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samantha sews

I'm Samantha (Sam), a mechanical engineer, seamstress, crafter, & entrepreneur. Enjoy perusing photos of my sewing and craft-related adventures. I hope my blog brings inspiration and happiness to your day!

This blog is no longer being updated. Visit me at SamanthaSews to see my latest projects!

My Products

maker signs from lasercut wood, available at samanthasnap on etsy

plush narwhal sewing kit: make a narwhal! available at fluffyland

wood camera necklaces, available at samanthasnap on etsy

Fluffyland Narwhal Sewing Pattern, Whale Sewing Pattern PDF

popular posts

Handmade Wool Alpaca Plush Tiny Handmade Plush Cactus
Annual Ladies' Board Rummage Sale orange sewing machine from germany
Marietta Big Chicken custom plush tiny narwhal graduation gift

Tutorials & Free Projects

Tiny Thread Spool Pushpins Tutorial X-Stitch Throw Pillow Tutorial
Starburst Wrapper Bracelet Tutorial Vintage Hassock Reupholstery DIY
Safety Eye Installation Tutorial for Plush a guide to sewing in your dorm room
Sewing Basket Essentials for Beginners a gift guide for the seamstress who has everything



sponsored: my favorite tools

x-stitch textured throw pillow: a tutorial

gray and orange x-stitch textured throw pillow

I finally finished – and photographed – my first couch pillow. As mentioned in a long-past wiwo wednesday post, I made a copycat of a Crate & Barrel pillow that I liked. It had little X-stitches across the front in a grid formation, which gave it just enough texture.

I made my own pillow form for this pillow since I thought the selection at JoAnn’s was terribly overpriced. But in the future, if I need more than one pillow form, I’m planning on ordering from Pillow Cubes, a reasonably priced site for ordering pillow forms in bulk. A down pillow form? That sounds amazing.


The Crate & Barrel version of this pillow was turquoise with matching X’s, so the thread blended into the background. I wanted my stitches to pop more, and I can never resist an orange-and-gray pairing. Plus, my white couch means the pillows can be as exciting as I want them to be.

For my pillow backing, I used a coordinating yellow and orange floral and, my favorite, an orange zipper.

gray and orange x-stitch textured throw pillow

This is the texture of my finished X’s before I inserted the pillow form. I love how simple and cute they are.

Click through for the tutorial!

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Step 1, as always: Cut your fabric. For the front, you’ll need 3 layers: the outer fabric (mine is gray); a layer of batting (i used a thin cotton quilt batting, but something thicker might be nice to add more texture); and a lining fabric to go behind the batting (this can be anything). I used an 18×18″ pillow form, and when using pillow forms it’s best to cut the pieces to the exact size of the pillow form: no seam allowance! This will keep your pillow cover snug and not-lumpy.

Stack your layers, right sides out, with the batting sandwiched in the middle, and baste around the outside edge to hold everything together.

Sam, why aren’t your pieces square? I angled the corners of my pillow pattern to avoid the “dog-eared” corners that most throw pillows end up with. It’s simple and I think the end result looks much better. I found a good tutorial here: Perfect Pillow Corners.

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Once your layers are basted together, it’s time to establish your grid. Start by folding your fabric into quarters with the lining side out, and mark the center point.

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Starting from the center, mark a grid of dots using a grid ruler. I placed my X’s 2 inches apart.

make sure they’re centered on the pillow: for example, with a 2-inch grid, this means my first 4 X’s were each 1-inch away from the center point.

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

I made an 8×8 grid of X’s: 64 total. This means the hard part is over! Now it’s just sitting and stitching through an episode or two of your current Netflix obsession.


For the thread X’s, I used standard embroidery floss, and used all 6 strands. Pearl cotton would probably look even nicer. I could also see this working with crochet thread (my favorite crafting supply).

I found it easiest to use a big needle for this. Make sure it’s sharp, but there’s no need for it to be small.

Cut yourself a length of floss around 18″ – this will get you through a few X’s. Find a dot on your grid, and stitch to the front, leaving a thread tail of 3″ or so.

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Stitch back through from the front to make the first slash of your X. I just eyeballed mine: I figure half the charm of a hand-stitched pillow is a bit of unevenness.

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Cross over the first slash. You’ve made your first X!

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Here’s why we left a tail: it’s faster and more consistent to make the knots this way.

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Tie your working thread to the tail in a square knot…

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

… and trim!

gray and orange x-stitch textured throw pillow

After some relaxing sitting-and-stitching, you’ll have a nice array of X’s!

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

For the back, I chose to expose my zipper since I love the way it matches the golden orange of my thread. You can do a lapped zipper if you prefer.

For an exposed zipper, cut your backing fabric to the same dimensions as your pillow front. Then choose where you want your zipper to go, and cut a line. I chose to put my zipper 4″ from the top of the pillow.

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Stitch in the zipper right-to-right, and top-stitch if you’d like to (i didn’t).

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Last step: sew the backing piece right-to-right with your pillow front! I serged around the edge to keep it tidy. Turn the pillow cover right-side-out, throw in a pillow form, and you’re all done!

x-stitch textured pillow tutorial

Enjoy! I hope your pillow turns out as comfy as mine!

PillowCubes link placement in this post was sponsored by PillowCubes.com.

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