I just love the 4th of July and I wanted more patriotic decorations for our home. So I made this pillow with stars and machine embroidery!
What’s more American than the 4th of July? A day filled with family, friends, picnics, and fireworks! If you want to add some extra patriotic flair to your celebrations this year, try making some of your own decorations. This project was so easy and could be made on a pillow cover, napkin, or tablecloth.
The 4th of July will be here in a few weeks! It’s time to start thinking about patriotic decor so I thought I would share one of my favorite patriotic decorations. This free-stitch embroidery pillow was simple and very fun to make.
How to Make Your Own Patriotic Decorations
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. Like a star! 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.
All you need is the free motion foot for your machine. This foot may vary based on tour type of machine but I linked a “universal” one.
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 pillow, I lowered the feed dogs using a lever on my machine. It worked perfectly.
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How to Make a Patriotic Decorations Pillow
What You Need to Make a Free Motion Embroidery Pillow
Dark Embroidery thread spool (navy or black)
Parchment paper or cardboard to fit inside the pillow while painting (so the paint won’t seep through)
Free motion quilting foot for your machine (varies by sewing machine brand)
How to Make a Free Motion Embroidery Stitch Pillow
To prevent the paint from leaking through place a piece of parchment paper or cardboard inside the pillow.
Choose your color palette and place the paints on paper plates. Feel free to mix the colors as this will result in a more cohesive color palette.
Measure the star and determine how to pay out the stars on the pillow. I use a mat with 1″ squares as a measuring tool.
Dip the cookie cutter in a flat pile of paint and use it as a stamp to lay out the design. I alternated the colors but you can do this any way you want.
Continue stamping the pillow with the cookie cutter until done.
Paint the stars on the pillow. I used two shades of red and blue on each star to create a shadow effect. Don’t worry about painting perfectly as the stitching will add the detail.
You can see below that a lot of the stars are very “loose” and not perfectly painted.
Paint all of the stars and let them dry. I put my pillow out in the sun so it would dry faster.
Begin stitching a very loose star pattern on top of each star. It doesn’t have to be exact, just stitch two rounds of stitching on each star. Since I used an already-made pillow cover, I opened it up and stitched each star carefully, being sure not to stitch the underside of the pillow cover. It’s not hard, I promise!
This is a great photo of the difference between the painted only and the painted and stitched stars.
Here is the completed pillow. You can see how I did not stitch these perfectly. I love how it looks more basic and handmade when it is not perfect!
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Use a medium-heavy fabric for free-motion embroidery. Attach the darning foot to your machine, and lower the feed dogs. (The feed dog is what moves your fabric forward. If you lower it then you can move the fabric in any direction you want.)
Sew your design two times so the stitching is more predominant. DO NOT try to sew perfectly. It’s so easy and don’t worry if you make a mistake here and there. It looks better that way.
Yes, you can sew free-motion embroidery using a regular sewing machine. You will want to use a darning foot and lower the feed dogs to allow you to move the fabric in any direction you want.
Look at the Pillows I Have Made
In the past year or so, I have made quite a few Free Stitch Embroidery projects. I have made pillows, placemats, and, coasters.
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I thought you might enjoy this Amazon Live Show as I am sharing 4th of July Decor Ideas for Your Home.
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Creative Patriotic Decor DIY Ideas
I joined some blogging friends of mine and here are some more creative Patriotic Decorations you can make yourself.
Paint inexpensive terra cotta plants and add natural wood stars to add understated patriotic flair to your home this summer!
This Canada Day S’mores caddy makes a great gift for a host, and it’s also a fantastic addition to your own festive outdoor celebration! Personalize an inexpensive metal caddy with a patriotic design, fill it with marshmallows and all the goodies you love with your s’mores, and enjoy it with friends and family.
Here is how to make paper pinwheels out of paper. This step-by-step tutorial shows how to make this simple paper craft project. You can use scrapbooking paper or buy digital paper on Etsy. And finish it off with either a wooden dowel or a tree branch from your garden. The results are so cute.
Pin the image below to your decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!