Introduction: Fabric & Faux Leather Throw Pillows
Looking for a new take on luxurious throw pillows? Look no further!
These beautiful throw pillows are a mix of fabric and faux leather which brings a luxurious balance to any home décor palette!
BONUS: Each of these five pillows are reversible, so you get 10 different design ideas total!
- Various "home décor" or outdoor fabrics in patterns you love (1 yard each, you will have some left over!)
- Faux leather (2 yards, you will have left overs!)
- A heavy duty or "leather" sewing machine needle + a heavy duty hand-held needle
- Sewing machine (yes, you can use a regular machine for these!)
- Good quality all purpose thread (I tried using "heavy duty" thread, but it was too thick to thread my needle!)
- Pillow forms (I used 4 - 16" x 16" and 1 - 12" x 16")
- Fabric scissors
- Binder clips (I used hair clips and bobby pins)
- Embellishments (I used an old belt buckle and DIY-ed tassels)
- OPTIONAL: Super glue
- OPTIONAL: Hot glue and glue sticks
Step 1: Pillow 1
For this pillow, I simply made a half-and-half design for the front.
To do this (for a 16" x 16" pillow form), cut a 8-1/2" x 16" strip of fabric (watch your pattern directions to add purposeful style to various pillows by alternating the direction of the patterns), and a 8-1/2" x 16" strip of faux leather.
NOTE: You do not want to add excess seam allowance around the outside edges. You want the final dimensions of the pillow case to be the same as the dimensions of the pillow form. So, you want a 16" x 16" front and back so the pillow form looks full in the case. Only add a 1/2" seam allowance for the edges of the fabrics that are sewn together in the designed parts of each pillow case (that's why it's 8-1/2" on the width of each strip, but only 16" even on the length of each strip).
Sew them together on the middle seam by putting the two strips RIGHT sides together and sewing at 1/2" seam allowance. Use whatever binding clips you have to hold it together. You do NOT want to puncture holes in the leather by using pins, so use something that presses it together but doesn't puncture it.
Step 2: Press the Seam
Every time you sew seams in any of the pillows, be sure to press them so they have a clean look in the finished product.
Also, be sure to press the seams in whatever way the materials fall naturally. For example, the heavier material will usually fall on top of the lighter material when finished. Therefore, don't force the heavier material to bend opposite of its natural fall.
NOTE: Faux leather will melt if you use too high of heat or press too hard on it. I used the "polyester" setting on my iron and always pressed the seams from the BACKSIDE of the leather. Also, don't press down too much. As the leather relaxes with the heat, it will lose it's leathery texture and become smooth if you press and hold it down too long. So only hold it down gently, and just long enough to press the seams properly (or to get out wrinkles if there are some in your leather fabric).
Step 3: Sew & Clip
Cut out a back piece of fabric. I used a 16" x 16" piece of faux leather for the back of this pillow.
SEWING SETTINGS: For my specific faux leather (which is vinyl-based and a little thicker), I used a setting of straight stitch at 3.5 length, 0.0 width. But, always test your fabric first to find the perfect setting for you.
Sew the front and back pieces together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Make sure the fabrics are RIGHT sides together. This will be your go to for every time you sew two panels, strips, or pieces together. Always do RIGHT sides facing each other. Also, be sure to leave a gap at the bottom that's large enough for your pillow form to fit through, but has been sewn around the bottom corners so the corners look nice when the pillow is completed.
After you sew the front and back pieces together, clip the corners with fabric scissors. Then, turn the pillow case right-side out.
NOTE: If you want to add a zipper instead of permanently sewing the throw pillows like I did, add the zipper BEFORE sewing the front and back pieces together.
Step 4: Stuff & Blind Stitch
Remove the large tag from the pillow form using NON-fabric scissors.
Stuff the pillow form inside the pillow case and blind stitch the bottom seam by hand (if you are unsure how to blind stitch, see the next step).
You will blind stitch every pillow case closed (unless using a zipper or other form of closure).
Step 5: How to Blind Stitch
Blind stitching is relatively easy. You only have to work at it a little when blind stitching heavier fabrics like this faux leather because it is thicker. I used a thimble to help me push the needle through the faux leather.
Start by threading a hand-held heavy duty needle. I used the same thread I used in my sewing machine. The color should be one that matches the overall color scheme you have in your patterns. I used black and white in my patterns, so I chose to use white thread.
