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Square Pleated Heirloom Pillow

Well here is another pleated pillow. I am in love with pleats. I love my boys, but boys do not like girly pleats or girly pillows, and husbands do not like girly pleats or girly pillows in their sons' rooms. So I will make these girly pillows for you guys and then put them up in my shop so that someone else can enjoy them. :) I like this plan. Do you know what's nice about this particular pillow? Imagine doing it with a boldly color variegated thread against a gray. That's not girly at all. Maybe I will end up with a full on boy pillow that's pleated. Ruh roh...the gears are turning. Ok well I'll consider the most recent idea that just vomited itself from my keyboard, I will tell all of you how to create your own square pleated pillow.

What you'll need:
18-1/2" x 18-1/2" cut of fabric {easily ironable, pleatable cotton, linen or lightweight denim}
15" x 15" cut of fabric
6" x 24" clear ruler
Fabric Marking Stick {pen, pen or chalk, whatever disappears with time or water}
14" pillow form

What you'll do:
Line up your 18-1/2" square cut of fabric and measure 1-3/4" in from one edge and make a line the entire length of the square. Then measure 2-1/2" in from the line you just made and make another line on the fabric the entire length. Continue making lines 2-1/2" from the previous line until you reach 1-3/4" from the opposite edge. Rotate the fabric 90 degrees and then repeat the above steps again. You should end up with your fabric looking like a checkerboard. Each side will have 7 pleats.

Now here's the fun part. Everyone of those lines you just made is a pleat. Starting on one side, fold the fabric with wrong sides together and stitch a 1/4" seam down the entire length of fabric. Repeat until all of the lines are pleated on one side. Iron the pleats all one direction, gently pulling the fabric taut so that you do not iron any wrinkles or additional pleats in it.

Rotate the fabric 90 degrees and let's start on the next set of pleats. You will sew these pleats same as the previous ones but you will be sewing over the pleats you just made. Make sure that your previous pleats are all going the same way when stitch the second set of pleats down. Go slowly because the additional fabric under the needle can bunch and be pulled down inside the machine. After all of the pleats are made iron the fabric again. Gently pull the fabric taut while ironing it out. Push all of the new pleats in one direction.

Now we're going to start adding the design to our pleats and pull out a new tool. I don't know if you guys have this tool, but I am in love with it. Its a stitching guide. I set up my stitching guide to be 1" from the needle, which was the center of the boxes. So lets start on the pleats that we just put in, line up the stitching line on the first pleat with the 1" stitching line or your guide on your machine and stitch the pleats in the opposite direction that they were ironed. Now line up the guide with the 2nd pleat stitching line and stitch the pleats down in the opposite direction, or the direction in which they were ironed. The picture below shows the pattern emerging.
Please ignore the mis-stitched line in that second square. :) 
This picture shows the guide being set at 2" inches, but 1" would work as well. The guide would be lined up with the pleat's stitching line.
Rotate your fabric so that we're working with the first set of pleats you made. These pleats are the one sewn to the other set of pleats. Line up the stitching line of the first pleat on your 1" stitching line and start stitching down the center of the square pushing the pleats in the opposite direction that they are sewn. Do this for each of your pleats on this side of the pillow. Below is the pattern emerging.

To ensure that the pleats don't get mussed while we're stitching the seams we need to stitch down the pleats inside the seam line. Just a quick run down the edges will solve this. Make sure that the pleats are being sewn down in the direction that they were ironed.

Now you can just finish the pillow as you like. I put an invisible zipper in mine and finished it off with 5/8" seams. I like over stuffed pillows. :) Here's the finished product.

Well I hope you guys have enjoyed this little tute. I had a lot of fun making this and I will definitely be trying it with some variegated thread. :) These lovelies are currently in my shop.

Have a great day guys!


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  1. This is a fabulous tutorial. As I was reading in the beginning I was thinking to myself that if I did this in gray it wouldn't be too girlie but then you said it but I would have never thought to add contrasting colored thread. Pure genius!!!

    Thank you for linking up to the first ever "Amaze Me Monday" blog party.

    I'm your newest follower :D

  2. This pillow totally amazes me. But you made the tutorial seem easy. This would be a good winter project. I became a follower so I can keep up with your ideas.