How to Make a Parasol Bird Pillow

Home Accessories, Sewing Patterns

:: Free Sewing Pattern for Pillow with Ruffles, Parasol Applique and Bird Photo Transfer ::

Today we’re starting something new: FEATURED GUEST BLOGGER CRAFT TUTORIALS. What I mean is that I’m inviting lovely and really talented craft bloggers to guest post tutorials for their wonderful unique crafts on FineCraftGuild. Our first guest blogger is the creative Beverly from Flamingo Toes, based in California.

Free pillow sewing pattern with bird applique and photo transfer

Look at the sewing project she’s bringing: a 100% contemporary and unique pillow. Dare I say, it’s a pillow you could find in the Anthropologie home decor section.

Anyhow, by just looking at the pillow, you can tell how talented and creative Beverly is!! Verrrryyy. Now let’s make just as great a decorative pillow as this one, using her design and tutorial.


Over to Beverly:

“Hi! I’m excited to be guest posting today at Fine Craft Guild! I like to share with you a tutorial for my Parasol Birdie Pillow.

The inspiration for this came from a pillow in the magazine, Fresh Home. I cannot find this pillow anywhere online though. So unfortunately I don’t have an inspiration photo for you.

Isn’t he cute? I think all birdies at the beach need a parasol. It’s a must.



Bird Pillow Tutorial – Materials Needed

Fabric stack for Free pillow sewing pattern with bird applique and photo transfer

Would you like to make your own?  Here is a supply list:

  • 1 piece of transfer paper – with reversed image of bird and number printed on it
  • 1 16" x 16" pillow form
  • 1 linen square – 16" x 16"
  • Fabric for back and beach ball – 1 16" x 12" rectangle, 1 16" x 7" rectangle, small scraps for beach ball, about 6" x "6
  • Fabric for ruffle, edging on back, beach ball and parasol – 1 16" x 3" rectangle for back edging, 5" x 96" for ruffle (can be pieced if necessary), small scraps for beach ball and parasol, about 6" x 6"
  • Wonder Under, or other fusible web
  • 2 buttons
  • small piece of jute for button loop on back, 5" long
  • and thread.

Step-by-Step Pillow Tutorial

Let’s get started.

bird pillow pattern

1. Cut out all your fabric pieces. Draw out the design for the beach ball and parasol for your patterns and cut these out of fabric as well.

2. Cut out your beach ball and parasol pieces out of fusible web, and iron the fabric onto the web. Remove the paper on the other side. Cut out your bird and number transfers, close to the ink.

3. Lay out all the pieces on the linen and iron everything on, your fabric pieces and your transfer.

4. At this point you can either "distress" your bird or leave him solid.

pillow tutorial

TIP: Here is a trick I’ve found (by accident) to distress a transfer.

I have an old Teflon fabric ironing board cover that I use for this. I have tried it with regular fabric but it does not work. Once your bird is ironed on and you have removed the transfer paper backing, turn your piece over so the transfer is face down on the Teflon fabric.

Iron the back of your piece down, not too long, but enough to get hot. Peel up the fabric and some of the transfer will stick to the Teflon. (This is why you want to use an old piece, not your regular ironing board cover.)

You might practice this to determine how long to leave the iron on the back of the fabric. After this step your birdie looks like this:

5. Draw on your parasol handle with a fabric marking pen (that has disappearing or removable ink).





6. The next step is to sew all the fabric pieces down. I used a straight stitch for the parasol handle (about 6 lines back and forth) and a satin stitch around the beach ball and parasol, with a contrasting black thread.

pillow tutorial

7. Mark and sew on the button at the top of the parasol.

8. To prepare the ruffle, sew together any piecing you need to do to make 96". Fold your rectangle with the long sides wrong sides together. Hem the two ends of the rectangle. Sew a ruffle stitch down the raw end, or use a basting stitch and pull up the threads so that the ruffle is size of the pillow top. Pin then sew the ruffle on to the top, with a 1/4" seam allowance.

9. For the back panels, hem the smaller rectangle along the top 16" side. On the larger rectangle, for the edging piece, fold the small piece of contrast edging wrong sides together, and pin to the bottom end of the larger panel. Place the jute loop between these two pieces. Sew them together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Turn and press the edging piece down, with top panel overlapping that piece by about 1/2". Topstitch the bottom panel just above the edging, sewing over the jute loop to reinforce it.

10. Place the two panel pieces together, with the top overlapping the bottom, to make a 16" square. Baste the two sides together.

pillow sewing pattern

11. Pin the back panels to the front panel, right sides together, making sure the ruffle is facing in. Sew around all four sides with a 1/2" seam allowance. Turn right side out and make sure the ruffle isn’t caught in the seam anywhere. If everything is fine, turn wrong side out and clip the corners of the pillow. Turn right side out again and press the edges.

12. Insert pillow cover and mark where to sew button on the back lower panel. Sew on button and place loop of jute around it to hold it on.

pillow sewing pattern


13. Turn it over and admire your sweet birdie with a parasol.


14. Back of the pillow :)

pillow sewing pattern


Thanks for letting me share this tutorial with you and visit Fine Craft Guild!”


About Beverly

Beverly writes about all sorts of things, but mostly sewing, embroidery, and the occasional attempt at photography. She enjoys meeting new friends and trying out new things. “ I’d love it if you’d come visit me over at Flamingo Toes and check out my other projects. “ she says.

This pillow is part of this set ….:
how to sew a pillow

The vintage images on the pillow (the birds and cages) are from


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