Episodes - 612

Jessica Giardino

Deco-Stitched Decor by Jessica Giardino

Jazz up a pillow with decorative stitches that mimic appliqué. Use a treasured photo or drawing to make a one-of-a-kind gift.


1 yard of unbleached canvas

11 1/2"x17 1/2" rectangle of unbleached muslin

10"x14" rectangle each of cotton batting & lightweight fusible interfacing

12"x16" pillow form

11 1/2"x17 1/2" sheet of freezer paper

1 3/4 yard of jumbo pompom trim

Thread: matching all-purpose thread & coordinating polyester embroidery

Hand sewing needle

Pinking shears

Prepare It

From the canvas, cut two 11"x13" rectangles for the pillow back, two 2 1/4"x13" rectangles for the side borders and two 2"x13 1/4" rectangles for the  upper and lower borders.

Use a favorite photo to make the pillow front or find an image on a clipart website. Scale the image to fit your home printer specifications, being careful not to distort the image proportions. The featured image was sized to 9"x12 1/2" and printed on an 11"x17" piece of muslin in a printer that has the capacity to print on 11"x17" paper. Adjust the muslin and border cutting dimensions if needed to accommodate your printer parameters. For example, if your printer's maximum size is 8 1/2"x11" paper, scale the image to 7 1/2"x10", cut the muslin to 9"x11 1/2" and cut the upper and lower borders to 3 1/4"x11" and side borders to 4"x13". Scale the image and adjust the border dimensions as necessary to achieve a 13"x17" pillow-front panel.

Tip: Inquire at a local print shop to see if a printer with 11"x17" printing capacity is available to print your selected image.

Place the freezer paper shiny side up on an ironing board. Place the muslin right side up over the freezer paper, aligning the edges. Trim away any excess freezer paper.

Using a hot dry iron, adhere the freezer paper to the muslin. For best results, begin ironing on one short edge working across the fabric; press down for 5 seconds, and then reposition the iron. Avoid moving the iron over the entire surface, as this will create bubbles.

Pink the muslin perimeter, removing 1/4" from each edge. This keeps stray threads from damaging the printer.

Place the muslin in the printing tray. Set the paper type to card stock, if applicable. Mark a sheet of paper along the upper-edge center with an "X." Print an image test run. Note where the "X" appears on the printout, and then adhere the muslin upper edge accordingly to ensure proper alignment. Print the image onto the muslin.

Allow the ink to dry, and then remove the freezer paper.

Heat-set the image using a hot dry iron. Carefully press for 2 seconds, and then reposition the iron as needed.

Trim the muslin to 10"x14". If using 8 1/2"x11" paper, don't trim the muslin.

Jessica Giardino

Sew It

With right sides together, align the muslin upper edge with one upper-border long edge; pin. Repeat to pin the lower-border upper edge to the muslin lower edge.

Stitch using a 1/4" seam allowance. Press the seams toward the borders.

Place the front panel wrong side up on a flat work surface. Place the batting over the panel; pin. On the front panel right side, stitch in the ditch along the border and muslin seam (2).

Select a built-in decorative stitch that complements an image area. Thread the machine with coordinating embroidery thread. Carefully stitch along the image area to accentuate it. Leave long thread tails at the stitching beginning and end.

Tip: Experiment with a zigzag stitch to create a satin stitch for outlining image areas. The featured project used a 1.2mm-long, 2mm-wide zigzag stitch between each building.

Change thread colors as desired for each stitch and/or image area. Continue accenting the image with decorative stitches until you are satisfied with the result.

Once stitching is complete, thread each thread tail through a hand sewing needle to pull them to the wrong side. On the front panel wrong side, fuse the interfacing rectangle to the batting, securing the thread tails.

Double-fold one back-panel long side 1/2" toward the wrong side; press (3). Repeat to fold the remaining back panel. Topstitch the folded edges 1/8" and 1/4" from the second fold.

With the right side facing up, pin the pom-pom trim to the front-panel perimeter, aligning the trim straight edge with the front-panel raw edges (4). Overlap the trim end 1/2" over the trim beginning; cut off the excess trim. Baste the trim in place.

Install a zipper foot onto the machine to stitch as close to the pom-poms as possible.

Overlap the back-panel fold 2 1/2". Pin the perimeter. Place the front panel over the back panels with right sides together (5). Stitch the pillow perimeter using a 1/2" seam allowance.

Turn the pillowcase right side out through the back-panel opening. Insert the pillow form into the case.

Sampler Platter

Create a decorative stitch sampler to reference when accenting images with stitches. Use as many or as few stitches as desired depending on the number of decorative stitches available on your machine.


Two 18"x22" rectangles of unbleached muslin or 2 fat quarters of light-colored cotton solids

18"x22" rectangle of cotton batting

Contrasting all-purpose thread

Permanent fabric marker

Sew It

Place one muslin rectangle right side down on a flat work surface, and then layer the batting over it. Place the remaining muslin rectangle right side up over the batting; pin, creating a fabric sandwich.

Select one decorative stitch. Starting at the sandwich upper left corner, stitch 1/2" then increase the width and length of the stitch in increments. Backstitch three or four stitches and then clip the thread tails. Mark each setting next to the stitching line using a permanent fabric marker.

Position the needle 1/2" from the first stitch and set the machine to the next decorative stitch.

Continue stitching each decorative stitch and labeling each stitch sequence and changing stitch width and length as you go. Note how the machine forms each stitch, marking any notes as necessary on the sampler.

Once all available stitches are complete, trim the sampler edges to 1/2" from the stitches.

Edgestitch the sampler perimeter. Keep the sampler near your machine for future reference.


Shutterstock offers the Old City Facades illustration by iralu: shutterstock.com.


Madeira provided the Classic #40 Rayon embroidery thread: (800) 225-3001, madeirausa.com.

Sulky provided the 30-wt. cotton off-white thread: sulky.com.


Products used in this episode:



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