OPTIONAL: You can fold over and press the hems of the home decor fabrics to make the process easier. Or you can simply pin them. With the leather-to-leather blind stitching, I couldn't do this, and just had to sew it into the fabric flat and then push the leather into the seam with my fingertip, as I pulled the thread, to make the leather fold over.
Insert the needle into the "hem" on one side so that it goes into the inner part of the fabric (between the two parts of folded over fabric, so it isn't seen).
Then pull it up and cross over to the opposite side. Make sure to keep the thread going directly across like rungs on a ladder. Continue the process of putting the needle into the middle of the hemmed fabric, going up a little bit (1/8") and then coming out and crossing over to the opposite fabric, until you've done 5 or so "rungs."
Pull the end of the thread tightly so that the thread magically disappears, and the seam pulls nicely closed.
When you get to the end of the gap, knot it off by going through the inside of the hem out (to hide the knot in the seam), and then poke the needle into the sewn seam and out a random part of the fabric and snip with scissors. This will hide the tail of the thread in the pillow itself.
Step 6: Pillow 2
My fabric measurements for Pillow 2 are as follows:
3-1/2" x 16" strip faux leather
8-1/2" x 16" strip faux leather
6" x 16" strip fabric
My backing was another 16" x 16" piece of faux leather. I wanted two pillows to have plain faux leather backings for a "solid" color option amidst all the patterns (two makes it look symmetrical, versus only having one).
Sew the strips of fabrics together with 1/2" seams (right sides together), and press them after each one.
Sew the front and back pieces together (right sides together), leaving a gap. Trim the corners. Flip the case right-side out, stuff the pillow form, blind stitch the bottom closed, and you're done!
Step 7: Pillow 3 Front
This third pillow is the lumbar pillow (12" x 16").
My fabric measurements for the front of Pillow 3 are as follows:
3-1/2" x 12" strip fabric pattern #1
4" x 12" strip fabric pattern #2
8" x 12" strip faux leather
3-1/2" x 12" strip fabric pattern #2
Sew the strips of fabrics together with 1/2" seams (right sides together), and press them after each one.
Step 8: Pillow 3 Back
My fabric measurements for the back of Pillow 3 are as follows:
Cut a 16" x 16" piece of fabric
Cut off the corners to make triangle remains. Each of my triangles were 2-7/8" (length) x 2-7/8" (height) x 4" (diagonal)
Use the triangle remains (or the measurements) to cut out 4 leather triangles, plus a 1/2" seam allowance on the diagonal edge. NOTE: This shrinks down the final triangles a bit, so that they are slightly smaller than the edges of the fabric (but you can still sew them together no problem. However, you can try adding 1/2" seam allowances to all sides of the triangles if you prefer to avoid the "shrinkage" altogether.
Sew the corners onto the fabric one at a time with 1/2" seams (right sides together), and press them after each one.
Now that your two pieces (front and back) are done, sew them together (right sides together), leaving a gap. Trim the corners. Flip the case right-side out and stuff the pillow form. Blind stitch the bottom closed.
Step 9: Tassle Embellishments
Making luxurious leather tassels is actually super easy!
Cut the following pieces out of faux leather:
4 - 2" x 4" strips
4 - 1/2" x 2-1/4" strips
4 - 1/4" x 2-1/4" strips
Then, on the large 4" strips, mark 1/2" down from the top. Cut similar-width fringe along the bottom edge making sure to stop at the top line. Repeat this for all 4" strips.
At the end of each 4" fringe strip, hot glue the back (right side of material) of a 1/4" strip perpendicular to the top edge of the fringe. This will be glued down to where you will start rolling up the tassel. Fold over the 1/4" strip on to itself, and glue it down to create a loop.
Now, add a line of hot glue down the middle of the 1/2" top portion of the fringed strip (adding it parallel to the line). Roll the tassel up starting where the leather loop is and rolling away from you until the entire tassel is rolled and glued. Do this for each tassel.
Glue the 1/2" strip around the top (overlapping over the first seam) to create a finished look for each tassel.
NOTE: Be sure to leave a little glue out of the sealed edge on the back seam, or the faux leather may pull away from itself, opening the glued seam.
Step 10: Add the Tassels
Sew the tassels onto each corner of the pillow by sewing up through the inside section of the loop. Do everything through the inside part of the loop so it hides all the thread and gives your finished pillows a lux feel. Push the needle up into and through the corner fabric, then back down from the fabric into the loop and out the inside of the loop. Then back up through the inside of the loop into the corner, etc.
