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Home décor pillows featuring your own digital images are an easy project that can add a unique, one-of-a-kind touch to your home décor as well as being a great personalized gift.
Print your selected photos on pre-made photo fabric according to the manufacturer’s direction. To add a personalized touch, you might consider adding digital elements and text to your photo before printing. Keep in mind that ink jet ink is not water safe so unless your photo fabric has a protective element added, you may want to seal the printed fabric with a sealer.
Trim the photo so that you have a 1/4” border on each side. To make it easy to fold the fabric, place a ruler along the edge with 1/4” allowance. Use an embossing stylus to score the fabric next to the ruler. The stylus will help create a fold line that will help you create a smooth and even fold.
Turn the photo over and fold the photo edges back along the fold lines. Pin the folds in place or glue them in place using a fabric safe adhesive like Therm O Web’s Super Stick.
Cut the fabric for the pillow front. If you are using a prepared pillow insert, add 1 inch to the pillow size on each side for your fabric measurement. For example, I used a 12” x 12” pillow form so my fabric was 13” x 13”.
Place the prepared fabric photo on the center front of the pillow panel. Pin the photo in place or secure with fabric adhesive.
Sew the fabric photo to the pillow front about 1/8” from the photo edge. If your photo has several colors around the edge, it will not be possible to match your thread. A simple solution is to sew using a neutral thread color like white and then coloring the white thread with markers. If you anticipate the pillow cover being washed in the future, choose a laundry safe ink or tread the ink with a sealer.
A simple way to embellish your pillow design is to appliqués. Wool felt is great choice for appliqués because it won’t fray when handled. To create a personalized appliqué, start by tracing a desired shape or design directly onto the felt.
If your pillow is a gift or perhaps a photo of a child, consider including the child in the process by allowing the child to write something on the traced shape. Pencil will mark the fabric well enough for it to be seen for stitching without leaving a dark mark that will remain like a marker would.
Use an embroidery needle and floss to stitch over the pencil marks.
Pin or adhere the appliqué to the pillow front with fabric adhesive. Sew around the appliqué about 1/8” from the edge.
Cut the fabric for the pillow back. The fabric should be the same width as the pillow front. Add 2” to the length. For example, for my front is 13” x 13” and my back is 13” x 15”.
Next, cut the piece in half lengthwise. Using my pillow as an example, I ended up with two pieces 13” wide by 7 1/2” tall.
Fold one edge 1/2” from the edge on the long side of the two fabrics. Again, using my pillow as an example, after folding one edge of each of the two pieces, you would have two pieces 13” wide by 7” tall.
Top stitch the fold edge of the two pieces about 1/4” from the folded edge.
Place the pillow front (the one with the photo) face up on your work surface. Place one of the two back pieces, right side facing down on the pillow front, matching the top corners of each. The folded and sewn edge should be in the center of the pillow.
Place the remaining back piece, right side facing down on the pillow front, matching the bottom corners. The second back piece should overlap the first back piece through the center of the pillow. The folded and sewn edge should be in the center of the pillow.
Pin the pieces together and sew 1/2” from the edge.
Trim the corners of the pillow, taking care to not cut through the stitching.
Turn the sewn pillow cover right side out. Slip the prepared pillow form inside the cover through the opening in the back of the cover.
The finished personalized pillow can make a great gift. In addition to embellishing the pillow with appliqués, you could also adhere ribbon, flowers, or buttons to the front just like you might embellish a scrapbook page or photo frame.
Printable Photo Fabric (available at most fabric stores)
1/2 yard of fabric (for a 12” pillow)
Ink jet printer
Therm O Web Super Stick or fabric adhesive
Embellishments as desired