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Molly's Sketchbook: Finishing a Needlepoint Pillow

Sewing a finished needlepoint canvas into a pillow is just as easy as sewing any simple pillow, it's also a very quick process, especially when compared to the time it takes to actually stitch the canvas!  Most importantly it's a great way to display the canvas so you can see it every day.

If you've never needlepointed before you may be surprised to discover just how fun and easy it is! We have a great selection of needlepoint canvases that you can find at this link by the wonderful painter and illustrator Charley Harper. We also have a brief explaination of how to needlepoint that you can see by clicking here. If you need or want more in-depth instructions on how to needlepoint we highly recommend the TNNA How To Needlepoint Booklet, which you can find at this link.

Happy Stitching! --Molly


I made my pillow out of my finished Charley Harper Baffling Belly needlepoint canvas, but the same principles can be applied to any finished needlepoint canvas (you can find all of our Charley Harper needlepoint canvases at this link). You could also use these same principles to make a pillow with a different closure, like the over lapping closure in this story.

To make one 14-inch square pillow you will need:

You will also need a walking foot for your machine.

Sewing the Top

  • Dry block your needlepoint canvas:  Pin it down taut and flat (I pinned mine to an ironing board) and spray it lightly with water.  Let it dry. Once it dries it will be a lot flatter and neater looking.
  • Trim the blocked canvas about 1/2-inch from the edge of the work.
  • Cut the Ochre fabric into two 3-inch by 14-inch strips.

  • Pin the strips to each long side of the canvas at the very edge of the needlepoint work, right sides together.

  • With the walking foot on your machine sew the strips to the needlepoint canvas using a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Make sure you are measuring the seam allowance from the edge of the needlepoint stitching and not the blank trimmed canvas.
  • Fold the strips back from the seam and press them flat.

Sewing on the Back

  • Cut the Espresso fabric into a 14-inch square and place it on top of the sewn top, right sides together. As you can see in the picture above the top might not match the back piece perfectly. If that is the case trim the long Ochre sides to meet the back. Do not trim the top or bottom from the canvas, it's better to have a little of the canvas overhanging than to accidentally cut into the needlepoint work.
  • Pin the back piece to the front.

  • Using the back fabric as your guide, sew the back to the front using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, leaving a 10-inch gap along one of the sides (not a side that has any canvas on it).

  • Turn the work right side out and poke out the corners. Your pillow case will be 13-inches square. It's a little smaller than the pillow form so that it will fill out once you insert the pillow.
  • Stuff the pillow form inside the case through the gap.

All done! Now you can really enjoy your needlepointing work!

Reader Comments (10)

Wonderfully clear tutorial (as always!) Best on the web, and I
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusy
I used to do needlepoint as a kid...even doing a sampler at one point which is probably buried in steamtrunk. I think it's unfinished. Time to dig it out, finish it and turn it into a pillow???
June 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMB@YarnUiPhoneAppv1.5
Are those Charley Harper prints on the wall? Are any of these available as needlepoint canvas? Love these!
November 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMonti
Hi Monti-

They are Charley Harper prints but they aren't available as canvases. We do have quite a few Charley Harper canvases however, and you can see them here:[]=841&page=2

Thank you!
November 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpurl bee
What is the recommended process for the edge of the finished needlepoint. Do you stitch an extra toe rows for the seam? T
May 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany
Hi Tiffany-

We just sewed the fabric on to the finished needlepoint canvas as described above and it worked great! No extra finishing needed.

Thank you for your question!
May 28, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
why do you use a walking foot when sewing the needlepoint to the fabric?
September 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoan walsh
Hi Joan-

I used the walking foot just to be extra safe since it's sewing over such different weights. However, it would probably be just fine if you used a regular foot!

Thanks for your question!

September 9, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Have finished needlepoint canvas approx. 12" x 12". I would like it made into a pillow w/o a ruffle. Besides the fabric required, It needs an insert with a blind zipper. I think that is it. I would like to find someone who does professional work and would like to know the cost of such a project and how long it would take to complete. Please resond to my emal bobvey AT aol DOT com. Thank you.
November 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandy
Hi Sandy-

Thanks for getting in touch about this. We don't offer any finishing services but you could give our retail store a call at 212-420-8796 and they might be able to put you in touch with someone. You could also try calling any needlepoint shops in your area.

Thank you!

November 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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