1/14/10

Doily Pillow Tutorial

I made this doily pillow for my midwife, Lori, as a way to say THANK YOU for being more fabulous than I imagined throughout my pregnancy and delivery. We had our last well baby visit earlier today and I managed to get this thing finished with time to spare! I started on it two days ago and left it out on my work bench so that I could steal a moment here and there to stitch those doilies together. Here's how it went down.

Gather some doilies you picked up at your local flea market, on eBay, JoAnns, or your grandma's and arrange them like so. You'll also need two pieces of fabric 1/2" larger on both sides than your pillow form, a needle, embroidery thread, sewing machine, and scissors. I used a 14" square pillow form so I knew I needed to cover at least that much territory with my doilies. I made sure I didn't have many gaps in between by overlapping edges. Once I was happy with my layout...

I spent about an hour and a half total stitching my doilies together by hand. I later realized I could've saved some time and just pinned them down to the fabric underneath and sewn them directly onto the fabric with my machine. However, I tend to do things the hard way the first time. To fill in one of the large gaps in between doilies, I cut up a smaller piece and patched it from behind.

Make sure your doilies cover the top piece of fabric and pin down.

It should look like this on the back. Wrinkles won't matter so much once the case is on your pillow so don't spend too much time getting things too smooth. Once your doilies are pinned, trim off the excess doilies. Yes, I cut a doily. A means to an end, folks. Loosely stitch (baste) around the edges of your pillow to keep things in place.

Decide if you have enough doilies to cover the back of your pillow. You can repeat this process on the back or find a large enough doily to cover most of it. OR, just stitch a single doily onto the fabric so that it looks nice.


Pin your front and back sides together with right sides facing each other. Starting a little in from the bottom right corner, stitch along the edge until you're a little in from the bottom left corner. This will give your bottom corners and easy time of things when you turn it right side out. See image below.

This is the large doily I found and used to mostly cover the back of the pillow. It has a lovely peacock feather design.

Carefully insert your pillow form (or substitute form with poly-fil stuffing) and hand-stitch the bottom shut.

I attached my doily front at an angle to give it more visual interest and used doilies that were different shades of cream to draw attention to the various patterns involved. I chose yellow for the backing because it allowed the cream to show up nicely but wasn't stealing the show.

The doily pillow wanted to stay at my house but I told her she was needed elsewhere.

I'd love to see someone make one with colored doilies! If you make one, colored or not, please send me a picture! If you have a similar love affair with doilies, you may want to check out what this girl did with hers in her kitchen. Oh, and be warned that there is a darling little baby involved. Scroll down to the end of the post to see it in the background.

xoxo,
Rachel

p.s. I think she loved it.

67 comments:

sfgirlbybay said...

so cute!

Diana said...

I love it!

psychedelicsister said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

miss james said...

loooves!
i have been using doilies a lot lately in my work. excited to to create a couple of these for my living room. :)

xo.

Toni Brockliss said...

So beautiful Rachel.
Do you know that the doily throw I made for the RVA Spring Class last year, is my favourite crafty thing I have ever made.
It lives on our couch and I love it.
x

PaisleyJade said...

Love it - thanks for the tutorial!!

mle jean said...

beautiful and super easy, thanks!

pennycones said...

Thank you so much for this!

I have a collection of doilies and I am going to make this cover with them :)

xxx

charismagic said...

That's so sweet of you Rachel x

drummbellinaxxx said...

That's really really lovely! I'd like to make one with a pink backing. Or hot pink doillies on a white backing... inspirado!

sara@augustfields said...

this is a wonderful tutorial! your pillow turned out lovely and i'm sure your midwife will love it...how thoughtful!

i've always thought gifts made with doilies could easily be turned into heirlooms ..... especially when using a grandmother's our aunt's etc. handmade ones.

Casey said...

it's beautiful! I only have one big doily that my grandma made, I'll have to see if my mom has any more stashed away

Rebecca Horrell said...

Great tutorial- I must try and find time between uni and my other projects to have a go at making one,the one you made looks so beautiful!

6p0120a78e43e4970b said...

love what you did here--gonna have to go head out and find some fabulous doilies. :) alllllso, love ashleyann. she's precious!

ashleyrwatts said...

This looks great! I've been wanting to do this so bad since Christmas (a coworker bought me a TON of doilies as a gift - how awesome is that?!) - I think you just gave me the motivation to sit down this weekend and make it! :D

Meg said...

So lovely, thanks for the tutorial!!
xoxo~Meg

Jingle said...

This is beautiful! What a great idea!!!

a lovely evening said...

wow, gorgeous! i wish i could make doilies!

Clare said...

This is such a great idea. I have so many doilies that I've bought because they were pretty, but have no idea what to do with them!
Will definitely be trying this out...

Miss Wanderlust said...

I am soooooo doing this!!
thanks!
xo
janel

souljane said...

ADORABLE.

THe only issue I have with Doilies is that they are huge dust collectors so you have to be careful.

amy lapi said...

you are SO fantastic. i can't wait to try this. it's genius.

margot said...

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! i can't wait i can't wait to try so beautiful!

doily power!

Maggie Whitley {Gussy} said...

gorgeoussss

Ashley said...

