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Turn needlepoint into a pillow, sources?

Redser | Posted in General Discussion on

I am a novice at needlepoint and miraculously I have completed a few small items. I would love to have these made into small pillows but do not have a clue where to start. I live in the outer boroughs of NYC. Any suggestions? Thanks!


  1. MargaretAnn | | #1

    It is fairly easy to turn any needlepoint into a pillow, unless you used soft loopy stiches that will catch on things.  If the stitching is flat, that's fine.  First, have you blocked the finished piece?  If not, do that first.  If you don't know how, I can tell you.  When the piece is ready to use, decide whether you want to set it into a larger surface, or use the whole piece as the front of the pillow.  Find fabric which compliments the piece, and buy enough for the size of the pillow, back only if you are using the needlepoint as the whole front, and back and front if you are going to insert the neelepointinto the front, plus seam allowance. If you want to set the needlepoint into a bigger pillow front, measure your needlepoint very carefully and cut a window smaller than your piece, to allow for seams in the fabric you will use .  Baste the needlepoint into the window, clipping as necessary.  Sew, making sure to get exactly at the edge of the needlepoint.  You will have to clip corners. Cut the back of the pillow to match the front. The simpliest way to finish is to sew around the square, right sides together, leaving a fairly large opening.  Clip the canvas, not too close, and turn right side out.  Stuff, either with a purchased pillow, or one you have made yourself.  Slip stitch the opening shut.  Buy a cording that compliments the piece, and couch it on to the seam all round.  If your seam around the needlpoint is slightly sloppy, you can conceal it by couching a cord around the insert, but you must do that before you stuff and close the pillow.  You can make your own cord, but that is a whole different set of instructions.  I highly recommend The Needlepoint Book by Jo Ipppolito Christensen, ISBN 0-684-83230-5.  It explains this whole process in greater detail, with pictures.  In addition, it is valuable for all kinds of other information.  Another book, Pillows by the Home Decorating Institute ISBN 0-86573-410-0 will give you lots of ideas.   I hope this helps.



    1. Redser | | #2

      Thank you MargaretAnn for the wealth of information. My stitches are flat but the entire piece is slightly askew. ( I was told this may happen ) Not sure how to block the piece as of yet. I would love to set the piece into a window as you suggest, although it sounds complicated, I am sure that it is not. ( wish that I could take a class some where ) Boy, someone could clean up if they did this for a living huh? Look forward to hearing how this can be blocked. Thank you again.


      1. stitchmd | | #3

        Shops that sell needlework supplies do have services for this, but they are exhorbitant. It will cost you over $100.

        I've never blocked needlepoint, not sure if the canvas is vulnerable to heat, but it should be a matter of dampening, stretching/shaping and heating. Have you tried googling it?

        1. Redser | | #4

          Dear Pasdenom,

          The only "googling " that I do Is typing in a keyword for google to search for me. Is there another "google"? Please excuse my ignorance on this.



          1. stitchmd | | #5

            Yes that is what I meant, I've gotten so used to using it as a verb I forget people may not get my meaning. Try entering the search terms   "needle point blocking"

      2. MargaretAnn | | #6

        Dear Artaine

        You piece is skewed because either because you did not use a frame while working, or because you used tent stitch instead of basketweave.  Not to worry, that is why you block before you mount, or set, or make a pillow.   Since blocking is easy, but long to describe, perhaps you would like to e-mail me personally: [email protected].  If anyone else is interested, I'll be glad to post.  I am trained as a fabric conservator, and I know what is safe to use.  However, may I again suggest that you find the Christensen book.  They sell it on Amazon.com, or Barnes and Noble, or Borders, but the cheapest way is to visit the library.  It is very helpful for all kinds of things.  Professional mounting is certainly the easiest, but, as they said, very expensive


        I just want to add a bit since I checked with the web.  There are some good sources for blocking.  Be careful, however, about a blocking board.  Some suggested are dangerous to your needlepoint.  If you want to make your own board,  I can explain how.  However, at Joann Fabric or a quilting store you can buy a cloth covered board of a suitable size, already marked with inch measures.  When you wet your work, never twist or wring.  Roll up in a white towel, or, best, blot flat with a white towel.  Br absolutely sure to check colorfastness before you dampen.  Be sure to use rustproof pins or tacks.  Good luck. 

        Edited 12/10/2003 11:49:46 PM ET by MargaretAnn

        1. Redser | | #7


          Went and picked up the Ippolito book, it's great!  Evidently I have been doing the Basket Weave stitch. I took a look at the section for blocking and my head started to spin. I am in a small apartment and can only dream of having the space to do all this. but I will do my best. As for the stand, Michaels has a stand for about 50.00 but they always have 1/2 price coupons. I work on small projects, the largest being a sea scene that I have had for two years ( and roll, and roll, to stitch ) which is approx 14" x 20" , would the stand be that much of an asset? if so I will put it on my wish list. I hope that I am not giving the impression that I have dozens of finished pieces, I have but a few, but I put so many hours into them, I want to do something with them. A dear friend hokked me up with this craft 2 years ago, he is far beyond my skills and is my inspiration. ( He gets his professionally pillowed down in Florida , much $$$ ) Will e-mail you for directions though, it will be a challenge!.

          Thanks to all for your help.

    2. SisterT | | #8

      Do you sew your own clothes as well?  I can hardly be considered a fashion expert (I am a nun and we wear ...gasp... black polyester).  BUT--I love to see hand-stitched work and it seems that some of what you have described can be incorporated, with some imagination, into jackets, for example.  Needlepoint is wonderful to look at and it seems a shame to turn all of that hard work into pillows.....

      Of course, the other possibility is to turn your work into a quilt top..... :)

      Sr. Tracey

      1. MargaretAnn | | #9

        Dear Sr. Tracey

        Yes, I do sew my own clothes, sometimes.  I am just getting back into it after 30 years of teaching.  When I a young mother, I sewed both for myself and my children, but gave it up when I started teaching at 35.  Of course needlework can be used in clothing, and often is.  Needlepoint, however, is often done on fairly stiff canvas, so it isn't very flexible.  Laundering is a problem.  If done in wool, the garment would have to be dry cleaned.  Silk and metal threads are fragile.  Since the work takes so long to do, most workers want to protect the finished product.  If used for clothing, it would wear.  However, there are chairs seats covered with wool needlepoint that have been sat on for 200 years and are still usable, so obviously the stuff can stand some grief.  I think that most of my fellow needlepointers who frame everything and hang it on the wall as a picture are missing something.  Cushions are attractive, can ease uncomfortable seats, and pad aching bones.  In Christensen's book there is a long list in tiny print of suggestions for use in amazing applications.  However, if you wanted to use a piece in a garment, you couldn't be impulsive; it might a month to complete just a small piece to insert.  I have pieces that have taken a year or more, done in spare time. 


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