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Keepsake Rag Pillow

Raggedy Keepsake Pillow Tutorial

This is a wonderful project to make for your children or anyone that you would like to give a keepsake to; just change the fabric to suit the occasion. For this project I used fabric from my stash of fabric for the back of the pillow and for the solid squares on the front of the pillow. For the "keepsake" part, I used a sheet that my kids used when they were little. The sheet is almost 30 years old and still in wonderful condition, and my kids always appreciate the things that I make for them. These instructions are for a pillow that will measure approximately 23" X 23" square.



1 – 23" square in a solid color (for the back of the pillow)
13 – 6" squares in a solid color (for the front of the pillow)
13 – 6" squares with a print (for the front of the pillow)
1 spool of matching thread 1 bobbin with matching thread Polyester fiberfill (enough to stuff your pillow with – probably 1 ½ to 2 pounds. I made 3 pillows and used about 4 pounds) Lots of sewing pins
Sewing needle (optional)
Cutting mat (big enough to protect the table from cut marks)
Table (big enough to lay your fabric and cutting mat on)
1 rotary cutter
1 pair of snips
1 pair of scissors
1 quilting ruler

Determine what type of fabric you will need and how much. For this project, I will assume that you are making the same size pillow(s) that I made. For the solid fabric, I suggest purchasing a yard and a half of fabric – you will use the solid fabric for the backing of the pillow and also for the squares on the front to alternate with the print. For the printed fabric, I suggest purchasing a half yard of fabric.


Now that you have picked out your fabric, lay your cutting mat on your table and lay out your solid fabric and use your quilting ruler and rotary cutter to cut out 13 – 6" squares; stack them, and then repeat with your printed fabric – this time cutting out 12 – 6" squares. When you have completed cutting your squares lay them side by side right side up, starting with the printed fabric, alternating each square. You will need to lay your squares 5 across and 5 down to get the layout of the pillow. Now you will pin wrong sides together starting with the first row – only pin the across rows for now. You will pin the down rows later. You should now have 5 squares on the across rows pinned wrong sides together. Take these to your sewing machine and straight stitch your seams to join the squares together using a one inch seam allowance – now you have your across rows done.

Lay each across row out on your cutting mat and table in the design that you want them to end up in and pin each row wrong sides together making sure to match your seams on each row. Take your pillow top to your sewing machine and again stitch a one inch seam allowance. *If you have trouble keeping to the one inch seam allowance, get a sticky note tab and attach it to the one inch mark, so you have a visual guide.

Now that you have your rows sewn together, you are ready to attach the back of your pillow. Lay out your pillow backing on the cutting mat and place your pillow top over the fabric. Use your quilting ruler and your rotary cutter to cut the backing for your pillow while using the pillow top as a guide.

Pin the pillow back and the pillow top wrong sides together and take to your sewing machine. Using a straight stitch machine stitch all the way around your pillow using a one inch seam allowance. In this step you will want to make sure that you leave an opening, so that you can stuff your pillow. For this size of a pillow, I suggest leaving an opening that is big enough for you to put your hand through – doing this will make it much easier for you to stuff your pillow. After you have completed the above steps, check your pillow for any threads that may be hanging and using your scissors or snips to cut them off. Now you are ready to do the ragging – using your snips, uniformly snip each row of seam allowance – approximately one quarter inch wide. I start with the outer seam allowance and leave the open part not snipped – you will see why later. After you snip the outside, snip each of the inner row seam allowances in the same manner.
Now that you have snipped every seam allowance, you are ready to stuff your pillow. When stuffing a pillow of this size, it is a good idea to stuff each corner first, and then continue along the seams, leaving the middle of the pillow for last. As you are stuffing the pillow, make sure to knead and pull the stuffing to keep it soft and pliable – nobody likes a lumpy pillow. When you have stuffed the pillow with the amount or stuffing that you are satisfied with, pin the open end of the pillow and either machine stitch closed or hand stitch closed. I prefer to use the machine for this step – just because it is easier for me. Make sure to clip any stray thread after this step, and you are done.


You now have a beautiful keepsake pillow that will be treasured for years to come.

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Reader Comments  (8)

Indizona Variety
Indizona Variety | February 21st 2012 at 1329874078

How precious!
BeewitchingItems | February 22nd 2012 at 1329939356

Beautiful pillow and very good and informative blog
Victorian Rose Inc
Victorian Rose Inc | February 22nd 2012 at 1329952182

Thank you ladies ~♥~
Donna's Stuff & More
Donna's Stuff & More | February 22nd 2012 at 1329953938

What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
Royal Presence
Royal Presence | February 22nd 2012 at 1329954130

Adorable! Wish I had a sewing machine!
Victorian Rose Inc
Victorian Rose Inc | February 22nd 2012 at 1329958077

Thank you for stopping by and commenting Donna and Royal ~♥~ And you are very welcome Donna, and Royal, you really should get a machine and start sewing; it is a great stress reliever.
Chococu | March 3rd 2012 at 1330831829

So very creative! I like this pillow and your store as a whole is very unique. BEAUTIFUL hats!
Victorian Rose Inc
Victorian Rose Inc | March 3rd 2012 at 1330838800 - in reply to chococu

Thank you Chococu ~♥~ You are very sweet with your comments.

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