Crazy-Quilted Throw Pillow

A Sewing Diary
by Lisha Vidler

(Click on any illustration to view the full-sized image.)

I’ve always loved the look of crazy-quilting, especially the luxurious designs by blogger Lisa Boni, of Ivory Blush Roses. Last year, I made a crazy-quilted cover for my sewing machine that was inspired by her work. I also created a crazy-quilted Bible cover for a dear friend, which I had a hard time giving away!

I’ve been wanting a throw pillow for our bed, something that matches the comforter and ties the various colors together. So, I finally decided to make one that’s crazy-quilted.


Finished Pillow


Inspiration & Design
I searched Pinterest and found several gorgeous examples to draw on for inspiration.

I wanted to use our current bedroom colors: dark plum, warm lavender, gold, and teal. However, I didn’t have any fabrics in the right shade of teal, so the final pillow is purple, gold, and champagne, with accents of olive green. I like it well enough that I’m planning to change our bedroom’s color scheme!


Color Swatches


After going through my fabrics, I made up a sample of how I wanted the crazy-quilting to look. It uses formal fabrics, like satin and taffeta, along with delicate antique lace.


Design Sketch


Just for fun, I also did a sketch of how the embroidery might look. I knew the actual embellishing would look quite different, but I wanted a visual aid while I worked.


Embroidery Design Sketch



  • Rectangular Pillow—Self-Drafted

Pillows are easy, so a pattern really isn’t necessary. I just measured the pillow form and cut two rectangles. For the quilting, I used my design sketch as a guide.


  • Pillow Form, 12″ x 20″
  • Unbleached Muslin, ¼ yard
  • Taffeta, Dark Purple
  • Satin, Purple
  • Satin, Lavender
  • Taffeta, Gold
  • Satin, Champagne
  • Point d’Esprit, Ecru
  • Venise Lace, Ivory
  • Antique Lace, Ecru
  • Embroidery Floss
  • Silk Ribbon, 2mm & 4mm
  • Seed Beads, #11
  • Swarovski Crystals, 3mm & 4mm

I went through my stash and gathered together a number of fabrics that matched my bedroom décor. I found a very thin satin in both lavender and dark purple, plus taffeta in dark purple and gold. I also found a champagne-colored silk satin. I picked out some cotton embroidery floss in shades of purple, lavender, and ecru, along with silk embroidery ribbon. I already had plenty of seed beads and Swarovski crystals in matching colors.


Fabric & Lace


I wouldn’t normally make a mockup of a pillow, but I wanted to be sure it would fit the pillow form.

It did.

I decided to use the mockup as a lining for the pillow, to help keep the feathers from working their way out. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it. (Sorry about that!)

The pillow itself was pretty simple. I used a dark purple taffeta for the back of the pillow, as well as for some of the crazy-quilting. For the base of the crazy-quilting, I used unbleached muslin. It gets covered, so the color isn’t important—just the fact that it’s a sturdy fabric, capable of supporting all the quilted work and embroidery.

I learned how to crazy-quilt from a variety of sources, including Allie Aller’s class on Craftsy. My preferred method is “foundation piecing,” where you sew each piece onto a foundation of muslin, sort of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. (You can find directions for foundation piecing in my tutorial, Crazy-Quilted Book Cover, Part II.)

Pieced Quilt

Pieced Quilt Pillow Top


You’ll notice the lace is already attached. This is because I wanted the ends of the lace to be sandwiched between the layers for a clean finish.


Closeup of Lace


Once the quilting was done, I started embellishing.

I wanted the pillow to have an old-world feel. Somewhat antique, but not too busy or old-fashioned. Something that would appeal to my modern sensibilities, as well as my romantic roots. That’s why I used both antique lace and modern Venetian lace.


Closeup of Antique Lace


I added short columns of seed beads to both pieces of Venetian lace, alternating between purple, lavender, and olive green.

Lace With Beading

Lace With Beading

After consulting my book of embroidery stitches, I embroidered along most of the seams that weren’t already covered with lace. I used several different kinds of stitches, including a double herringbone stitch, where I alternated 2mm silk ribbon with embroidery floss. Along one edge of the herringbone stitching, I added Swarovski crystals and seed beads.


Beaded Herringbone Embroidery

I created a row of alternating lazy daisy fans, using both lavender and purple embroidery floss, plus seed beads and crystals.

Lazy Daisy

Beaded Lazy Daisy Fans


With embroidery floss, I created a row of chain-stitch circles. I used green silk ribbon to divide the circles with a dashed line down the center of the row. Three purple crystals accent the center of each circle, while olive crystals fill the gaps between circles.

Chain Stitch

Beaded Chain Stitch Circles


Using silk ribbon, I embroidered a floral motif in the center of one panel.


Floral Motif in Silk Ribbon Embroidery


I also embroidered a silk ribbon rose in the middle of a panel, although I fear it looks lonely, all by itself!


Rose — Silk Ribbon Embroidery


Along one edge, I embroidered a zigzagging chain-stitch, with lazy daisy flowers at each point. The flowers are accented with purple crystals.

Chain Stitch

Zigzagging Chain Stitch


Here’s the completed pillow top, laid flat.

Pillow Top

Completed Pillow Top


Once the embellishing was finished, I sewed the pillow top to the taffeta back piece, leaving a gap at one end, through which I stuffed the pillow. I hand-sewed the gap closed, using a slipstitch.

I enjoyed piecing together the crazy-quilting—choosing just the right colors and seeing how they interact with each other. But as always, embellishing was my favorite part. The end result turned out far better than I could have imagined! It’s old-fashioned, yet extremely sophisticated and elegant. And it looks fabulous on my bed.


Crazy-Quilted Pillow


More articles on crazy-quilting I’ve done:

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