A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through a magazine and came across this pillow. Little birdies in a cage = super sweet pillow. $100 price = not super sweet.
So I set out to try and find a birdcage I could use for my version. I went to Graphics Fairy – she has a HUGE resource of vintage images and she lets you use them in any way you want. How nice is that?
She has several sweet birdcages. This is the one I chose:
But I also saw this image there this week:
Both so sweet. So I decided to make two pillows. :) I took both graphics into Adobe Illustrator, traced them, made the images a little more rustic looking, and added some birds and a bee. I also changed the number and added numbers that meant something to me: 90 is the year we was married and 28 was the date. :)
Note: Up until a few minutes ago I had titled this post: Birds and Bees Pillows. Huh. That doesn’t sound right. Backspace, Backspace, Backspace.
Here are the finished pillows. :)
I will confess, I’m in love. :)
Here’s a tutorial if you’d like to make your own.
I gathered up the supplies. I used linen for the top, a Michael Miller print for the back, satin ribbon and cording for the piping, 14″ pillow forms, transfer paper, jute, a button, a small square of muslin or light fabric for the bee, and some contrasting embroidery thread. (I’m going to give the directions for just one pillow – you’ll just do everything twice if you’re making two. )
For the fabrics, I cut out:
14″ square out of linen for the front
1″ x 14″ piece of linen for the back fold
2 rectangles for ruffle out of linen – 5″ x 58″
10″ x 14″ rectangle for the top of the back panel
7″ x 14″ rectangle for the bottom of the back panel
4″ piece of jute for the back loop
For the transfer, I printed out the images, in reverse, onto Avery transfer paper.
On the beehive transfer I also put the word “test”. I wanted to make sure the transfer would work well on the linen.
Following the instructions for the transfer paper, I cut around the images closely, and laid them on the linen where I wanted them.
Then I ironed them all on. I think I need a new iron. Mine is leaking gunk. Ugh.
After that I trimmed around my little bee and sewed it onto the beehive panel with a running stitch. I used all 6 strands of the floss, then I frayed the edges of the muslin.
So the front panels are ready, on to the back.
I hemmed the bottom of the top panel and the top of the bottom panel. Then I folded the small 1″ linen rectangle in half and sewed it to the top panel, with the loop of jute between.
I laid out the two panels, overlapping them, and lined them up to make a 14″ square. I basted the sides together to hold them in place. Then I marked the spot for the button and sewed that on, so the jute would loop around it.
Now on to the piping. I wanted to do a satin piping, I love the contrast with the linen. I cheated just a little and instead of using satin fabric, I bought satin ribbon. To make the piping, I wrapped the ribbon around the cording and sewed it together, about 3/8″ from the edge.
Once the piping was ready, I pinned it onto the pillow front panel, overlapping the ends at the bottom center of the panel. I sewed around the piping, just inside the original piping stitching line.
Next step is to prepare the ruffle. I sewed the two long rectangles together and then folded the long sides together and gathered the cut side. I did this by holding the top thread up by the spool as I sewed. This causes the ruffle to gather as you sew. I have found that this works better if you don’t sew too fast.
I pinned the ruffle on the top panel and sewed around it.
Last step! Sewing together the front and back panels. :) I pinned the two panels, right sides together.
In sewing these together, it’s easier to sew with the top panel facing up, so you can see where the previous stitching lines are. You want to sew as close to the piping as you can, inside the other stitching lines.
I clipped the corners and turned right side out.
Voila! Two sweet pillows for a lot less than $100!
(I had to take photos outside – it’s a little too dark for a decent photo inside- but these are going on my couch that will be recovered later in the year. When I get brave enough. )
I’ve included the files for you to download if you’d like to make your own. Feel free to use my numbers :) or cut those sections out. If you would like your own custom numbered images, send me an email and I will make them for you.
Download here: (This file is kind of biggish. I wanted to keep the images high quality for printing.)