I have always wanted to make a Hawaiian quilt or pillow, but I find the time consuming process rather daunting! Nonetheless I have always kept making a Hawaiian quilt in the back of my mind as a goal and inspiration. Recently I started thinking about a way to simplify the process and our wool felt popped into my mind. You don’t have to hem felt which cuts out the laborious hand turned appliqué step and we recently started carrying our beautiful wool felt by the yard so I could make my piece as big as I wanted.
Our 100% wool felt comes in the most luminous, saturated colors and each bolt is two yards wide (yes, two yards wide!). I picked out two of the most vibrant colors I could find and made these two huge floor pillows. The floral shape is stitched onto the background with bright yellow silk and wool Trio needlepoint yarn. Creating these two pillows was so much fun! The felt is beautiful and easy to work with and the whole thing came together so fast. I felt like a painter making big colorful gestures.
To make two 36-inch square pillows:
- 1-yard Wool Felt in Bright Pink (Color A)
- 1-yard Wool Felt in Ochre (Color B)
- 2 yards of Global Weave Linen in Natural or (if you’d prefer a brighter backing fabric) 2 yards of Essex Linen Cotton.
- One skien of Trio 50% wool and 50% silk needlepoint yarn in Big Canary
- Blue Tailor’s Chalk
- Bent Arm Safty Pins
- Two 36-inch by 36-inch pillow forms. We found some available here.
- A Hawaiian Pillow Template printed (available for free download here), cut out, and taped together at corresponding numbers.
Cutting out the Shape
Cut each piece of felt into two 36-inch squares and put one of each color aside to use for the next pillow.
Fold the square of Color A vertically and horizontally into quarters and iron it to mark the creases.
Unfold it and then fold it into quarters diagonally and press those creases as well. Unfold the piece and lay it flat. It will now have 8 marked segments. If any of the creases are unclear take the time to re-press them before you move on.
Hawaiian pillow template. Place the template along the edges of one of the eight marked segments as shown above. The long part of the template should be along the diagonal marking and the short side should be on the vertical middle marking.
Using the tailor’s chalk trace the template carefully. Then flip the template over and move it clock-wise so that it is now in the next segment with the long part of the template along the diagonal marking and the short side along the horizontal middle marking. Trace the template in its new position.
Keep flipping the template in this manner until you make it to all of the eight segments.
Make sure that your piece looks like a cohesive shape before you cut it out.
Carefully cut out the marked shape.
Fold the square of Color B into quarters just as you did for Color A. You do not need to fold it diagonally as well.
Place the cut out shape on top of the backing, lining up the horizontal and vertical markings that you pressed into the fabrics. Smooth the top shape so it seems centered and flat. You will need a large area to do this since the entire piece has to be flat (I worked on my kitchen floor!)
Using bent arm safety pins pin, the shape into place around the shape’s edge and middle.
Cut an 18-inch length of the Trio thread. Separate it into three pieces of 2-strands each. You will use 2 strands for all of the hand stitching in this project.
Using a small running stitch sew along the edge of the shape taking out the safety pins as you come to them.
Sew around the entire edge of the shape in this manner and you’ll be done with the top.
Repeat all steps for the second pillow but use Color B for the shape and Color A for the background.
Finishing the Pillows
Cut the Linen Cotton into two 36-inch squares.
Pin a linen cotton square to one of the pillow tops, right sides together and then, using a sewing machine, sew them together with a ½-inch seam along three sides.
Turn the pillow case right side out through the open side. Slide the pillow form into the pillow case through the open side and then the sew the open side shut with a slip stitch.
Repeat for the next pillow and enjoy! –Molly