red flannel pantry

creative pursuits in the kitchen, garden, library and sewing room

sprocket pillows

I have wanted to make these pillows for awhile, so with two birthday celebrations approaching, I thought the time was right.

I followed this tutorial at Cluck Cluck Sew. The directions and pictures made it easy. The most time-consuming part was tracing and cutting out the fabric pieces (which is to say, it didn’t take much time at all!). I used fabric bits left over from other projects, and the pillows ended up having a modern fall vibe. A link to two pattern template sizes is contained within the tutorial (to make either a 14- or 16-inch pillow); I made the 16-inch size.

I made fabric-covered shank buttons for the first time–success! I bought a kit at Hancock Fabrics for 1 1/2-inch cover buttons, and they worked like a charm. Don’t sweat it if the wedge points don’t meet perfectly on the front of the pillow–the button hides all!

I used the technique detailed here to sew shank buttons on both sides of the pillow–the photos and text at this site give a clear explanation of how it is done. The sprocket pillow tutorial indicates that you can put a button on just one side, but I liked the idea of making the pillows reversible. I went to Artistic Fabrics, a local upholstery store, and bought Coats Extra Strong upholstery thread to tie the buttons. It feels a little bit thicker than regular thread but is as strong as fishing line, which makes cinching the final knot easier. It is helpful to have someone else pushing down on the button when you make the final knot (thanks, Daughter #2!).

A tip: after you have cut out the circle for the pillow backing, fold it in half and then half again into quarters–this will create intersecting creases at the center. Using a fabric marker, mark the center point on the right side of the fabric before sewing it to the body of the pillow. This mark makes it easier to position the button later. Just a small dot will do, and it will end up being covered by the button (again, the button hides all flaws!).

I bought a 5 lb box of fiberfill at Hancock Fabrics. The box looks small and is lightweight but be forewarned: it contains a deceptively large amount of fiberfill. When I opened the box, it made a sucking sound like it was gasping for air and then began expanding, spilling out of the box, and doubling if not tripling in size! So needless to say, I have enough to make many more pillows. One pillow I made more squishy, while the other one I made firmer. You need only to be sure that you don’t overstuff it–you want enough give so that the buttons sink in for that nice poufy look. I went for 2 to 3 inches of depth between the buttons.

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