two panels—only pin the miter edge of the triangle panels. Place pins about every 2 or 3 inches. Repeat for the other two panels for the pillow top.
6. Sew each two-layer panel assembly together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Using a seam guide makes the process easier and error free. Reverse stitch at the beginning and end to lock the stitches in place.
7. Once both panel assemblies are sewn, remove the pins and splay the assemblies open. Iron the panel assemblies on the wrong side, ironing the seam allowance area well to open and thoroughly flatten the layers of fabric at the seam allowance. Note: Make sure to use the low heat setting on your iron as Sunbrella fabric is acrylic and may melt or become damaged on a high heat setting.
8. Take the two panel assemblies and lay them right sides together. Pin across the diagonal width of the panel assemblies. Begin at the middle of the panel edge and work to each corner. Once the entire diagonal width is pinned, take the assembly to the sewing machine and sew the layers together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance, reversing at the beginning and end. Remove the pins, splay the assembly open, and repeat the same ironing process as in the previous step.
9. Repeat steps 4 through 8 to complete the assembly for the pillow bottom.
Here's a Tip: If you'd prefer to make an oversized pillow without mitered stripes, simply cut two 36-inch squares of fabric and proceed to step 10. Continue with the remaining step instructions.
10. Once both the pillow top and bottom are sewn and assembled, it’s a good idea to remove the dog ears in the pillow corners so the corners don’t stick out oddly when the pillow is stuffed. At each corner, mark 1 inch up and 1 inch in (place a mark on the seam line). Then measure 8-5/8 inches out from the corner on each pillow edge and scribe a line from this mark to the 1-inch mark on the seam line. Repeat this process for all four corners of both pillow panels. Cut out the traced lines.
11. Lay the panels with right sides together. Align and pin the four corners together to make sure the assembly stays in place. Choose one side and pin the panel layers together, making sure to match up the stripes accurately. Sew the layers together, remove the pins and flip the assembly right side out. This will be the side with the handle.
12. To make the handle, trace a 6-inch x 10-inch rectangle on scrap pillow fabric and cut out. For the best looking handle, match up the center of the handle with the top of the pillow seam for a seamless look. With the wrong side facing, fold each long edge inward so the edges touch, and then fold the assembly in half again (four layers of fabric with the folded edge on one side of the handle). Iron the assembly so that the fabric layers crease and fold well.
13. Sew the long edges of the handle assembly on both sides. Once the long edges are sewn, fold over each end 1 inch and iron the fabric to crease it well. Find the center of the pillow edge where the handle will go and pin the handle centered on the pillow seam with the 1-inch folded ends under the handle. Bunch the handle up a bit to allow a hand to fit comfortably under the handle. Sew two lines across each handle end, reversing several times to reinforce the seams and ensure a strong attachment.
14. Fold the pillow assembly with wrong sides out. Match up the pillow corners and pin the layers together. Beginning at an edge adjacent to the handle edge, place a pin every 2 to 3 inches along that edge from corner to corner. Once that side is pinned, repeat the process on the opposite side of the pillow assembly. Sew the layers together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. The side opposite the handle will remain open for inserting the polyester fiberfill; however, sew about 8 inches in from each corner to narrow the opening.
15. Remove the pins and turn the pillow right side out. Make sure to push out the pillow corners with your hand. Stuff the pillow thoroughly, pushing the fiberfill into all four corners repeatedly as you continue stuffing.
16. At the side that is still open, fold the fabric in to create the 1/2-inch seam allowance. Pin across this folded edge. Try to push the fiberfill away from this side of the pillow so it fits better under your sewing machine. Sew across the pinned seam, reverse stitching at the beginning and end.
17. Using the C.S. Osborne W-1 Hand Press, or the 1-1/8-inch Snap Together Button Form, create two covered buttons.
18. Use an upholstery needle long enough for the thickness of the pillow. With the thread doubled and knotted to create a closed loop, pierce through the pillow center on one side and out the center on the other side. Thread one of the buttons through the needle and go back through the pillow center and out the other side. Before threading the second button, tie a three twisted granny knot while pulling the threads tight to sink and cinch the pillow to your desired center width.
19. Next, thread the remaining button and tie multiple regular granny knots, wrapping the thread around the button multiple times in between tying granny knots. Once you’ve tied enough knots that the button feels firmly in place, snip the thread flush with the edge of the button. You're done!
How to Tie a Three Twisted Granny Knot
1. With the two ends of the thread in each hand, tie a regular granny knot but do not cinch it yet. With the granny knot still loose, take one thread end and wrap it through the loop two more times. Now cinch the knot tight till you achieve your desired center pillow thickness.
We've also made a new video tutorial of this fun DIY for your convenience! Post pictures of your finished pillows in the comments section below or on social media with the hashtag #SewSailrite. We want to see your creativity!
- Patterning Square – 0:46 min.
- Nesting Triangles – 2:44 min.
- Sewing Triangles Together – 5:48 min.
- Tapered Corners – 8:26 min.
- Sewing Plates at Top Edge – 10:06 min.
- Adding a Handle – 12:33 min
- Sewing Plate Edges – 17:41 min
- Inserting Fiberfill – 20:08 min.
- Making Fabric Covered Button – 23:41 min.
- Attaching Fabric Covered Button – 25:13 min.
- Materials List – 28:49 min.
- Decor & Upholstery Fabric (we used Sunbrella® Shore Regatta #58032-0000)
- Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material #122463
- Polyester Fiberfill 15 Denier Hollow Slick Conjugate #104467
- Wire Eye Upholstery Button Forms 1-1/8" #121391
- Thread Nylon V-92 UV Bonded Platinum White #105997
- Multiuse Pins #102985
- Gingher® Scissors (Right Handed #19104)
- Deluxe 5-1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
- Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
- C.S. Osborne W-1 Hand Press #121274
- W-1 Hand Press Button Cover Die & Hole Cutter 1-1/8" #121394
- Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ-1 PLUS Walking Foot Sewing Machine #300602
- Assorted Long Hand Sewing Needles #100099
- Fabric marker, pencil, carpenter's square, straightedge