For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you’ll recognize this DIY Woven Pillow tutorial which I first shared on Always Made With Love. Today, I thought I’d share the full tutorial with all of you lovely readers of my blog.
Looms: To Buy or Not To Buy
Before we get started, I wanted to offer a word or two about looms. I first started my adventures in weaving with a basic lap loom that came with a starter kit (which I blogged about in “An Introduction to Weaving”). While you can always find lap looms to purchase on sites like Amazon or Etsy, it is not necessary. You can make your own basic, budget-friendly one using 4 pieces of wood, a hammer and nails (see “How to Make a Basic Loom”). If this, too, feels a little intimidating, then simply make a loom out of cardboard (yep, you read that right). If you google ‘how to make a cardboard loom’ you will be surprised to find plenty of tutorials out there that show you how to weave with a piece of cardboard! Honestly, it cannot get any easier than that 🙂
DIY Woven Pillow Instructions
So if you are ready to make your own DIY Woven Pillow, then let’s get started. You will need the following materials:
- Cotton or hemp yarn
- Knitting yarn
- Tapestry needle (plastic and typically 3 inches in length)
- Pillow stuffing
- Measuring tape
- Optional: Shed stick (resembles a paint stir stick)
- Head pins (not pictured)
- Kitchen fork (not pictured)
- Darning needle (dull tip) (not pictured)
- Tape (not pictured)
Step 1: Create Your ‘Warp’
The ‘warp’ is what constitutes the vertical strands in your weaving. It is the foundation that holds together the yarn that you will be woven through the warp horizontally.
I am using my homemade nail loom for this project.
Taking your cotton or hemp yarn, create a loop knot and place over one of the nails along the bottom of your loom. Pull upwards and wrap the yarn around the nail directly above, starting from the left side and moving to the right, then straight back down. Then wrap the yarn around the nail next to the one with the loop knot, going under the nail, moving from left to right and then back up again.
Continue doing this until you have sufficient width.
Tip: If this is your first time weaving, make sure your warp is not too tight. As you begin weaving, the warp strands will tighten along the way, so you will want some slack, otherwise your weaving will bow in the middle.
Step 2: Begin Weaving
For this project, you will be creating 2 weavings, comprising the front and the back of your pillow cover.
Let’s begin weaving the front first.
Snip off a long piece of yarn (a couple of feet to start) and thread your tapestry needle. Taking your threaded needle, begin weaving horizontally across your warp, moving over and under each strand.
Once you reach the opposite end of the warp, pull the rest of the yarn in the same direction until there is about 3 inches of yarn ‘tail’ peeking out on the side of the warp where you began weaving this first row.
Next, begin weaving back toward the ‘tail’ end of the warp, moving your tapestry needle over and under each strand, as before. For the second row, you will need to weave your yarn on the opposing side of each strand as you make your way across. (In other words, if after completing your first row, you end up over the last strand – as I did below – then begin the next row by starting under the same strand).
When you have used up your first piece of yarn, simply cut another length and begin a new row.
Tip: It can be tempting to tighten your yarn as you weave, but it is best that you don’t. If you do it will cause bowing in the middle. To prevent this, create an ‘arc’ as you weave, as pictured below.
Gently push the yarn into place with a fork, creating smaller and smaller arcs until there are no arcs left:
Continue weaving, making your way up the warp, one row at a time, changing colours when necessary.
Step 3 (Optional): Hatching Technique
Most of this weaving consists of basic ‘over and under’ weaving. For part of this project, I also used one other technique called ‘hatching.’ Hatching is used to blend colours together. It is by no means necessary for this pillow weaving. But if you have the ‘over and under’ down pat, and you’d like to try hatching, here’s how:
Using two threads, begin weaving one from the left and one from the right, within the same row until they meet – you decide where you wish the two to meet.
When the two yarns meet at the same strand, then simply wrap each one around that common strand. Now have each yarn head away from the other in the opposite direction.
Tip: Because I have only one tapestry needle, I used it to weave from the right and used my shed stick to weave from the left. Simply move the shed stick over and under strands as you would your needle and then pull the yarn through with your fingers. You can also use a piece of cardboard if you don’t have a shed stick.
Continue in this way for as long as you wish to blend any two colours together. This is what my hatching looked like:
Continue weaving, alternating between ‘over and under’ and the hatching technique as you make your way up the warp.
Step 4: Remove Weaving From Loom
Once you have completed the front side of the pillow, remove by snipping the warp strands.
To prevent the weaving from unravelling, tie a double knot at the point where the warp strands meet up with the weaving.
Do the same for the loose yarns. Tie together where possible, or weave back into the weaving.
Clean up all the lengthy threads by snipping them short.
Step 5: Make the Back Side of Your Pillow
Once you’ve mastered the front side of the pillow, the back will be a cinch. Just repeat all of the above steps. For this pillow, I created a solid colour on the back and used the simplest ‘over and under’ technique to complete it.
Step 6: Stitch Together
Place the two weavings together, with the good sides facing one another.
Measure and apply tape across the edges. This will guide your stitching so that it is as straight as possible. Pin the two weavings together.
Thread your darning needle using the same cotton or hemp yarn you used to create your warp. Begin stitching your weavings together.
Make sure to leave a large enough space unstitched for the final steps. I left about 5 inches of space. You may need more, depending on the size and thickness of your pillow cover. Remove the pins and tape.
Step 7: Stuff & Stitch
Turn your pillow cover inside out gently pulling the material through the 5 inch space available.
This is when things get really exciting and you begin to see your weaving transform into a pillow! You’re in the home stretch now 🙂
Stuff the inside of your pillow cover with stuffing.
Stitch up the last 5 inches by tucking in the edges and stitching it up from the outside, this time using one of your yarns.
And, voila! You have just created a charming, woven handmade pillow!
This is a simple project, but by no means a quick one. Weaving takes time, yet it is an incredibly relaxing activity. I recommend taking a weekend or two to complete this one. But it is well worth the effort if you enjoy the creative process and love unique, handmade home décor as I do 🙂
Happy weaving 🙂