Maya Donenfeld of maya*made has always impressed us with her designs. We’re so happy to have her here today with a special project for the season ahead. Find your own way to “minimalistic bliss” and learn a new sewing technique as you go with Maya’s Snowflake Pillows!

Maya lives with her two children down a country road, in an old farmhouse in the Fingerlakes region of New York. She is passionate about encouraging others to find their unique creative voice and gain confidence in their own capable hands; her maya*made site is full of projects and eco tutorials to inspire others to artfully recycle, repurpose and reinvent. Maya is the author of Reinvention: Sewing with Rescued Materials. She has also contributed to many books, and her work has been featured in many beautiful magazines: Country Living, Green Craft Magazine, Sew Hip, Where Women Create, Family Circle, Artful Blogging, Food Network Magazine and Create With Me.

Maya is committed to utilizing sustainable resources and fibers, and finds beautiful ways to weave natural elements into her work. She writes that she “finds the imperfection of handmade endlessly inspiring and seeks out simple, and often humble, materials to transform into useful items of beauty.” Enjoy her tutorial below!


I had the pleasure of working with beautiful organic basics from Organic Cotton Plus. I love their 4.5oz muslin! It’s so sturdy and substantial, and then washes into a soft and supple fabric worthy of home decor use. Fabric manipulation is wonderful way to elevate something neutral and humble into minimalistic bliss.

I chose the trapunto technique to create these Scandinavian-inspired winter cushions. Trapunto comes from the Italian word “to embroider” and is a quilting technique for creating relief through stuffing two layers of fabric.

Supplies + Tools:

  • Pre-washed muslin – 1/2 yard
  • Pre-washed canvas – 1/2 yard
  • Coordinating thread
  • Contrasting thread
  • Seam ripper
  • Stuffing – polyfil or wool
  • Knitting needle/chopstick
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or rotary blade and mat
  • Pillow insert
  • Iron
  • Template of snowflake
  • Pins
  • Pencil

Instructions:
1. Sketch a simple six-pointed snowflake or Google “snowflake images” and print out a favorite. The ones shown here are approximately 7″. Minimalistic designs with straight edges are recommended.

2. Cut fabric. You will need two 15″ x 15″ pieces of muslin and two 15″ x 12″ of canvas.

3. Place the snowflake between two pieces of muslin. Center it. Trace the snowflake directly onto muslin with pencil. Remove template and pin fabric together.

4. Thread machine with contrasting thread. Red is used here. Stitch around the entire snowflake, locking stitches at the beginning and end.

5. When completed open the center of the snowflake with one inch slit using a seam ripper. Open the side with pencil markings… It will be hidden on the inside of the pillow cover.

6. Fill using little bits of stuffing at a time… Gently poke the stuffing up into each point.

Flip your snowflake over occasionally to check and see how it looks on the right side. When satisfied, hand stitch the opening slit closed.

7. Prepare the envelope backing: Fold over the 15″ side of canvas 1/2″ and press. Fold over 1/2″ again and press. Sew with a straight stitch using the edge of the presser foot as your guide. Repeat with other piece of canvas.

8. Pin all of the pillow cover pieces together. Place the right side of the snowflake up. Layer the back pieces on top with the right sides facing down, seams parallel to one another and at the center of pillow.

9. Sew around the entire perimeter using the edge of the presser foot as a guide. Snip off corners, taking care to not cut through any seams.

10. Turn right side out and gently poke out corners. Insert pillow form and admire. Then go whip up some hot cocoa!


This post is sponsored by Organic Cotton Plus, the first fabric retailer in the U.S. to be fully GOTS-certified­ and your source for organic cottons, knits, eco­-dyed fabrics, notions and much more.