Friday, January 13, 2012

Fan Fold Ruffle Pillow

I have one designer that I do a lot of work for in the LA area and she always has cute little details she has me add to her projects.  Fan Fold Ruffles are definitely one of her favorites!  So, In honor of her today I'm sharing a Fan Fold Ruffle Pillow.
Isn't she cute!  Follow along as I share how to make this pillow.
What you'll need:
1 yard of 54" wide home decor fabric
2 yards of cotton cording
1 matching zipper
1 pillow fill that is 1" bigger than your finished pillow size

Decisions need to made first.  What size pillow are you gonna make?  How big do you want your fan fold ruffle to be? 
I made my pillow 20" wide x 15" tall and I made my ruffle 1 1/2".  Adjust your cutting according to your pillow and ruffle size.

I cut 1 @ 21"x16" ( cut 1" bigger than your finished pillow size)
  cut 1 @ 22"x17"(I always cut my back piece 1" bigger than the front)
  cut 4 @ width of fabric(54)x4"  (you will need at least 3 times fullness for your ruffle)
  cut bias strips to equal the circumference of my pillow.  You will find those instructions here

Serge or zig zag the bottom edges of your pillow front and back to keep them from unraveling.  This keeps loose fabric threads from get caught up in the zipper.

Cover your cotton cord with your bias strips, refer to link above if needed.

When I'm adding a ruffle or trim to a pillow, I always round the corners of the pillow.  The ruffles just don't look right if you keep those corners perfectly square.  I have a little plastic jar that I keep next to my sewing machine that is the perfect size for rounding those corners.

I just use a pencil or pen to trace around the circle.  Once you have traced your circle on all 4 corners, you are ready to attach the welt cord to your pillow.  Find the center bottom of your pillow and start your welt cord 1/2" before that mark.  But start stitching 1/2" from the welts edge.  This allows a 1/2" for for overlapping the raw edges of your welt.

Using a zipper foot, stitch your welt to the right side of your pillow.  When you arrive at the corners, snip into the welt seam allowance 4 times approx. 3/4 apart.  This will allow the welt to bend around those corners smoothly.

When you've stitched all around your pillow and you are almost at your starting point, stop stitching with your needle down approx. 2-2 1/2" from your starting point.  With you welt cord overlapping your starting welt, Cut the welt approx. 1" past the starting point.  Now using small scissors or a seam ripper open up your end piece of welt.

Fold up a 1/2" of the bias fabric like you see above and lay it under your starting cord by about 1/2"
.Now cut the actual cotton cord so that it butts up against the starting welt cord.
Fold the fabric bias strip over the beginning edge of your welt and finish stitching the last 2" or so.

Now we need to prepare your ruffle pieces for attaching them to your pillow.  Stitch your 4 strips together.
Trim the seam allowances to 1/4" and press the seams open.  Fold the ruffle in half lengthwise and press.  Pin every 8" or so.

This next step usually takes me about 40 min. so I usually do it while I'm watching TV in a comfortable chair.  Fold in your fan fold pleats and pin each one to your pillow front.  I folded mine about 1/2", but you can make yours whatever size you want.  Pin in a few and step back and look at it to decide if you like the size and distance of your fan folds.

Continue to fold and pin all around your pillow front.  Don't scrimp at the corners because the ruffle needs fullness there to bend around the corner nicely.  Try to hide the seams of your ruffle along a fold of the fan.

When you get the center bottom where you started pinning your ruffle,  pint our last fold to butt up right against your first fan fold.  Overlap the ruffle to form the back of the last fan fold and add 1/4" seam allowance and trim away excess ruffle.

Unpin a couple folds and open ruffle out and pin the 2 ends right sides together and stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance.  Finger press seam open and re-pin folds to pillow.

I find it easier to stitch the fan fold ruffle to the pillow front with the ruffle on the bottom.  Otherwise my presser foot gets caught up on folds. Use a zipper foot and stitch slightly beyond the stitching that attached your welt cord.   Check the front side of your pillow and make sure your fan folds are all laying nice.

Inserting a zipper-  I have shown how to insert a zipper in this tutorial    Follow the zipper part of that link and when you have your zipper attached to the back piece of your pillow, come back here and follow along to finish your pillow.

With the front of your pillow right side up, lay the back of your pillow face down along the bottom edge.  Extend your back piece 1/2" past the pillow front.  Make sure the zipper flap is pushed back away from your zipper.  Align your zipper teeth with the ruffle stitching and stitch close to the zipper teeth making sure you don't stitch into the welt.

When you get to the zipper slide, stop with the needle down in your fabric and lift the presser foot.  I use a flat head screw driver to push the slide back to behind my presser foot.  This way your stitching doesn't get crooked trying to go around it.

Now that you've stitched the bottom edge with the zipper, push the zipper flap back over the zipper butting it up against the seam.

Lay the front back down on the back, right sides together still and begin stitching before the curve of the bottom left corner.

Continue stitching up the left side, across the top and back down the right side of the pillow stopping just beyond the corner of the right side bottom corner.
Trim the corners and the excess off the sides and top of the back pillow piece.

Turn your pillow over and push the zipper slide to open up the pillow.
Turn your pillow right side out and give it a good pressing before you stuff it with your fill.

So cute and such a neat detail to add to pillows.
Pin It


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this great tutorial. I haven't had time to sew in so long and a project like this might be something I could tackle one weekend. I love your fabric, too! (I'm pinning this!)

    Visiting from Serenity Now!

  2. Hi Paula, Glad you liked this project. I'm sure you could easily make this in a weekend, even if your a little rusty at sewing. So get your machine out and sew! I'd love to see a picture of your finished masterpiece!!

  3. Gorgeous pillow, and great tutorial! I'd be thrilled if you'd stop by and share this at the Head to Head Showdown, going on right now at ~Jen

  4. Jen, Just stopped by and shared my pillow at Head to Head Showdown. Thanks for the invite.

  5. You made it look so easy. The fabric is beautiful, love the bird print. Kathi

    1. Hi Kathi, Do you sew? Glad you liked the pillow tutorial! I liked the bird fabric too.
      I love the cards you make ...beautiful!! You're very talented.

  6. What a beautiful pillow. I am a pillow addict. I buy mine though. Not much of a seamstress. Thanks for sharing at Wow, but I need a link to the party in your post.


    1. Hi Kim, Glad you liked my pillow!
      My gift is sewing, NOT computers...I'm still learning the computer part of blogging. Some blogs want the link in the actual post, some say on your blog is good. I'm having a hard time keeping track. But I want to apologize if I put your link in the wrong place. I will correct that right now and put it at the bottom of this post.
      Sincerely sorry, Jules

    2. Actually Kim, I'm having a hard time getting your button to this post. This post is not my most recent post and I don't know how to distinguish which post a new gadget/button goes to. As I said, I'm still learning.
      Want to give a newbie a tutorial on to how to do this? Help!!
      Thanks and sorry, Jules

  7. This is gorgeous - I love the fabric. Your tutorial is great, also - it's just my sewing skills that leave something to be desired!

    1. Hi Rachel,
      So glad you liked the pillow and the fabric. I love the fabric too! Looks like your talents are cooking. If you ever decide you want to learn to sew, let me know, I'll walk you through any project of your choosing...big or small.
      Thanks, Jules

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