Star & Stripes Pillows

Call me old-fashioned, but one item on my bucket list is to have an American flag. Not just HAVE one, but have one to put outside in front of my house. And it can’t just be a run of the mill flag. No nylon and it can not be just printed ink. It will be a cotton flag. There is something about that heavy cotton material that makes it seem more authentic.

I’ve wanted to do a Fourth of July DIY that reminisced that old cotton flag look…and I think I found it! One of the sponsors from last summer’s Alt Design Summit, Michael Miller Fabrics, gave us all some fat quarter samples. I have held onto my lively blue samples for the right project. I had just enough solid blue fabric to use for the front of my reoccurring pillow case DIY. So I better not screw it up! I also had some leftover cotton twill from my Alphabet Joy pillow from last years 25 Days of Crafts. Together (with some red fabric) I had the makings of some great holiday decor.

I hope you all have a very Happy Independence Day!


  • 16″ x 16″ piece of blue cotton twill
  • 3 pieces of 16″ x 4″ red cotton twill
  • 2 pieces of 16″ x 4″ cream cotton twill
  • 4 pieces of 16″ x 10.5″ cream cotton twill
  • 9″ x 9″ cream cotton twill for the star
  • Cream thread
  • Scissors
  • 2 – 16″ x 16″ pillow inserts
  • Star Template
  • Sewing machine (not pictured)
  • Pencil (not pictured)



A few hours depending on your sewing skills. I cut my pieces out one night and sewed the next.

Instructions – Striped Pillow Front

Step 1:

With the right sides facing, place a red piece and cream piece together, and sew together a 1/2″ seam along the long edge.

step 1

Open up the sewn pieces on the table (right side up) and align the long un-sewn edges of a red and cream piece together. Pin those two together and sew a 1/2″ seam.

step 2

Repeat the step above by sewing alternating red than white pieces until all the pieces are sewn together, ending with a red piece on the top and bottom. With your 1/2″ seams, the inside pieces should end up being 3″ in height once they are sewn together. The top and bottom piece should be 3 1/2″ from edge to seam.

Step 2:

Flip the striped piece over, and iron the seams out flat.

step 3

Step 3:

Bring it back to your sewing machine, and sew a finishing stitch along the left and right side of each seam 1/4″ from the seam. Be mindful of your distance from the seam to the stitch, not from the stitch to the cut edge. You might find it helpful to sew with the wrong side facing up, this way you can control the hem from rolling.

Iron out the piece when you are complete.

step 4

Instructions – Star Pillow Front

Step 1:

Cut out the star by downloading and printing the Star Template. The template has two pages, one for the cream part of the star, and one for the blue part of the star.

For the cream part, simply trace and cut one cream piece.

For the blue part, cut out the center part (the solid lines.)

Step 2:

Place your blue fabric on the table and fold the bottom right corner up to meet the left top corner. This will create a triangle. Repeat that step with the bottom left to the top right.

Mark the center point with a pencil.

Blue mark center

Step 3:

Center the blue template over the pencil mark. You might find it easier if you attach it with some tape to hold it in place.

Next trace the edges of the cut part, including the lines that go into the points of the star.

Remove the tape, and cut out the lines you drew. You’ll be left with a weird star-like hole in the middle of your fabric.


Step 4:

Using the paper template as a guide, fold back each of the edges to begin opening up your star. Iron them out as you go, and pin them to hold them in place.


Step 5:

With the wrong side of the blue fabric facing up, take your cream star and align it over the top of the folded back star. This will become the backing for the star. Pin it in place.


Step 6:

Flip it over right side up and sew a finishing stitch approx 1/4″ from the folded edges.


Instructions – Pillow Backs

Step 1:

For the back of the pillow, take the 16″ x 10.5″ pieces and fold over one long edge 1/4” and then approx 3/8″ again on itself. Iron the folded edge flat and use a couple pins to hold the fold down. Repeat to the other piece.


Step 2:

Sew each of the pinned pieces right down the center of the fold, about 1/4” from the edge.


Step 3:

To assemble the pillow, place the front side of the pillow (right side up) on the table. Take one back piece (wrong side up) and align to the left edge of the front piece with the hem in the middle.


Take the second back piece and align to the right edge of the front piece (wrong side up). Your pieces will overlap in the center.


Pin together and sew a 1/2″ hem around all four sides.


Once all edges have been sewn, trim the strings and turn right side out. Insert the pillow into the case and you are ready to use!


It’s the perfect addition to your red, white, and blue decor. Happy Fourth of July!!!