Reading Pillow Tutorial
Reading Pillows have become well known in the sewing and embroidery community as a great gift and best selling item for craft fairs! I want to help y'all jump on board and be able to complete one of these cushions. They look intimidating but taking it step by step makes them come together easily.
With the help of my friend Kimberly, We have created this blog post to walk you through making a 16x16 inch Reading Pillow with a zippered closure on the back for pillow insertion!
You will need:
3 pieces of Main Pillow Fabric 17x17, 9.5x17, 9.5x17
Pre-Quilted Fabric Panel 10x17
Lining Fabric for inside of Pocket 12x17
Coordinating Threads for your Designs
18 inch zipper
16x16 inch pillow form
Choose your Embroidery Designs for your pocket. Sometimes just a single horizontal wording is used on the pocket and looks fabulous. Today, We are using 2 designs. We will be using the Campfire Applique and a Campfire Saying from Embroidery Playground. For this applique we only need one piece of applique fabric. You will use Heat N Bond Lite (HNB) to prep your applique fabric. This helps secure it in place, makes it easier to trim, and create a nice looking applique overall. You cut a piece of HNB to match the size of your applique fabric. Iron it onto the wrong side of your fabric and then peel the paper off of the back side of the HNB. You will then lay this fabric with the HNB side down when you place it as your applique.
Now that all of your fabrics are cut and prepped, You are ready to begin stitching your designs onto your pre-quilted pocket fabric. You will want to determine the positions for the sayings and applique.
Here, Kimberly shows folding the material in half and marking her center to assist with getting the best placement for the designs. By lining the top edge up with the top of your hoop can be a guide to keep your design evenly placed. You want to keep the top and bottom of the design about 2 inches (varies with each design) away from the top and bottom edge of your fabric. Be sure your design orientation matches your fabric placement on the hoop. If you are using a horizontal design you will want to place your material down in the proper direction. Always double check!
Repeat this process for the other side of your pre-quilted fabric using your second design.
We are showing the pocket lining being attached with edge piping to add a little detail to the pocket. Alternatively, You can skip the piping and stitch approximately 1/2 - 1 inch from the raw edge. You will first line the piping up with the top edge of your pocket with raw edges facing the same direction. Place your lining fabric right side down on top of the embroidered pocket fabric. Take care to be sure all 3 pieces (pocket, piping, and lining) are all lined up properly. Stitch together. You will then flip your fabric open and press it with wrong sides together with the piping showing at the top edge. If you chose to skip the piping you will see 1/2 -1 inch of your lining that has created a "binding" along the top of your pocket. As shown in this picture....
Either way looks equally great to me!!
Now that your pocket is complete, It is time to assemble the back panel. You will start by pressing a 1/2 inch seam along the top long edge of both 9.5x17 inch pieces. If you are using directional fabric, take care to be sure that one seam is along the top and one seam is along the bottom. Next line up the bottom of your zipper with the top seamed edge of the bottom piece. Stitch in place. Repeat for the top. Line up the top of the zipper with the seamed edge of the top piece. Stitch in place. Leave your Zipper Closed and set this panel aside.
At this point, You should have an embroidered pocket panel with lining, a back panel composed of 2 pieces joined with a zipper, and a 17x17 main fabric panel.
So, Now it's time to layer them all together. Place your main fabric right side up down on the table. Then, place your pocket right side up on top of the main fabric lining up the bottom and side edges. Next, Place your back panel (zipper part way open) face down on top of these layers. Pin or clip all pieces in place. Taking care to pin well at the zipper ends so they don't shift during stitching. Stitch all of the way around the pillow. I use a serger or a zig-zag stitch to makes those inner seams nice and clean.
Trim any excess you may have from the perimeter of the pillow and trim the corners on the diagonal to allow for nice corners when turned right side out.
Now using the back zipper opening reach in and turn your bag right side out!
Fill your pillow with a 16x16 inch pillow form and zip closed.
Now, Step back and admire your work!