Trapunto Snowflake Pillows

on November 21 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 27 Comments

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.

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27 Responses to Trapunto Snowflake Pillows

  1. Anastasia says:

    Beautiful

  2. gaylynne says:

    very nice.

  3. Julianna says:

    Great pillows and great tutorial! Thank you for sharing:)

  4. Stephanie says:

    Loving the white-on-white.

  5. Brooke in SC says:

    I love these!

  6. Kerri Larsson says:

    I would really like to give this a try!

  7. Cinnamon says:

    I’ve never seen this technique before. Leave it to the wonderful Maya to make a lovely tutorial and fantastic pillow to make me want to try it.

  8. Christina says:

    I love this technique! Thank you so much for sharing. I think I’ll be making one of these in the near future. By the way, our cats could be twins! I have a Tonkinese cat named Chloe, is your cat the same breed? Thanks again!

  9. Melissa says:

    These are such a simple but stunning design. I would love to have several of these:) Thanks for teaching me how to make my own!!!

  10. I love it! I knew that technique but could not get my head around it. Would be perfect next to my upcycled cushion cover!

  11. Absolutely perfect for Christmas. Love to have this in my living room this Christmas.

  12. very inspiring for a first piece, need to give this method a try.. lovely

  13. Jeannie D in TN says:

    Oh My! So want to make these…I think I’ll try them in white fleece!

  14. usairdoll says:

    Awesome! Thanks for a great tutorial!

  15. Heather says:

    Oh my! I’m working on a Trapunto pillow right now! I had no idea that other people even knew about this old-school technique! My mother shared it with me! When I post mine, I’ll be sure to link back to yours. Love your Snowflake idea!

  16. Dorothy B in Az says:

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful snowflakes. Can’t wait to try trapunto.

  17. Judi Duncan says:

    Can you post the snowflake pattern to copy please!

  18. Judith Martinez says:

    So pretty! Trapunto is on my bucket list of techniques to try!

  19. maya says:

    This is for Julia and anyone else that was confused by step 7. So sorry folks, it should read fold over a 15″ side NOT the 12″ side. The idea behind making an envelope opening is to have a center slot for inserting the pillow form. This is created by having two overlapping smaller rectangles placed right side down on top of the front square to form a 15″ square with overlapping seams in the center. When all layers are stitched together along the perimeter, the center has a slit for pillow insertion.

  20. What great looking pillows and with the great directions, they seem easy to make!
    Thanks!

  21. maya says:

    Hi Julia,
    Thanks for catching that mix-up… we’ll fix up step 7 in a jiffy! It should read fold over one of the 15″ sides (not 12″). Essentially, you fold over all along the long side of the rectangle and then do it again (double fold). Stitch it down and repeat for the other rectangle of canvas. These two seams will over lap one another. When you sew around the entire perimeter of the pillow (15 x15), those two sides form a slit to slide in the pillow.

  22. krystina says:

    These are LOVELY!

  23. Cheryl in CA says:

    these are so soft and pretty!

  24. flicsha says:

    The pillows are so pretty. The simple design is great.

  25. what a cool technique!

  26. Julia says:

    The pillows are lovely and so creative and I would really like to try to make these. Am I missing something on step 7 on how to make the envelope opening to insert pillow form? It’s unclear to me where exactly to– fold 1/2″ and press then 1/2″ and press again and where exactly to– stitch using pressor foot as guide. Also, how and where do you insert pillow form once it’s all sewn together? Thank you.

  27. Irene S says:

    Thank you, love the snowflake pillow.

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