Killing me. One more thing for the to-do list...I think it would look perfect on that chair (pic I sent you)...

Alexandra Mason said...

that looks fantastic...love it xx

xoxoKrysten said...

Oh my gosh that's so cute!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Wow, this is gorgeous! What a fabulous idea. Thanks so much for this, I'll be linking.

cait said...

this is gorgeous Rachel!! I've been dreaming of making pillows for months now and this might be my first attempt :) I have to go doily hunting because the only ones I have were handmade by my nona (great grandmother) close to 100 years ago and I can't bring myself to alter them in any way. Thankyou for the inspiration yet again!
love cait
xoxo

Artsy Momma said...

I have so many doilies, guess I know what I am doing this weekend!!!

Linnea said...

I don't comment much on your posts...but I do happily indulge in them all. This one in particular put a large smile on my face. Beautiful! and thanks for sharing.

lacy said...

So kkkUTE!

Jeanee said...

awesome!!! so shabby chic!

Pinkzombies said...

i loved it so much that a friend of mine that is in love with thrift store dollies, i told her about this project! yay

Jessica said...

i love this. i will have to try it out!

Bird Trouble said...

beautiful!

jenny said...

oh Rachel... this is lovely. Reminds me of pillows my great grandma Ruby used to make. I so wish we still had them. She stitched handmade doilies and crocheted roses onto pillows. Maybe I'll make some in her honor. Thanks for the inspiration!

Kat said...

that is gorgeous! I will definately be on the lookout for doilys at the op shops from now on.

Emily said...

beautiful!!!

~Emily

shelliebellie said...

omg thats soo pretty! now i have to make one for my bed. itd match perfectly..

Marcia Hamelijnck said...

Great tutorial! I bought a box full of doilies at a thrift store the other day. So I've enough to make me some of those pillows. Thanks!

Sophie said...

The dolly pillow is so cute, so inspired.

GemmaBeads said...

What a lovely project with so many possibilities. Thanks so much for sharing your idea. I'm sure I'll have to give this a try.

Martine said...

this pillow is SO cute! My grandmother is a big crochet fan, So I might ask here for some doilies to spice up my couch! Thanks for the inspi!

Mandi said...

my favorite tutorial ever. hands down.

RachelDenbow said...

thanks, everyone!

I love that you love it.

Melissa Y. Allam said...

this is gorgeous, I love it and it looks so right in that pink chair.

julia said...

lovely idea, thanks for the tutorial!

emmy-ray said...

What a great tutorial. I'm re-decorating almost every room in my house and am always looking for good ideas!

Anne said...

This picture of yours is featured over at Creature Comforts! AWESOME!!! Love the tutorial too! http://www.creaturecomfortsblog.com/home/2010/1/15/inspiration-daily-01-15-10.html

Julie Ann Shahin said...

Love love love your pillow! And thanks for the link for the table runner.

Sharing my love for doilies:
here is my valentine project = winged heart with doilies http://julieannshahin.blogspot.com/2010/01/love-love-love.html

and my peace sign wall art with doilies http://julieannshahin.blogspot.com/2009/12/indie-alternative-to-pottery-barn-peace.html

Thought you might enjoy!
xoxo,
julie ann shahin
peace!

Isadora said...

Wonderful! Creative and beuatiful!
Thanks!

oklyous said...

LOVE it!

craftydill said...

Saw this tutorial on design*sponge... your pillow is beautiful!

CinnamonAndSass said...

LOVE it! What a great idea! I admit, I did gasp at the cutting of the doily, but it was necessary of course ;)

pirol118 said...

hi,

im a midwife too, in germany.
i would be very very pleased to recieve such a nice, made-with-love gift for my work!
instead of chocolate, ending on my hips!

what a lovely idea!

Deb - Two Cheeky Monkeys said...

What a fantastic idea! I would never have thought of piecing the smaller doilies together. Thanks, I will be trying this soon.

Floralovely said...

Wow I love this! My friend sent me the link to your blog and I'm so glad she did! I'm off to email her now to say thanks! x Louise

me said...

This is beautiful. I found a whole bunch of old doilies the other day at a trash and treasure, I was thinking about making a little skirt or something, but this is far lovelier. I'll be sure to send you a photo, although I am a truly horrible sewer.

robbie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Coffeemonkey said...

Reeeeeeeeeeally lovely! Thanks for sharing!

Kate said...

Thanks for the awesome idea! I just finished up making my very own! Well, it was a gift actually! I blogged about it here http://livinguffda.com/2010/03/23/top-secret-project-revealed/ if you'd like to see it. Thanks again for the great idea!

craftattacks said...

I made one!
I linked to your post from my blog: http://goodknits.com/blog/2010/08/29/doily-love/

Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse said...

Such a fabulous way to save all those rejected doilies! I always think how sad it is that so many were handmade (and that takes real patience) and are now abandonned. Love this project!!

Hi! My name is erica. Would you be my friend? said...

This is great! I do happen to have my share of imperfect vintage doilies! ;D

Angie said...

That is so lovely and very resourceful.
I wanna do it too :)

Meghan's Journey said...

I made one for my grandmother!
hope she'll like it :)
i did a red background