It’s getting a little buggy over here… but not the bad kind of bugs – the cute kind! My friend Rosie of Bustle & Sew is sharing a free sewing pattern to make this throw pillow that’s covered in adorable bugs.
For more fun projects like this, check out all my free sewing patterns.
In the past I’ve created butterfly designs but have neglected their less glamorous cousins the bugs – until now that is! I think they deserve at least a little attention as our gardens and countryside simply wouldn’t be the same without them.
There are nine different bugs decorating this cushion, each machine appliqued and finished with a little hand embroidery – and two mother of pearl buttons for their bright shiny eyes. I think they’d look good individually too – they’d be great to decorate all kinds of items.
Sized to fit a 16” pillow form.
16” square neutral coloured medium weight background fabric for front of cushion
Two 17” x 13” rectangles fabric for the back of the cushion
Border fabric (quilting cotton weight) – 2 strips 2” x 16” and 2 strips 2” x 19 ½”
Scraps ofprinted cotton fabric for beetle bodies. Beetles measure just under 4” long. I chose small geometric patterns that I felt worked well and kept my colours to just pink and lime green
Small scraps of dark blue fabric for heads
18 buttons, 1/4” in diameter
Black embroidery floss
Bondaweb (HeatnBond lite is the U.S. equivalent)
Embroidery (or free-motion) foot for sewing machine
Use ¼” seam allowance throughout.
1. Take the 16” square of fabric and fold it into thirds both lengthways and widthways forming 9 equal squares. Press the folds with your hands (don’t iron them in as it may prove hard to remove them afterwards). Open out your fabric.
2. Trace the shapes for the beetles onto the paper side of your Bondaweb. Cut out roughly, fuse to the reverse of your printed cotton fabric and cut out carefully. You may find it helpful to number the shapes as it’s easy to become confused when you’re positioning them.
3. Position one beetle shape (including heads for those that have them – overlap the bottoms of the heads with the main body shapes in this case) on your main fabric – one beetle in each square.
When you’re happy with the positioning fuse the shapes into place with a hot iron, protecting your work with a cloth if necessary.
4. Transfer the beetle markings, legs and antennae to each beetle. I used Sulky Sticky Fabric Solvy and simply stuck it over the top of each fused shape.
5. Fit the embroidery foot to your sewing machine and drop the feed dogs. With black thread in your needle and a pale colour in your bobbin stitch around the edge of each beetle shape and head and also stitch the markings on the body. Go over each line twice, not too neatly, you’re aiming for a sort of scribbled effect.
6. With two strands of black embroidery floss and back stitch embroidery the beetle legs and antennae. Stitch the buttons into place. I reversed my buttons so the rougher side of the mother of pearl was visible not the shiny pearlised side as I preferred the effect.
7. Take your border fabric strips and join the shorter ones to the top and bottom of your main panel and the longer ones to the sides. Press seams open at the back to minimise bulk.
8. Press and hem one longer edge on each of the two remaining rectangles of fabric
9. Place the front panel right side up on a clean flat surface, then place your two rectangles right side down on top aligning the unfinished side edges so that the hemmed edges overlap in the middle to form the envelope closure.
10. Stitch around the edge of the cushion. Clip corners and turn right side out. Press well.
11. Stitch in the ditch around the seam between the main panel and the border fabric. (6). This will form a nice trim around the edge of your cushion.
12. Insert the pillow form.
Helen and Rosie are the mother daughter team behind Bustle & Sew. They design sewing patterns (hand embroidery being their favourite), publish a monthly magazine and create lovely craft kits too! Keep in touch with them on Facebook and Instagram. 🙂
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