A very cool woven ribbon pillow DIY

This is quite the project! I have a very interesting tutorial for you today, one I tried without much practice or thorough thought before jumping in. You may know how that goes. But I learned as I went, and am happy to share my tips with you!

Here's my tutorial for a woven ribbon pillow.

I think the inspiration for this project was woven paper hearts I remember making for Valentine's Day as a kid. I think we made paper baskets out of them once? I don't know. I remember liking weaving the pieces together, and being very intent on matching the corners up tightly.

So when Offray reached out to me to celebrate the launch of their new website, and I thought about a cool project using ribbon, the over-under basic weave was the first thing I thought of!

Woven Grosgrain Ribbon Pillow Tutorial


You will need:


  • Grosgrain (or other) ribbon (pronounced GROW-grain, not GRAWS-grain) (I used two colors, two white pieces for every grey piece)
  • Sturdy home dec or bottomweight fabric for pillow base and back (Do not use knit or something lightweight, as it needs to hold up to lots of pins and still stay flat as you add each ribbon.)
  • Zipper (invisible recommended)
  • Pillow form

I used an 18" pillow form so I used an 18" zipper and less than 3/4 yards fabric.


Calculating ribbon needs:

Sometimes sewing projects = lots of math. To calculate how much ribbon you need, divide the width of the pillow by the width of the ribbon. For example I used 3/8" wide ribbon (0.375") on an 18"x18" pillow form and assumed 1/2" seam allowances on each side but no ribbon in those areas. For each direction:

  • 18" divided by 3/8" wide ribbon lined up perfectly = 48 pieces
  • 48 pieces, each 19" long for seam allowances = 912"
  • 912" divided by 36" = 25.3 yards
So 25.3 yards per side, so 50.6 yards total. 

(I did 2/3 white ribbon and 1/3 grey ribbon, so I used about 17 yards grey and 34 yards white.)

I'm pretty sure the fabric store is the most expensive place to buy ribbon, so ordering online is definitely the way to go for large orders like this. (Offray.com now has an online shopping feature.)

Instructions:


1. Prepare the pillow base. (I used the same fabric for the front and back.) If your fabric is all or mostly cotton, pre-wash it and press it before cutting. Once washed and pressed, cut two pieces to fit the pillow form. (I used 1/2" seam allowances for my 18" pillow, and wanted a snug fit, so I cut 19"x19" squares.)

Fold the pieces in half and notch the centers on all sides.

2. Cut ribbons. I started out cutting 10 or 20 pieces, then pinned some and cut more as I went. Kept them from getting too tangled.

My pillow was 18" with 1/2" seam allowances and I wanted a little extra room, so I cut 19.5" pieces.

3. Pin ribbons along one side. You can see my alternating pattern here--two whites, one grey. Put on a good movie or podcast! Lots of pinning.

Leave at least 1/2" at the side for seam allowance and wiggle room.

**If your ribbon is thicker like velvet ribbon, you may want to give each piece a few threads' worth of space to accommodate the bulk when you weave the other direction.

With each piece, on a flat surface, follow the ribbon piece to the opposite end and pin flat.

4. Baste ribbons down. You can use the longest stitch your machine has, since it just needs to take the place of the pins for now while you weave. Use about a 3/8" seam allowance.

5. Pin and sew ribbons on the perpendicular side. Pin only on one side, not across as well.

If you used spacing for thick or fluffy ribbon, match that spacing on this side.

Sew these pieces down with a basting stitch and 3/8" seam allowance as well.

6. Weave! With a consistent pattern, weave each piece through under-over-under-over-etc. all the way through.

My ribbon was stiff enough that I didn't need a needle or anything to weave it through the perpendicular pieces. I found that I could just fold each piece in half or so and use the loop as a pusher to get under the pieces as I wove through. I made a twisty mess most of the time, but the ribbon had enough body to bounce back when I flattened it.

I also found I could do up to four or five pieces at a time, under-over-under-over-etc. all together, but then just had a slightly harder time doing the next pieces individually.

The hardest part was keeping the weave straight as I went. Lots of pulling with my fingernails, pretending to be the pusher on a loom. At the end of each weave, pin the ribbon flat in grain.

Keep weaving until the very end. For the last TWO pieces, I pulled out a big tapestry needle and used it to help me.

But then I realized I had too many ribbon pieces for the seam allowances and I pulled out the four edge pieces (the outer one on each edge), which gave me more room to weave. (After I took this picture--sorry. Just trust me.)

Anchor the pinned edges of the bottom of the weave with a basting stitch and 3/8" seam allowance.

7. Assemble the pillow. As you would any pillow, install the zipper, then sew the faces right sides together. Clip corners, press.

8. Insert pillow form and display proudly!

Here's mine!

Really cool texture to play with as you hang around relaxing on the couch.

(Next to another DIY pillow, of course.)

Because it is so unique and takes more labor than a basic printing or painting project, I think these would make GREAT holiday gifts! I'm always looking for interesting DIY gifts, and this would be a great one. Particularly if you have someone who loves a specific color. Offray sells this basic grosgrain in like every color ever.

Do let me know if you try it!!

It's also a great DIY gift!

Thanks to Offray for sponsoring this post!

9 comments

  1. Oh wow! I really really love this idea and can see it working for a variety of colours. I love how your weaving made a pattern, too! Great tutorial. Thanks! :D

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  2. I love the Tetris-like pattern the weaving made!

    JJ
    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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  3. That is beautiful. thank you so much for sharing. GOD bless.

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  4. we had a set of these growing up, only they were olive green and a mustard color!! :) this one is very pretty!

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  5. Cool!! You could recreate them! ;)

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  6. So neat! I love the picture with all the pins! Ha so cute. Great job.

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