Show Mom how much she is appreciated with this machine embroidered pillow with cording. This Mother's Day pillow features machine embroidered words that describe a Mother and includes a flower in the middle.
The embroidered words include Wife, Doctor, Caretaker, Mentor, Wise, Friend, Teacher, Superwoman, Chauffeur, etc. Many things any Mom has done at one time or another!
The embroidery is surrounded by a border fabric and the pillow is finished with an envelope backing and piping.
We also have a similar Mother's Day Pillow with Lace and envelope backing that also features a Mother Embroidery collage. Click the link if you prefer to make that pillow.
Mom is sure to love this pillow with either the lace or the piping. This would make a great Mother's Day Gift, birthday gift, or holiday gift. Customize this pillow by picking a fabric your Mom would like.
These instructions will take you through all of the steps to make this pillow with cording. Click the link below to watch our full video tutorial on YouTube.
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We have created two versions of this Mother's Day pillow. This tutorial is for the one on the right with cording around the edge. The Mother's Day Pillow with Lace and envelope backing is on the left.
WHAT YOU NEED to make the Mother's Day Pillow
- 1/2 yard fabric for the embroidery area
- 1-yard fabric for the border and back of the pillow
- 16" Pillow Insert
- Mother Embroidery Pattern from Anu-Tan Embroidery
- Lace or 5/32" Welting Cording (optional)
- Stabilizer - Both Sticky Back & Cut Away
- Machine Embroidery Thread - I used Exquisite Polyester Thread in Summer Colors
- Embroidery Machine
- Rotary Cutter, Mat & Rulers
Look at the end of this tutorial for links to purchase the supplies for this project including the embroidery pattern.
What is the best fabric to use for this pillow?
I looked in the decorator fabric section of the fabric store to find the fabrics featured in these pillows. The fabric in the decorator section is thicker in weight and as pretty as the fabrics you can find in the quilting fabrics.
The thing to watch for is that the decorator fabric sometimes changes patterns halfway across the fabric. So, this is why the lace pillow has two different patterns! I was able to purchase this fabric for $5.97 / yard as it was on the decorator remnant table. So, this was a wonderful deal!
Be careful of larger prints that are in the decorator fabrics. They may be too large for this pillow.
Quilter's cotton can also be used for this pillow.
What is piping on a pillow?
Piping or cording is sewn around a pillow in the seam between the front and the back piece. It's made from a piece of welting cord or other cord wrapped in fabric. The photo below shows piping sewn to the front of a pillow.
This tutorial will explain how to make piping and how to add it to a pillow.
How much do you overlap envelope pillows?
Envelope pillows can overlap anywhere between 3 and 8 inches. Our envelope overlap in this tutorial is about 3 1/2" - 4". To make a larger overlap, cut the backing fabric pieces larger than the 12" suggested.
INSTRUCTIONS to make this envelope pillow with piping
STEP 1: Cut Fabrics for this mother's day pillow
For this pillow with piping, cut the following from the fabric:
- Front Embroidery Fabric (white fabric in my pillow) - Cut one piece 10" x 10"
- Pillow Back Fabric - Cut TWO pieces 12" x 17 1/2" (the 17 1/2" direction is the width of the pillow. To have a larger overlap than 3-1/2", add additional inches to the 12" measurement. Every half-inch added, will add a 1" overlap.
- Top & Bottom Border - Two pieces 10" x 5"
- Side Border Strips - Cut one 5" strip by Width of Fabric (WOF)
- Piping/Cord Casing Fabric - Cut 1-1/2" strips. Enough to get a 70" long strip when sewn together.
STEP 2: Stitch the Mother's Embroidery
Download the Mother's Day Protea pattern from Anu-Tan Embroidery (find the link at the end of this tutorial) and load the pattern into your embroidery machine.
I embroidered the 6"x6" design because my largest hoop is 7" wide so this was the largest design I could embroider.
