I made a tombstone pillow some time back and at the time I think I made some mention of someday getting a tutorial on here on how to make them. Well with Halloween right around the corner I figured I better get it on here. This is a quick and easy project that packs quite a punch for visual interest I think. Not to mention the cute pun with a pillow having Rest in Peace on it even if only in abreviation.
So here goes.
Step 1: Get yourself some fabric any color is fine. I used grey because, well, they are tombstones after all. A yard will be plenty for 2 pillows- you might even get three or four out of a yard. You will also need some contrasting fabric, the urge to embroider huge letters, or a machine (or someone else) to do it for you. I chose the contrasting fabric in black for my lettering.
Step 2: Take your main fabric and cut 2 rectangles roughly the size that you want your finished pillow to be. Do this for each pillow you want to make but make sure to leave a long strip of fabric about 3-5 inches wide for the edge of each pillow you do. Keep in mind that this fabric has to be long enough or you need enough to make it long enough to go all the way around the edge of your pillow. Thats what will make it boxy and 3 dimensional like a tombstone.
Step 3: Cut that strip of fabric I was just talking about. You’ll want it to be at least 4 inches longer than you think you’ll need but I’ll explain why later. You can measure the outside edge of the rectangle with fabric, a tape measure, or you eye. Its up to you but if you do it before you cut your tombstone shape it will ensure that you have plenty of fabric to go all the way around.
Step 4: Place your two rectangles (per pillow) right sides together and fold them in half lengthwise. Starting on the open edge cut a half circle up to the top so that when you open the fabric up it looks like the picture above. You could do other shapes for this as well- crosses, plain rectangles, and go wild, but I’m lazy and wanted this to be a quick project.
Step 5: Now its time to get that contrasting fabric and a marking device if you’re picky like me, or just some scissors if you’re good at eyeballing these things. I used a white marking pencil but I’ve found that a gel pen works rather well and then you can just rinse it off if by some odd chance its still visible by the time you’re done cutting the letters out. Draw on letters (I did RIP) or a skull which I did for another pillow or whatever you want on your tombstone. (I’ll take pepperoni and cheese)
Step 6: Cut out these letters or whatever you’ve decided as your toppings.
Now for the really fun part!
Step 7: You can do this several ways but I’m only going to describe 2 because those are the methods I’ve used. If you are comfortable enough with your sewing machine (and if you even have one) then you can do what I did in the above picture. I used a zig zag stitch and painstakingly sewed down the letters with it instead of doing it by hand. It took a bit of cursing and a lot of patience but it was comparatively quick and the seams look so preeeettty when you’re done. The other method I used was hand appliqueing the letters on with some black thread, a blanket stitch, and several good movies to keep my active mind from going crazy sitting there sewing on letters. Either way do this before you begin constructing the pillow unless you’re like me and enjoy sewing stuff on things that are already stuffed. I did that with the first pillow and I like being able to have a firmer foundation, but that may just be me. As an altertive to these to methods, you could use some iron on stuff or glue or whatever but never having used those things I can’t vouch for them but with this the letters will stay put.
I wish I had pictures of this last step but my junk camera crapped out at the end and so of course it was at the hardest to explain part of the project. Bear with please.
Step 8: Did I call the last step the fun part? Cuz compared to this one it was. Take your edging strip, line one end of it up with the center of the bottom of your tombstone shape. This will keep the seam on the bottom of the pillow. Make sure you have the right sides together because otherwise you’ll be like me tearing out the seams when you realize that you’re edges are on the outside. Start sewing the edge to the tombstone following the curves and backtacking the corners if you want. When you get back to the bottom you may have a lot of overlap but leave that for now. Pin the other half of the tombstone to the other side of the edging again pinning it at the center of the bottom and making sure again that the rightsides are together because you’ll feel really stupid if you have to rip out the seams twice. I sure did….. *grins* Now I know its hard to make the seams exactly the same and here’s where the overlap comes in. Sometimes the bottoms don’t line up and the extra fabric covers your ass so to speak when this happens.
Step 9: Stuff the pillow and then sew the bottom shut et Voila! You have a creepy tombstone pillow.