If you're here I'm assuming you found me because you want to sew some pompom trim.
It's one of those things that has become cute and fun, again.
For your quaint fact of the day, once upon a time I was browsing in our little Amish fabric store and overheard several ladies chuckling about how they used to drape pompom trim in their bedrooms for cuteness....a long, long time ago. Apparently that was the thing to do, back then. They thought it funny that it was becoming popular once again. 🙂
But popular and cute or not, it's not much fun to sew.
Now, if you're in a hurry, or just want the tutorial and don't want to hear me blathering on about what led up to this tutorial, you are more than welcome to skip on down to the headline that says "Now finally, the actual tutorial for adding pompom trim!". There you will find your tutorial.
For the rest of you.....
In my most recent post about painting my linen wall I was also experimenting with colors and looks for decorative pillows.
And the winners were....
A China cheapy blanket scarf covering a body pillow, and a throw pillow covered with a former tank top, plus pompom trim.
I intended for the plaid to show, and do very much like it, but....
...turn it the other way and look, you have stripes! Which is better, I don't know. I'm leaning toward the stripes. Great to have options.
Above you'll see the befores.....a much used body pillow with a cheap $7 Ebay scarf to cover it, and an already-been-covered-once throw pillow, along with a tank top with the perfect floral print to cover it again...also $7.
I chose to use the hidden zipper method to cover these because I wanted to be able to reuse them easily in the future. I could do a long tutorial on how to insert a hidden zipper into a pillow cover but that would be reinventing the wheel. Instead I'll just send you here if you need instructions. Her tutorial is very easy to follow, and much more in depth and exact than mine would be anyway. I've sewn many, many hidden zippers in my life and never thought to iron the zipper first. So I tried out a new thing myself!
At first I made the floral pillow without pom poms. Then, after I had sewn both pillow covers, I decided the floral pillow needed a bit more interest on the ends. Tassels? Pompoms? I brought home several options and decided on the white pompom trim, so I unpicked the sides of the already sewn pillow cover and added the trim.
Except it wasn't as easy as "I added the trim". It was a pain. It was precise and finicky and the pompoms made it very hard to keep everything in place and sew evenly. I got it done and loved the results but was less than happy with how it had gone, so the next day found me pacing the
halls kitchen, going through every step in my mind to figure out how it could be done more easily. There had to be a better way.
Well I did figure it out, or I thought I did. So I grabbed another length of pompom trim, found some pretty Amy Butler fabric in my stash, and gave it a shot.
It is pretty isn't it?
I did the measurements. 10"x20" pillow. With seam allowances added that's 11"x21".
I absentmindedly laid it out on the cutting board, and slice went my rotary cutter.
Then the instant sinking feeling. I'd just cut it 10" instead of 11". That meant no seam allowance, and there wasn't enough fabric to cut it another way. Wow, that was dumb.
Ok, moving on, have to find another fabric.
Moral of the story: keep your mind on your measurements.
Moving on to plan two. Here we have some soft white fabric (cut from a $2 thrift store sheet). Simplicity is in, right? Simplicity is classic. Hmphh.
Now, this is white fabric, and a bit thin, so I'll go ahead and do two layers. We'll make this simple with the magic of Elmer's glue. If you've never encountered this trick before, Elmer's glue makes an amazing basting tool. Just use a thin bead (make sure it's in the seam allowance, you don't want to sew over it) then immediately press the fabrics together and iron over it. Very fast, very easy. And if you want the cool thin tip that I have, this is where I bought it. You're welcome.
Now finally, the actual tutorial for adding pompom trim!
You will need:
- A fabric marking pen of some sort. I love, love, love my purple disappearing ink pen, but this won't work on dark fabric. Any fabric store should have a selection of marking tools to choose from.
- Your fabric.
- Pompom trim. I got mine from Joann Fabrics.
- A zipper foot. You could possibly use a regular foot if it's narrow, but because you need to sew right up next to the bulky pompoms a zipper foot is ideal.
Ok, cut out your fabric pieces. MAKE SURE TO ADD SEAM ALLOWANCES.
Next, take your fabric marking pen or pencil and one of your pieces, and, on the RIGHT side of the fabric, mark your seam allowance....exactly where you want to sew. If you're only doing the pompom trim on the ends you only need to mark those ends as well as around the corner a bit. See above picture.
Turn it over. Now mark the seam allowance along the sides a little ways. See above.
(This is all assuming you're only adding trim to the ends. If you'd like to add it all around the pillow I'll share a few tips toward the end of this post.)
Turn your fabric piece right side up, then take the pompom trim and line it up evenly on the line you marked. I was lucky and had a pompom hit each corner, though I had to stretch the trim a bit for that. If you can't, no big deal, just make the trim as even as possible from the corners.
Pin the trim in place, following the line you marked before.
Now for the trick of it all. Sew along the trim, either EXACTLY where you want the final seam, or JUST INSIDE of your final seam. Precision matters here, because you'll be using this seam to tell you exactly where to sew when you sew it all together later. This is the step that will let you choose precisely the amount of trim showing in the end.
- This is where you start using your zipper foot. Really, it helps a lot! You'll want to get right up there beside those pompoms to sew.
- I found that setting my needle to end in the down position helped me sew a more even seam. Things really do like to shift around here.
The thing is, just sandwiching the trim between your fabric and trying to sew an even seam like usual doesn't work very well with pompom trim. The bulky pompoms like to make everything shift about, no matter how careful you are. This way, even if things shift a bit, as long as you follow the line you just sewed the trim will come out perfectly even.
I wanted the little loops between pompoms to show too, so I sewed just inside of them.
This is where I paused and added my invisible zipper.
K, zipper in, now let's sew our front and back together for good! Lay your unmarked piece over the piece with pompoms, right sides together.
Pin it together.
And turn it over. Oh look! We have a purple line marked telling us exactly where to sew on the sides, and stitches telling us exactly where to sew on the end! Perfectly even pompom trim coming up!
Again, use your zipper foot and set your needle to end in the down position. Go slow and steady. Even when you know exactly where to sew it takes some careful sewing. Those shifty pompoms!
And here it is sewn together. I sewed just inside the stitches from before, then trimmed the corners. Let's see if it worked.
It did! Yes!
And there we have a
simple plain classic white pillow with pink pompom trim...that I have no use for whatsoever. If you would like to have it, shoot me a message here with your address and I will send it to you....pillow form not included. 🙂 Paint it, stamp it, keep it simple....do whatever you want with it!
Too bad it's not pretty Amy Butler fabric....
Now, if you want to do pompom trim all the way around a pillow you can still use this method, with a few variations.
You will more than likely NOT want to use the hidden zipper method linked to above! That would be a pain! This tutorial is a great alternative that would work well. You would sew the zipper into the back piece first, then start with the pompom trim.
You'd want to take the front piece, lay it right side up, and mark the seam allowance all the way around. No need to mark the back, you'll have stitches to follow on each side this time.
Pin the trim in place on opposite sides just like in the instructions above, and sew carefully along the trim on, or close to your seam line.
Then, lay pompom trim pieces on the other two sides as well, and follow instructions as before.
Pin the back and front pieces together, make sure the zipper is partly open, sew all the way around just inside the stitches you've already sewn, trim the corners, and turn it inside out.
And that's that.
You can use this method with any kind of trim you want to insert perfectly, and it's certainly not limited to pillows. If you grasp the concept, the possibilities are endless.
Happy sewing. 🙂