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!!!




Day 20: Joy pillow

Cathie and I are both designers by day and bloggers by night. This usually means having a minor obsession for typography. I am definitely a purveyor of everything typography related, so doing this craft was right up my alley. For day 20 we wanted to do a craft that brings in our love of type to life.


Depending on your sewing level, and painting dry time, it takes about a day and a half.


  • 16” inch pillow insert
  • 17” x 17” square of cotton twill fabric (front of pillow)
  • 26” x 17” rectangle of cotton twill fabric (back of pillow)
  • Thread to match
  • Multi-surface acrylic or fabric paint (2 colors)
  • Alphabet Joy Template
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes (flat and small tip)
  • Silhouette Cameo/Xyron or transfer pencil (see step 2)


Step 1:

If you haven’t cut your cotton twill, cut the front side of the pillow into a 17″ square. Cotton twill is a nice fabric for pillows because it’s thick enough for décor, but not too thick that it’s hard to manage while sewing.

Step 2:

First you need to print out the Alphabet (Joy) Template. These instructions require a Silhouette Cameo and a Xyron, however if you want to use the transfer pencil method, you will need to flip the template artwork so it’s backwards before you print it out. (You can reference this post on Krafty Kath for the transfer pencil method.) If you have a Silhouette Cameo, you can cut it out as-is.

Step 2

Step 3:

Once you have your stencil cut out, remove the individual letters carefully.

Step 3

Step 4:

Carefully peel off your stencil from your cutting mat.

Step 4

Step 5:

Now cut your stencil in half (in-between the 3rd and 4th row) so you have two halves.

Step 5

Step 6:

Gently run each half through a Xyron machine to adhere the sticky backing.

Step 6

Step 7:

Remove the backing and place in the center of your 17″ square front fabric. Make sure to align the two pieces.

Step 7

Step 8:

Make sure your stencil is firmly placed on your fabric. Now you can begin to paint. Using an up and down dabbing motion, gently paint the “JOY” letters one color and the remaining alphabet another color using the square tip paint brush.

Step 8a

Step 8b

Step 8c

Step 9:

Remove your stencil from the fabric.

Step 9

Step 10:

Fill in your empty areas that the stencil made using the fine tip paint brush. These are letters like A, B, D, O, P, Q, and R. Then touch up the edges where the paint bled.

Step 10

Now let your front fabric dry completely. (We let ours dry overnight.)

Step 11:

For the back of the pillow, if you haven’t already, cut a 17″ x 26″ rectangle of the same fabric. Cut that piece in half vertically.

Step 11

Step 12:

Take one piece and fold over one inside edge 1/2” and then fold over again. Iron the folded edge flat and use a couple pins to hold the fold down. Repeat to the other piece.

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

Step 12

Step 13:

To assemble the pillow, place the front side of the pillow (painted side) up on the table. Take the two pieces of the backside and overlap them to match the 17” x 17” square. Place the right sides to the painted side and pin together.

Step 13a

Step 13b

Step 14:

Sew around all four sides 1/4″ to 1/2″ from the edge.

Step 14

Step 15:

Trim the excess seams on the inside and then turn the case right side out.

Step 15

Step 16:

Insert the pillow insert inside the case. You’ve just created a new Christmas decoration!

Joy pillow

Joy pillow