Sew it similar to how you would sew a button, and knot it off inside the loop. Trim the excess thread almost completely off (so as to show the least amount of thread inside the tassel loop, but still be knotted securely).
NOTE: Be sure to have the glued seams of each tassel facing inward towards the pillow so they're not noticeable.
Step 11: Completed Pillow 3
Here is the front and back of the completed lumbar pillow.
Step 12: Pillow 4
For Pillow 4, I wanted to add a belt embellishment to only one side of the pillow (if you want to add it around the entire pillow, front and back, simply create or use a full-length belt).
To start making the belt, I cut off the belt buckle from an old, worn out belt.
Then I cut the following pieces for the front:
2 - 7" x 16" strips of fabric
1 - 1-1/8" x 16" strip leather
1 - 1-1/8" x 3-3/4" strip leather
1 - 1/4" x 2" strip leather
1 - 4" x 16" strip leather
And for the back, I cut these pieces:
2 - 7" x 16" strips of fabric (I used a different fabric than I used on the front side)
1 - 4" x 16" strip leather
Step 13: Make a Belt
Sew the fabric pieces to the 4" x 16" strip of leather (as you've done before, with 1/2" seams and pressing after each one).
On the 1-1/8" x 16" strip of leather, poke a hole at center (8") and then poke about 3-4 more holes to the right of that at 1" apart from each other. I used a thicker nail with a hammer to puncture holes (I wore gloves because the nail was rusty). And then I used scissors to widen the holes. About 3" from the final hole, cut off the right end into a curved shape (to make the strip look like a belt).
Lay out the fabric and strips in the places you tentatively want them to go. (See third picture for my placement).
With the 1-1/8" x 3-3/4" strip of leather, starting at the right edge of the pillow, sew it down along the two short edges (as not to show the thread from the front) so that it sits flush with the right edge of the pillow, and in the middle of the wider faux leather strip (see the fourth picture for clarity).
Put the 1st belt-like strip through the belt buckle (if it isn't already), and super glue it to the 3-3/4" strip on the right side. Then super glue down the buckle to the 4" x 16" leather strip (backing) and to itself to keep it together. Super glue on the 1/4" x 2" strip of leather like a loop around the belt (to make it the part that holds the curved end of the belt, see last picture), and let the super glue dry (only about 30 minutes to 1 hour in warmer weather).
Step 14: Sew Together
Sew the front and back pieces together, as you've done for all the other pillows. Stuff and blind stitch the bottom closed.
Step 15: Completed Pillow 4
Here is the front and back of Pillow 4.
Step 16: Pillow 5
To make the final pillow, I drew a triangle on the back of the faux leather with a length of 16", a width of 16", and then connected the two ends with a diagonal line of 22-1/2".
I transferred these measurements to a piece of fabric and cut out the triangle from the fabric.
Then I cut out a 1-1/2" strip from the middle of the fabric triangle. SAVE ALL THREE CUT PIECES.
Copy the lines of the top and bottom pieces onto the faux leather backing. Cut out the faux leather into three pieces (the top, the bottom, and the 1-1/2" wide strip).
Swap the fabric and faux leather 1-1/2" wide strips to make it look like its interlocking pieces.
Step 17: Switching It Up & Completing the Back
I didn't like the look of using just one fabric for the fabric part of the pillow front, so I used the cut pieces as a pattern to cut out two new pieces from a different fabric. (As you can see, I was mindful to have the fabric patterns following the diagonal direction for visual interest).
Sew these pieces together as you've done before (and press them after you sew each, like always).
NOTE: This will make the pillow an inch or so smaller. So you can use it this way (the 16" x 16" pillow form will still fit in it), or you can add 1"-2" on each edge to make the first triangles 17" x 17" or 18" x 18" before cutting the strips out and see if that makes it closer to 16" x 16" when finished.
I made the back for this pillow a simple diagonal cut, and sewed it together as before.
Sew the front and back together as before (right sides together), trim the corners, stuff, and blind stitch the bottom closed.
Step 18: Completed Pillow 5
This is the completed front and back for Pillow 5.
Step 19: AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL!
Decorate your house with these amazing pillows! On the couch, on the bed, in the dining room, in the entertainment room, on a bench, anywhere!
Flip some pillows over to reveal the backs, which will create endless home decor variations. Also, you can rotate the pillows to make them look different too.
Runner Up in the