Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Tutorial: Pin-Tuck Pleated Pillow

We're so psyched to welcome our dear friend Rachael from Imagine Gnats today with a super-duper awesome tutorial for a pin-tuck pleated pillow. I think both Angel and I said "wow!" out loud when we saw the photo of her finished project. We are so impressed -- and so excited that she is willing to dish about her sewing process here!

We hope you'll pay Rachael a visit on her blog Imagine Gnats where she's constantly sharing her latest crafty adventures. Trust me when I say, the girl never stops and she is talented! You can also find Rachael on Facebook, Etsy and Pinterest. Without further ado, I'll let her take it away!

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pin tuck pleated pillow

Hi! I'm Rachael, from imagine gnats, and I'm here today to share a tutorial for making this pin-tuck pleated pillow cover. The pillows on our couch were in desperate need of a makeover and Feather Your Nest was just the thing to inspire me to recover, well, one of them :) The other five are still on the to-do list...

What you'll need:

- one yard of fabric
- thread
- 16" pillow form
- steamy iron!
- painter's tape or quilting tape
- scissors, rotary cutter, ruler, sewing machine, etc.

1. Cut fabric selvage to selvage into two 17" wide pieces. Lay one aside for now (this will be the back of the pillow).


2. Fold the piece of fabric for the front of your pillow wrong sides together so that the smaller end overlaps about 6" (shown below) and press fold.


3. Stitch along the fold you created with a 3/8" seam allowance.


4. Unfold fabric and press pleat towards short end.


5.. Fold fabric again, wrong sides together, so that fold is 1" below your stitching line. press.


6. Stitch along fold with a 3/8" seam allowance. Unfold fabric, press pleat in same direction as the last pleat, and refold fabric 1" below your last stitching line. press.



7. Repeat step 6 until you have 24 pressed pleats.


The back of your fabric will look like this:


8. Trim fabric to 17" square, centering your pleats vertically so that you have approximately 1.5" above and below your top and bottom stitch lines.


9. Along the top and bottom of your fabric, measure and make a mark at 2.5", and then every 2" across.



10. Use painter's or quilting tape to create a line between the marks at 4.5", 8.5", and 12.5".


11. Top-stitch along the line, using the tape as a guide.


12. Also top-stitch on each edge, 1/4" from the side of the fabric.


Your piece will now look like this:


13. We are now going to mark and stitch along the lines at 2.5", 6.5", 10.5", and 14.5", but first we will need to pin the pleats so that they are folded in the opposite direction.


To fold your pleats, I recommend pulling and holding each one by hand and pinning individually.


14. Once each pleat in the row is pinned, again use your tape to mark your stitching line. When stitching, make sure that each pleat is fully folded, which may require some pulling of the fabric as you stitch.


After all of the lines are stitched, your pillow front will look like this:



15. For the back of your pillow, cut your second 17" piece of fabric into two pieces, one 13.5" and the other 10". On the 17" length of fabric, fold back each piece 1/2" (wrong sides together) and press. Then fold back again 1" and press again. This will form the hem for you envelope closure back.


16. Stitch across your finished edge as desired. I used two lines of stitching for the 10" piece (that will be visible) and one line of stitching for the 13.5" piece (that will be covered) as seen below.


17. Lay the 13.5" piece wrong side down and overlap with the 10" piece wrong side down to create a 17" square.


18. Pin pieces together where they overlap. You can also secure this section by stitching 1/4" from the edge of the fabric where these pieces overlap.


19. Lay your top pillow piece right side down over this square, and stitch a 1/2" seam allowance around all edges. Clip corners, turn right side out, and you have your pillow cover!



Big thanks to Jenny and Angel for having me here today as part of the Feather Your Nest stitch along! If you make your own pin-tuck pleated pillow, I'd love for you to add it to the Feather Your Nest flickr group and to the imagine gnats flickr group as well. :)

2FQ quilty pillow cover

If you're interested in covering more pillows to spruce up your home, you can also check out my two fat quarter quilty pillow cover tutorial series on the Casa Crafty blog.

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Thank you so much Rachael for this fabulous tutorial. I can't wait to take a crack at it!! What do you all think of this project? Who's going to be making one for Feather Your Nest? (By the way, if you're wanting to make pillows but need something easy-peasy, check out the tutorial shared by Melanie of A Sewing Journal yesterday.)

A huge welcome to you if you're visiting us for the first time!! We're so glad you're here and hope you're enjoying our Feather Your Nest series and stitch-along. Stick around, browse for a bit and subscribe if you'd like. We love to hear from you in the comments or by email. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Pinterest (Angel/Jenny). Happy stitching!


  1. Oh my, that is so seriously beautiful. Thanks for sharing the process!

  2. I've always liked the look of those turned the other way pleats when I've seen them on other projects. From the initial picture I couldn't tell that's what it was. I think the beauty of the pleating gets lost in how busy the print is. If I made this, I think I would choose a solid, a batik, or a much less busy print. Very nice project and well written tute. Thank you Rachael.

  3. so much work!!! but so beautifully explained... now i know why they are so expensive to buy...i will definitively do this soon...

  4. Oh my goodness - I never thought of taping the pleats! I made a pillow similar to this but the pleats were so kattywampus I never wanted to do it again. Seeing how you used the tape makes me want to try again!

  5. Great tutorial! Thanks a lot!


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