For the embroidery, I used a layer of cut-away and a layer of tear-away stabilizer. For both of the pillows I stitched, the design seemed to buckle a little on the flower near the center. Since the flower is a dense design, I recommend using a sticky back stabilizer and a layer (or two) of cutaway stabilizers to try and keep the design from having a wave.
Even if it does have a bit of a wave in the design, it doesn't look bad in the finished pillow.
Load the hoop into the machine. Use white bobbin fil in your bobbin and stitch the design. The design comes with Mettler brand thread colors listed, but I wanted to try out my new package of DIME Exquisite Embroidery Thread in Summer Sizzle colors. So, I selected my own colors.
Disclosure: Needlepointers.com is a DIME affiliate and receives a commission for any purchases from the DIME store. DIME also gifted us this thread kit to try.
If you would like to stitch with the same colors I used, look at the chart below.
Color Sequence with DIME Exquisite Polyester Embroidery Thread color numbers.
||Exquisite Thread Color Number
||Black - Not in Summer Kit
Once the embroidery is finished, remove the embroidery from the hoop and trim the stabilizers on the back.
Step 3 - Trim Embroidery fabric
Using the rotary cutter, mat & ruler, trim the embroidered fabric to be 8-1/2" square with the embroidery centered in the middle.
The finished Mother's Day pillow will have an 8" x 8" square in the center with the embroidery.
Step 4 - Sew on Borders
The fabric I selected has a very large print, so I fussy cut the pieces to be sure the large flower motifs would be centered on the top and sides of the pillow.
The photo above shows how the fabrics will be placed around the pillow.
Sew on the top and bottom borders first to the embroidered square using a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seams towards the border fabric.
Below is what the top border looks like after sewing it onto the center embroidery.
Next center the side border onto the first side of the pillow and pin it so it does not shift while sewing.
Sew the side border with a 1/4" seam allowance. Since I cut one long strip for the side borders, after sewing on the first border, I trimmed the fabric with the ruler and rotary cutter to be even with the top and bottom borders.
Continue with centering, pinning, and sewing the second border to the other side of the pillow and trim to be even with the top and bottom borders. Open and press the seams towards the border fabric.
Step 5 - Make Cording
If you watched the video, you will know that I worked on creating the cording and preparing the backing while the embroidery was stitching.
To make the cording first take the 1-1/2" cut strips and create one continuous strip. If you need a tutorial on this, please watch the video or follow our tutorial on How to Join Binding Strips Together. The same method is used for making the cording.
Check to make sure the long strip of fabric is 1-1/2" wide by approximately 70" long.
Wrap the fabric, right side out, around the cording meeting the two raw edges together on the side.
Place a zipper or cording foot onto your machine. If using the zipper foot, move the needle so it is close to the side with the cording. Since I have the cording on the right, I moved the needle to the right side.
If you are using the cording foot, move the needle so the stitches will be close to the cord.
Sew a straight stitch close to the cord. In the photo above, the cording is shown inside the fabric casing.
The finished cording will look like the photo below.
Step 6 - How do you attach CORDING to a pillow?
Lay the pillow right side up on a work surface. Starting along the bottom edge, place the cording along the pillow edge. The raw edge of the cording will line up with the raw edge of the pillow.
Start the cording off-center as this will help avoid the eye from drawing right to the spot the cording begins and ends.
Leave a 4" tail of cording unpinned. This will be joined up at the end. Pin the cording to the pillow top along the bottom of the pillow to just before the corner.
At the corner, the cording will need to curve around. It won't go at a 90-degree angle and should be a curve. Release the fabric by snipping in two or three places around the corner. Be sure not to snip the stitching of the cording. See the photo below for example. Pin around the corner.
Continue pinning the sides and top in the same manner until you come to the start.
At the start, trim the leftover cording off but have an extra two or three inches overlap with the beginning for now. Then open up the seam of the starting end of the cording so you can see the cord. Trim the cords so they meet up.
