How to Make Needlepoint Pillows


Handmade needlepoint pillows, which are often passed down through the generations, can represent family history and be a tie to the past. Creating your own needlepoint pillows is relatively easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Needlepoint piece large enough for 1 side of a pillow
  • Prestuffed pillow form, or pillow stuffing and a zippered pillow cover
  • Backing material
  • Bias tape that matches the needlepoint
  • Needles & thread / sewing machine
  • Cording and tassels (optional)
  • Square board for blocking (optional).
  • Hidden zipper (optional)
  • Complete your needlepoint. Any design can be made into a needlepoint pillow. Pick a design that, when finished, will measure just larger than a standard pillow form. Leave about 1 inch of fabric on each edge to allow for sewing the needlepoint pillow together.

    Once your needlepoint is complete, it should be blocked and stretched so that it makes a square. If your design is for a round or unusual shaped pillow, the fabric should still be stretched and blocked so that the stitching is tight and all wrinkles have been removed. This can be done by hand on a stretcher board, or by taking it to a dry cleaner's that specializes in needlework.

  • Sew bias tape around the edges of the canvas on which your needlepoint is made. This will prevent unraveling of the canvas while it is inside the needlepoint pillow.

  • Cut the material for backing your pillow about a half-inch larger than the size of the needlepoint material. Hem the material to prevent fraying. Place the backing material right side up and the needlepoint face down and pin the edges into place.

    If you are going to add cording, trim or seam edging, it should be added now. Place the trim edge between the 2 pieces of material before pinning.

    Sew by hand or by machine around 3 of the edges of the needlepoint pillow case, leaving the fourth free. Make 2 lines of stitches around the pillow to add strength to the seams. Your pillow case will now be inside out.

    If you choose to have a zipper to open the fourth side, it should be sewn into the pillow case at this time.

  • Turn the needlepoint pillow right side out, being careful when straightening the corners. Place the pillow form inside the needlepoint pillow case. If you are not using a pillow form, place the pillow stuffing inside a regular cover and seal before placing it inside the needlepoint pillow case.

    If creating a zippered needlepoint pillow, you will be able to close the zipper and your pillow is complete. If not, turn the edges of the open end of the pillow case inside, and hand-stitch the opening shut, making sure your stitches are small and tight and near the end.

  • Add tassels if desired.

    Fluff the pillow and put in place on your favorite chair.


Tips & Warnings

  • Use any type of needlecraft to make pillows. Embroidery and counted cross-stitched pieces also make nice pillow keepsakes.
  • Not all needlepoint yarn or thread is colorfast. Test a sample before blocking to avoid ruining your finished piece.

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