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Flashback Friday - French Braided Pillow

I'm sharing another pillow post today, and it's one of my favorite pillows. I still use this pillow on my bed almost 6 years later, and it still looks good as new.

I'm sure all of us have seen something in a store and said, "I can make that, and for a lot cheaper than that." I had that moment in Target about a week ago, and I said then I was going to make that pillow. Well, I didn't forget about that pillow, but I did forget how it was sewn together. So back to Target we go.

How do you deduce how a pillow has been sewn together at a store with no intention of buying it? You unzip it, remove the innards, turn it inside-out and hold it up to the light while your mother takes pictures {because you let your phone completely die}.

Then have your Mom text you those pictures, then ask your mom to text you the right pictures {the pavilion pictures were lovely though, Ma} and then refer to those pictures while building your pillow. Simple. *laughs*   Oh and we did put the pillow back to rights and back where she belonged...right above the $32.99 price tag.

So here's how I replicated this pillow


  • Fabric - 1 Yard
  • 12" x 16" pillow form (wish I had this!)
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Disappearing Fabric Marker or Chalk


  1. Cut fabric into two 12" x 16" panels and twenty 3-1/2" x 11" strips. If the fabric is wrinkled then iron out the wrinkles. Fold one long edge on a strip over 1" matching wrong sides (right sides out), press. Repeat for the remaining strips. The refer to the below picture for a visual of what we're building.

  2. One on of your panels, right side up, make three marks on the 12" side from either corner every 1-1/4" inches. From those marks draw a line on the bias (45 degree angle) inwards towards the center of the panel.

  3. Lay one of your strips down so that the folded edge is against the innermost line. Make sure to leave enough overlap on your strip so that you can trim it evenly with the edge of the panel.
  4. Stitch down the strip, 3/4" from the folded edge. Be sure to sew in a straight line as the stitching will be visible. Remember when picking your thread color, a good contrast is better than a bad match, as I've exampled here. With all the choices I have for thread colors, I did not have a green that matched this fabric.

    All this thread and a not a matching green....sigh

  5. Lay the next strip on the panel, going the opposite direction of the first, but making sure to line up the folded edge of the strip with the line you made previously. Stitch this strip 3/4" from the folded edge, making sure to overlap this stitching over the previous stitching.

  6. Trim the first strip's overlap (what is underneath the second strip) about a 1/4" from the seam.

  7. With your ruler, measure 1-1/4" from the fold of the first strip and lay your next strip down. Stitch 3/4" away from the fold of this strip. If you need to, you can always mark a line 3/4" away from the folded edge and then stitch that line. Be sure to use a disappearing ink marker or chalk. Trim the underside of the 2nd strip even with this one's stitching. You want to remove the bulk of the strips in the center of the pillow.

  8. You will continue to lay alternating strips 1-1/4" from the previous folded edge, stitching 3/4" away from each folded edge and then trimming the previous fabric 1/4" from the seam until the pillow has been covered in strips.

  9. Turn your panel over and trim the strips even with the edge of your panel. With right sides together, stitch the panels together in a 1/2" seam, making sure to leave an opening for turning. Trim your corners and turn the pillow right-side out.

  10. Stuff your pillow with the form (or if you're me then with fiber-fil) and then stitch the opening closed.

All done!


 I used a faux silk that color shifts, and the effect is wonderful. Target's pillow was silver satin. A cotton chintz, silk, satin, even shirting material would do wonderfully for this pillow. The only requirement I can think of is that the fabric be able to crease because you want those pleats crisp. If you're having trouble getting your pleats to stay, then you can use a press cloth dipped in a 2:1 ratio of water to white vinegar. The vinegar solution will make the pleats permanent, even through washing.

I hope you all enjoyed today's pillow and have a wonderful day!

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