Mondrian Inspired Throw Pillow

When I was 9 I made my first pillow. It was during a summer program, it had really intricate embroidery and it took me a few weeks to complete. I remember when I finished it, I wanted to sleep on it that night – I was so proud! (Yea…it wasn’t THAT kind of pillow, but 9 year old me didn’t understand why I needed a decorative pillow)

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Since then, I have a soft spot for making pillows. And now it takes me a few hours instead of a few weeks! I wanted to make a throw pillow for the rocker in Dylan’s room. When I was drawing up ideas, I thought it would be great to make a Mondrian inspired pillow.

For those of you that didn’t have to take art history in college, Mondrian was a painter who is most well known for his grid based paintings. Here’s one of my favorites:

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I chose some solid fabrics for the colored blocks and a white linen for the base of the pillow. To line the blocks, I chose a black felt. The best part about using felt is that I didn’t have to turn the edges to keep it from fraying. This really helped me to cut down the time spent on this project.

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When I was working on the sizing, I decided to try a 12″x12″ pattern since it was easy to balance out the measurements of all the other blocks. I think if I made this again, I would go with a larger pattern. Once it was all sewn and stuffed, the size really seemed to shrink. I think 16″x16″ would have been a better place to start.

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After I had it all drawn out, I got to cutting. For the black felt, I cut 1/2″ strips and trimmed them to the length needed. When everything was laid out, I removed the black felt and pinned down the colored blocks. I stitched these down, about 1/8″ away from the edge, to keep the blocks in place.

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Once those were sewn down, it’s easier to sew the black felt pieces. I sewed the short pieces first, followed by the second longest, and lastly the longest piece. This allowed all of the edges to be covered.

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Now that the pillow face is complete, it’s time to put the pillow together. Putting the faces together, pin around the edge. I like to put the majority of the pins horizontal. To remind myself where to leave an opening, I put two pins vertical. This space allows you to turn the pillow right side out and put the stuffing in. After sewing around the edge, turn the pillow right side out through the opening.

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I wanted a nice edge on the pillow so once I had it turned right side out, I ironed it and sewed around the edge leaving about 3/8″ seam allowance. (still leaving that gap open for the stuffing) Now that the edges were taken care of, it’s time for stuffing!

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Once it was all stuffed up I pinned the opening closed. To sew it, I chose to do an embroidery thread whip stitch. This gave me the cleanest look and helped to hide the fact that this was sewn differently than the rest of the pillow. When the gap was securely closed, I finished sewing the edge detail.

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Although this turned out a little smaller than I would have liked, I realized that it’s actually Dylan sized! He liked hitting it and leaning on it while rocking in the chair.

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