Whip up a large throw pillow with center-tied strips inspired by designers Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith of Homestead Hearth. Use home decor fabrics to create a durable pillow with custom piping.


Designers: Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith of Homestead Hearth

1/2 yard white-and-orange print (knot)
7/8 yard orange floral (pillow top, pillow back)
3/4 yard aqua print (gathered piping)
3 yards 3/8"-wide cording
Polyester fiberfill

Finished pillow: 24-1/2" square

Quantities are for 55/56"-wide, decorator-weight, 100% cotton fabrics. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated. Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From white-and-orange print, cut:
2-6x42" strips

From orange floral, cut:
2-25" squares

From aqua print, cut:
Enough 2-1/2"-wide bias strips to total 175" for piping

Assemble Pillow Top

1. Fold white-and-orange print 6x42" strip in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch long edges. Turn right side out and press. Repeat with remaining white-and-orange print 6x42" strip.

2. Tie Step 1 stitched strips together in an overhand knot (Diagram 1).

3. Referring to Diagram 2, layer knotted strips atop an orange floral 25" square. Pin knot in center of square. Baste ends of strips at corners to make pillow top.

Prepare and Add Piping

1. Sew together aqua print 2-1/2"-wide bias strips to make one long pieced strip. Use pieced strip and 3/8"-diameter cording to make piping (for details, see Custom Piping, below).

This pillow features gathered piping. Pin cord end to bias strip. Periodically stop sewing bias strip and pull cording toward you to gather fabric around cording until you have the desired fullness.

2. Beginning at midpoint of pillow edge and aligning raw edges, baste piping around edge of pillow top. When attaching the piping to the pillow top, begin stitching 1-1/2" from piping's folded end. When you reach the corner, clip seam allowance of piping to within a few threads of stitching line (Diagram 3). Gently ease piping into place along next edge, rounding corner slightly, and continue stitching. Turn each corner in same manner.

Cut end of cording so it will fit snugly into folded opening at beginning. The ends of the cording should abut inside covering.

Refold bias strip so it covers cording, lapping folded end over raw end. Finish stitching piping to pillow top.

Custom Piping
1. Piping is made by sewing a bias-cut fabric strip around a length of cording. The width of the bias strip will vary depending on the diameter of the cording. We used a 2-1/2"-wide bias strip and 3/8"-diameter cording for this pillow.

2. With the wrong side inside, fold under 1-1/2" at one end of the bias strip. Fold strip in half lengthwise with the wrong side inside.

3. Insert the cording next to the folded edge, placing a cording end 1" beyond the fabric folded end.

4. Using a zipper foot, sew through both fabric layers right next to the cording to make piping (Piping Diagram). Trim seam allowances to 1/2".

Finish Pillow

1. Using basting line as a guide for stitching, sew together pillow top and remaining orange floral 25"-square, leaving an opening for turning.

2. Turn right side out, stuff with fiberfill, and stitch opening closed to complete pillow.