Patriotic Pillow: Make Your Own!


As promised, today I’m bringing you instructions for how to make your own patriotic USA pillow as featured in my Fabulous Fourth Table Setting. This is a quick and simple project, you could easily make several to toss around as accents at your 4th of July festivities.

I used a plain denim tote bag as my inspiration for this project. Between contests and shopping, I seem to have about a million tote bags lying around- far more than I could ever use. I thought “Ah-ha!” What an easy way to save sewing time and use up a plentiful resource by turning something I don’t really need into something useful and pretty!


One lightweight denim 13″x 13″ tote bag
Lightweight red canvas fabric
About 2 ft of 1-1/2″ wide dark blue satin ribbon
Sheet of flocked white 1-1/2″ high iron-on block letters
One 1-1/2 inch dark blue iron-on star and two 1-inch dark blue iron-on stars
Two 1-inch red buttons
Fiberfill stuffing
Dark blue and red thread
Sewing machine (optional)
Hand sewing needle
Straight pins
Tape measure


1. Begin by carefully cutting the handles off of your tote bag. Discard them or save them for another project.  Measure and cut a 12″ x 12″ square of red canvas fabric. Choose a side of the tote bag to be the front of your pillow. On this side, center the red canvas square on top of your denim tote bag. Temporarily pin in the center to hold it in place as you work. Carefully fold each  raw edge of the red canvas under 1/2″, pinning as you go. Make sure the pins are only going through the canvas and the top layer of your tote bag. You will need to open the bag later to sew.


2. Cut two 12″ lengths  of blue satin ribbon.  Lay one length of ribbon horizontally  across red canvas square, 1-1/4″ up from the bottom of the canvas.  Carefully pin the ribbon in place, once again making sure the pins only go through the top layer of denim tote. Fold 1/2″ of ribbon under the canvas on each side and pin. Repeat this process with your second length of ribbon, measuring 1-14″ up from the top of the first ribbon. laying the second ribbon horizontally and pinning in place to form your stripes.


3. Using a straight stitch, 1/8″ from outer edge, topstitch with red thread all around the canvas square, removing pins as you go. I chose to use red thread for the ribbons too, because I liked the contrast, but you can switch to blue if you prefer. Stitch the ribbons into place, removing pins as you sew.



4. Press entire front of tote with warm iron. Cut excess backing paper away from your letters and position them on the top left side of your red canvas square. Follow package instructions to heat transfer your letters onto the fabric, making sure to let paper cool completely before removing.


5. Repeat process with the stars, positioning them to the top right of your canvas square and following package instructions to attach them to your pillow.


6. Stuff the tote firmly- but not until it’s overstuffed -with fiberfill. Now use a whipstich or invisible stitch to close the top of your pillow. Sew one red button at each top corner.


Options: For a no-sew pillow, you could use fusible webbing and an iron to secure your fabric layers.






Comments ( 5 )

  1. Replyellen beck

    Super cute pillow and youre right its a great way to use a tote too! I bet if you only intended this for decoration rather than use, you could almost make the square of red white and blue a button on too (if you felt like doing a buttonhole in the square) and after the pillow is done being used take it off . You could even reuse it for different seasons if you had different button ons. I need to get crafting again!

    • ReplyJenna

      That is a really good idea! You could make the tote/pillow part in a more neutral color so it blends more easily with different seasons!

  2. ReplyRobin Wilson

    You are so clever! I love this as a pillow or even a tote later! I'm still amazed you had the time just to make it! But it turned out great!

    • ReplyJenna

      Aw thank you! And that's a great point- you could easily make this so it's still useable as a tote afterward.

  3. Replymaggiethecoder

    Pretty! Im going to try these. Im a 4th of July babe ya know

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