Needlepoint Pillows: Learn How to Make One from Scratch in 8 Easy Steps

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Learn how to make needlepoint pillows with this step-by-step guide, which includes tips for choosing the perfect design and materials and finishing techniques to make your finished product look like a pro.

Needlepoint pillows are a beautiful and unique way to add a dash of elegance and sophistication to any room in your home. They are made by stitching colorful threads over a canvas, creating intricate patterns and designs.

Whether you’re a professional or a beginner, creating your own needlepoint pillow is a fun and rewarding project.

Making time: 1 Hour

Skills: Beginner-level sewing (and a lot of patience)

Estimated cost: $126 – $616

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Step 1: Choose Your Design

The first step in crafting a needlepoint pillow is to select a design that speaks to your aesthetic. Peruse the array of pre-made needlepoint patterns, or create your own design utilizing a needlepoint pattern if you prefer a more personal touch.

There are many different needlepoint patterns for pillows available, including designer and vintage needlepoint pillows, or you can create a custom needlepoint pillow design by working with a needlepoint designer.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

As you proceed with your chosen design, it’s time to assemble a collection of supplies. You will require a needlepoint pillow canvas of the highest quality, embroidery floss in an array of colors, and a needle that is both sturdy and fine-tipped. To give your pillow a professional and polished finish, it’s worth investing in premium supplies.

Things you’ll need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing shears
  • Sharp hand-sewing needles
  • Straight pins
  • Finished and blocked needlepoint
  • Decorative cording or trim
  • Fabric for the pillow backing
  • Muslin for the inner lining
  • Heavy-duty sewing thread
  • Polyester fiberfill for use as a stuffing material

Step 3: Start Stitching

With all of your supplies ready, it’s time to embark on the journey of stitching your design onto the canvas.

As you delve into this endeavor, remember to have patience, for needlepoint is a craft that takes time and devotion. Remember to take frequent breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your hands to prevent cramping.

Step 4: Blocking Your Pillow

Before embarking on any needlework masterpiece, it’s of the utmost importance that your canvas is in a state of perfection. Utilize the art of “blocking” to ensure that your canvas is square.

This includes delicately pulling or steaming the fabric to reshape it back to its original square size in case your stitching has caused it to be pulled off its squareness. This is a crucial step to ensure that your final needlepoint pillow is symmetrical.

Step 5: Sew it to a Backing Fabric

With gentle precision, guide your needle and thread through the canvas, muslin, and fabric, deftly securing the edges of the needlepoint.

By weaving your needle around the perimeter of the design, you will prevent any unraveling as you work with the lining and backing materials.

Utilize the precision of a sewing machine to navigate as closely as possible to the stitching without disrupting the needlepoint. With scissors, delicately trim any excess canvas within a half inch of the intricate design on all four edges, creating a seam allowance for your pillow.

With the utmost care, unfasten the pins and lay the needlepoint aside. Using the backing fabric as a blueprint, delicately cut out the inner lining and secure it to the unassuming side of the needlepoint with dainty pinpricks.

To complete the process, adorn the lining with a basting stitch, ensuring that every loop and knot of thread stays within the confines of one canvas thread of the embroidered design.

Step 6: Review Your Work

With the decorative trim or cording of your choice, gracefully pin it around the edges of your completed needlepoint pillow front.

Adorn the edges by delicately basting as closely as possible to the needlepoint stitches, seamlessly overlapping the ends. Flip to the reverse side to meticulously scrutinize for any missed stitches and ensure the decorative trim is securely fastened.

Utilize a heavy-duty sewing machine and adapt the presser foot or lower the feed dogs as required to stitch through multiple layers of fabric. Embellish by adding an extra row or revisiting the previous row of stitching to fix the trim firmly in place.

Step 7: Put the Pieces Together

As you gather the two sides of the pillow, each adorned with its own unique visage, bring them together with their right sides facing one another. Take up your needle and thread, and with a running stitch, commence to sew along the pillow’s base, one inch removed from the edge nearest to you.

As you progress and reach the next corner, plant the needle in a downward position and gracefully pivot the fabric, continuing to sew along the next edge. Repeat this process until you return to the base of the pillow, stitching one inch from the final corner.

This will create an opening of ample size to insert the pillow’s stuffing or form. Finally, snip the corners with precision, cutting to within 1/4 inch of the line of machine stitching, taking care not to sever the thread. This technique will reduce any excess bulk and produce a polished, professional finish.

Step 8: Impart that Finishing Touch

With deft fingers, carefully invert the pillow casing and prod the edges to a crisp prominence. Nestle the pillow innards, with a plump form or a cloud of filling, within the intricately-woven needlepoint cover. Should the need arise, supplement any areas of inadequate stuffing with an additional measure of cushioning.

Tuck away any unsightly unfinished edges by folding the needlepoint face and the backing fabric inward, then secure the open ends with a series of discreet hand stitches. Lastly, fluff the pillow to a full and fluffy state before proudly displaying it.

Additional Tips to Make a Needlepoint Pillow

  • Keep your work area well-lit, as this will make it easier to see your stitches and ensure that they are even and consistent.
  • Take breaks to rest your eyes and hands, as needlepoint can be quite tiring and straining.
  • Use a needle threader to make threading your needle easier and less frustrating.
  • Consider using a hoop or frame to keep your needlepoint pillow taut and prevent it from shifting while you work.
  • As you work, check the back of your needlepoint pillow regularly to ensure that your stitches are not too tight, which can cause the fabric to pucker.
  • Pay attention to color changes when using multiple thread colors to make a smooth transition.
  • Experiment with different fibers, thread types, and needle sizes to find the best combination for you and your project.
  • Use a thimble to protect your finger while pushing the needle through the canvas.
  • Keep track of your progress by counting the stitches; it will help you pace yourself and monitor any mistakes you have made.
  • Remember that needlepoint is time-consuming, so have patience and don’t rush the process. It will be worth the wait.
  • Finally, remember to enjoy the process and have fun creating your own beautiful needlepoint pillow.

Cost Breakup

The supplies needed for a needlepoint pillow can vary depending on the design and size of the pillow, but here is an estimate of the cost of the basic supplies needed:

  • Sewing machine: $80-500
  • Sewing shears: $10-20
  • Sharp hand-sewing needles: $2-5
  • Straight pins: $2-5
  • Finished and blocked needlepoint: $20-50
  • Decorative cording or trim: $5-15
  • Fabric for the pillow backing: $10-20
  • Muslin for the inner lining: $5-10
  • Heavy-duty sewing thread: $3-5
  • Pillow stuffing material: $10-20

The total cost for supplies can range from $126 to $616 based on the prices of the products. Prices may vary depending on the quality of the materials and the source from which you purchase them.

Time To Don That Sewist Hat!

If you’re looking for a chic way to decorate your home and make yourself feel good, needlepoint pillows are the way to go. You don’t have to be an expert at sewing to make your own pillow, and it’s fun to try out new techniques.

Just keep in mind that if you want a finished product that looks professional, you’ll need to spend some time practicing before you get started. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll be able to create your own unique designs in no time! 

For those who seek a more effortless and convenient alternative, needlepoint pillow kits offer a lovely solution. These kits provide everything one needs to create a charming needlepoint pillow, without the hassle of sourcing materials and patterns from scratch.

We’ve put together this step-by-step guide on making one of these pillows in no time. We hope it helps you get started on the right foot, and we’d love to see what you come up with!

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