Have anyone of you tried cross stitching pillows?

I love knitting but would like to try something different this summer. I LOVE LOVE LOVE antique cross stitch (at least I think they’re cross stitch) pillows. The ones with the cross stitch of flowers or something on one side and backed with velvet and fringe around the edges. I would LOVE to learn how to make these especially since they’re so expensive to buy. Has anyone tried these? Thoughts? Suggestions?

I’ve been cross stitching since January 1989…and I’ve made several pillows. Okay, how I did mine are a bit different than how you described what you’re after…However, I’m not much of a seamstress…so, I never did figure out or get the hang of adding lace or other edgings to my pillows…Oh! And the patterns I used weren’t antique,either…(Usually freebie promotional patterns/charts I picked up at my local needlework store… Or at one point, Hobby Lobby had a nice selection of DMC promotional free charts/patterns…- or a pattern I’d bought and had on hand.) Anyway, how I did mine was the following-

  1. Do your cross stitching for the pillow…wash by hand, ring out until nearly dry…place between two fluffy white towels, and press your cross stitch piece. ( I don’t know if anyone else did this,but, I’ve been known to wash mine with shampoo…- worked pretty good, if memory serves me…)

  2. Get some fabric to match your cross stitch- I always favored calico’s…( I never have sewn anything velvet…so, I won’t be much help on that regard…) -Now, what you want to do with that fabric, now that you have it…is this…It would probably really help if you had a self healing mat board, straight edge ruler, and rotary cutter- you can find all these things at Wal Mart in the quilting section in near the fabric/crafts department…Hobby Lobby, Joann’s…- somewhere like that…I wouldn’t bother with going to a specialty quilting shop- you’d be looking at spending a lot more than necessary…)…Decide how wide you want your first strip to be- each one is going to be a little different in terms of legnth…but, width wise keep them the same…but, you could go wider…depending on what size and how wide you want your pillow…( What you’re basically going to do with the first strip is make it exactly as long as which ever side you’re going to apply the sashing to first…then take the second strip- it’s always either going to be a little wider or longer- depending on which side you start…- and proceed like that around…- I always tend to sew mine as I go…so I can get accurate measurements…- yes, it does tend to take a little longer, but, always works out to be worth it in the long run!) Then, after you’ve got your pillow top made, then cut another peice of fabric to make the back- you want even, clean straight edges. Makes it A LOT easier to sew it together!

  3. Before you sew the back to the front…you should’ve already decided if you’re going to use poly fil to stuff out your pillow, or if you’re going to use a pre-made pillow form…( I pretty much always use poly fill for mine…) Anyway, once you’ve got the back to the front sewn (With right sides facing…clip the corners- but take care NOT to clip into your stitching/sewing…Now,turn it out. Clipping your corners helps make the corners of your pillow a lot more accentuated…- Really makes a difference!

  4. Now, turn it out…- when you take care of the corners, you’ll see why clipping the excess makes such a difference!

  5. Stuff out your pillow…( For this part, if you like, you could add something scented, for a little extra something if you like…or just stuff it out with out the smell good…)

  6. Blind stitch your pillow closed…and, there you have it…

Oh, and by the way, you COULD sew it all together by hand, but, your fingers are going to be really sore, and tender…from the needle poking, unless you’ve got a good thimble…( I like the leather quilting ones…My fingers are SO little that I can’t find a metal one to fit, so, I use the leather ones…) For hand sewing you’re really better off using what’s called " Betweens"…- But, it’s really a lot easier and goes a lot quicker if you use a sewing machine, and use the standard 1/4" seam allowance when sewing your pillow…- at least that’s what I’ve found to work rather well…

But, on the other hand, you might also want to check your local needlework shop…sometimes they’ll offer sewing services…at least mine does…( They have someone that does the sewing for you,all you have to provide is the cross stitch and the fabric you want to use for the pillow…bell pull or christmas stocking…- Usually it’s pretty reasonably priced…when I had some stuff done, I had three pillows and a bellpull done, and it cost me somewhere around $65…- but, that was eleven or twelve years ago…)
Hope this helps!


Thanks Nita! When you say clip the corners, do you mean clip them on an angle or just cut them close to the stitch? I was picturing cutting them on an angle so the fabric that falls off is a little triangle.

Thank you for the great suggestions!!! :slight_smile:

The pillows may also have been needlepointed. Needlepoint pillows (particularly if done in the basketweave stitch) are more durable than cross stitch ones. Do you have a link to a picture of one that you like?

WOW, I don’t have much to offer after the pp…However, I have cross-stitched many a pillow. My mother started me on cross-stitch back in 6th grade when it seemed I would never get the hang of crochetting, knitting, or sewing. I needed something to do to keep my hands busy : )

My suggestion would be to avoid cross-stitching on black cloth right off the bat. I did an awesome “antique” flower pillow for my mother and I about went blind. Also, check the pattern or kit to be sure there aren’t too many color blends or half stitches etc. I still find those extremely frustrating and flower patterns are famous for things like that.

Anyway, pillows are great fun. One I made for my grandmother years ago was returned to me after she died. I also made one for my mother-in-law and she was incredibly touched that I made her something.

I used to cross-stitch all the time, but getting older means the ole eyes aren’t what they used to be and I have arthritis that seems to flare up more when I am trying to sew anything than knitting with larger needles so I had to give it up. I just wished I could get back all the things I made for my mother before she died as momentos to her. Let’s just say I have a Cinderella stepfather and I can’t get them back.

I always clip my corners on a bias/ diagonally.(at an angle) …oh, and the lady that said that needle point is more durable definitely has a point!!! ( It IS more durable…given that it’s done on canvas, rather than on fabric as Cross Stitch is done… Too many options to go into depth in terms of cross stitch fabric…but the two basic types are Aida Cloth, and “Even weave”/ Over two fabrics…) Oh, and you’re VERY welcome! Just glad I could help out!!


LOL…you don’t even want to know the story behind my crafty/creative thing…let’s just say that someone told me I couldn’t or wasn’t capable of it once too many times, and I proved her wrong more than once!!! ( A Cinderella sort of Stepmother,basically… But ten million times more evil,diabolical, anal, and a general PITA…)

As for me and cross stitching, I prefer over 2 fabrics, but, with as bad as my vision is getting, forget dark fabrics…but, I can still see well enough to still be able to stitch on over two fabrics- even with my glasses on!! (Basically, I’m riding that fine line between single vision lenses and Bifocals.)

As for complexity of what’s being cross stitched, I’d really suggest something like Lizzie Kate’s patterns…They’re really simple, and I don’t think I’ve seen a fractional stitch one in any of her designs. - But, not everyone likes the fun, whimsical, colorful stuff like I do…(Then again, I’m biased, as the lady that does the Lizzie Kate stuff lives here in town!- Gotta root for the home team, ya know!! ha ha…)


[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=darkorchid]Reading through this might help you find some info. Don’t worry about sewing the pillow now. The cross stitch will take you long enough to finish on your own that you can look through sewing books at the book store and search the net for more information.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=#9932cc]Many needlework stores employ finishers to do that work for you, too, should you find you don’t want to do it yourself. [/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=3][COLOR=#9932cc]Velvet is hard to sew on without special feet for your sewing machine, so you may want to learn on some less expensive fabric. Make some regular throw pillows out of sale fabric to get the hang of it. Simple pillows are just very easy, adding lace, or cording makes them a bit more difficult but learnable.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]

I recommend you do more of a tapestry-type cross stitch: bigger squares and wool instead of thinner embroidery floss. It will work up much faster, and I think also look more old-fashioned/antiquey.