Fold the extra fabric over to form a folded more finished edge as shown below.
Wrap this around the ending cording and line up the two cord ends as shown.
Finish wrapping the cording ends and pin it in place.
If this is confusing, please watch the YouTube video (click the link near the beginning of the tutorial). This will walk you through the whole process and I explain it.
The cording is pinned around the pillow and ready to be sewn to the pillow.
Using the zipper foot (or cording foot), sew close to the cording all the way around the pillow. Note that now the needle has been moved to the left side.
Below shows a close-up of sewing close to the cording. At the corners, sew very slowly and gradually turn around the corner staying close to the cording.
After the cording is sewn, it will look like the photo below.
Step 7 - Finish the back piece edges
The two back pieces will overlap on the back of the pillow by several inches. This provides an opening for the pillow form to be inserted. The pillow form can easily be removed if the pillow cover needs to be washed.
If your fabric is directional, lay the fabric on the table as it will be on the pillow. Then finish the two inner edges.
Place the first piece of fabric right side down on an ironing surface. To finish the edge, fold over the long, 17-1/2" edge 1/2" and iron flat.
Fold up again 1/2" and iron flat. Use your steam iron or a product like Mary Ellan's Best Press to get a crisp ironed edge. Pin along the edge to hold, if needed.
Finish the edge of the second piece in the same way. Sew each of the folded edges down by stitching close to the inside edge as shown. Use a straight stitch.
The two back pieces are ready to add to the pillow.
Step 8 - Pin Backing Pieces to the pillow
To complete the envelope pillow, lay the pillow right side up on a work surface.
Place one of the backing pieces, right side down across the pillow. If your fabric is directional, be sure to place each piece in the correct position. Line up the sides and bottom with the edges of the pillow. The finished edge should be towards the center of the pillow.
Lay the second backing piece, right side down onto the pillow lining up the sides and top edge with the pillow top edges. The finished edge of the backing should be towards the middle of the pillow.
The photo below shows how the pieces are lining up on top of the pillow. Pin around the edge of the pillow, lining up the raw edges all around.
The pins will come up in front of the cording. Pin well to keep it from shifting during sewing.
Below shows the backing pinned all around the pillow top.
Below is a close-up showing the pinning near the overlapping back pieces.
Step 9 - Sew the backing to the pillow
Still using the zipper (or cording foot), sew close to the cording as in the previous step. Sew all the way around the pillow backtacking at the start and end.
Clip the corners to about 1/4" away from the stitching.
To keep the edge from fraying when laundering. Finish the edge with a zig-zag stitch. The left side should grab the fabric and the right side should go off the edge of the fabric.
Change your sewing machine foot to a standard foot and set your machine to a wide zig-zag stitch.
Stitch all the way around the pillow to finish the edge. Below shows a closeup of the finished edge.
Step 10 - Turn the Mother's Day Pillow
Turn the Mother's day pillow right side out. This pillow turns easily with the cording.
The turned pillow will look like the pillow below.
And this is the back of the pillow.
Take the pillow insert.
And put it into the pillow. Be sure to get the corners of the pillow into the corners of the pillow cover.
Finished Mother's Day Pillow with Piping
The Mother's Day Pillow is complete!
Here is a view from the back.
I hope you enjoyed this machine embroidery Mother's Day project and make one for a Mother you love. Make one for a sister, friend, mother, or grandmother. These make wonderful gifts!
Let us know what you think of our videos by commenting in the YouTube video comments. We do answer questions!
Happy Mother's Day!
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
If you like pillows, check out these other pillow tutorials.
Nine Patch Pillow Tutorial - This format of this pillow is very similar to the pillow in this tutorial except it has eight square blocks around the center feature fabric.
How to sew a Reading Pillow - This pillow is an easy pillow with a pocket for books. Wonderful for a book lover!