A New Summer Flower Pillow


I made a new summer flower pillow this week. Today I am sharing how to make a pillow cover with paint and free motion stitched embroidery.

Summer Flower Pillow

My new summer flower pillow was painted with acrylic paint and then I added the design detail with free-motion stitched embroidery. it’s not a hard craft and I am excited to share it with you.

How to Make a Summer Flower Pillow

Summer Flower Pillow

What is free motion embroidery?

Free motion machine embroidery is a type of sewing that you do on a regular sewing machine but you can move the material in any direction while sewing it on your machine.  Normally when you sew, the machine automatically moves the fabric forward. When you sew free motion embroidery, you get to move the fabric so you determine exactly where you want to sew. You can move sideways, forward, backward, and create any shape you want. All you need is a quilting foot.

The free-motion quilting foot, sometimes called a darning foot, is designed so that the sewing machine needle passes through a small ring on the foot. Instead of hopping, these feet float over the fabric without providing pressure.  The Foot releases the fabric when the needle is in the up position, allowing you to move the fabric freely.

This is the free motion foot for your machine. This foot may vary based on your type of machine but I linked a universal one that should fit!

I read a lot about lowering the “feed dogs” on your machine when stitching free-motion embroidery. Feed dogs are the little teeth on your sewing machine that feed your fabric evenly through the machine. These teeth are extremely important because they help us produce perfectly spaced, even stitches whenever we sew garments, piece quilts, or applique shapes on our machine. Most people recommend that you lower the feed dogs for free-motion embroidery.

For this flower pillow, I lowered the feed dogs using a lever on my machine. But I did have some problems with breaking threads and tension. Next time I think I will leave the feed dogs up and use a Supreme Slider instead.

What You Need to Make a Free Motion Embroidery Pillow

Pillow cover (I used the Gurli 20″ cover from Ikea)

Acrylic paint and brush

Dark Embroidery thread (I used brown)

Parchment paper or cardboard to fit inside the pillow while painting.

Free motion quilting foot for your machine (varies by sewing machine brand)

The process to make one of these pillows is not difficult. You just need to paint the pillow with shapes of your design and then add the detail with free motion embroidery stitching.

Summer Flower Pillow with Paint and Free Stitch Embroidery

Free Motion Embroidery Stitching Details

There are a lot of different ways to free motion stitch. As you can see from this photo, I added some detail on this coneflower by doing a circle stitch design on the center. I loved how it turned out.

Summer Flower Pillow

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My New Summer Flower Pillow

If you look at this photo you can see how I loosely painted the pillow and then added the detail with the stitching.

Sewing the Summer Flower Pillow

You will want to pick your color palette before you do anything else. I chose pinks and oranges and mixed up the paints myself.

Paint for the Summer Flower Pillow

These are the mixed colors I created. Aren’t these mixed paint colors just so much fun?

Paint for New Summer Flower Pillow

Here you can see some detail of the painted coneflower. My painting style for these pillows is to paint shapes and paint them loose. All I want to do is create the “idea” of a flower and nothing specific.

Painting the Summer Flower Pillow

I just kept painting more flowers until I felt that the pillow looked fun!

Painting the Summer Flower Pillow

Next, I pulled out my darning foot and added it to my sewing machine. Next, I found the feed dogs lever on my machine and moved the feed dogs down, so they would not be in use. By doing this, you will be able to pull the fabric in any direction you want while you are stitching.

Using the Free Stitch Embroidery Foot on the Sewing MAchine

I followed the paint loosely when I added the stitching.

Sewing the Summer Flower Pillow

It takes a bit of time but way less than you would respect. I love doing this.

Painting a Pillow Cover

This photo is a great example of the difference between the painted and stitched cornflowers.

Summer Flower Pillow with Free Motion Stitch Embroidery

Links to the Items Shown in This Flower Pillow Post

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A New Summer Flower Pillow DIY

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  1. I was wondering when we’d be seeing a free-motion sewing pillow post. Like all the previous pillows, this one is just beautiful! Your free-motion sewing pillows are all my favorites!!

  2. I just love all these pillow covers. The hearts and Cornflowers are my favorite, but the carrots are great also. I can not wait to make these.

  3. You are so incredibly talented Leslie! I am new to your blog and am in absolute awe of everything you do!

  4. Every time you post one of your beautiful pillows I make a mental note to order the shams. Last month I finally took the time and will be picking up my shams next week at the fed ex office. Cannot wait to get it started. I think I will try something for fall, as it probably will take me that long to finish. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  5. First of all, thank you for sharing your beautiful home! I love all the ideas.
    I’ve recently been doing some free motion embroidery and love your pillow ideas!
    Here’s my question though. Are you taking the pillow apart (front and back) and painting/sewing on the front and then sewing it back together?

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