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29 April, 2012

DIY French Poetry Pillow...and...Envelope Closure Tutorial

I’ve been at it again…I’ve made another pillow! But this time I wanted to do a little something different, so I created my own fabric design using my favorite French poem.

KittyOf course, we can’t talk about pillows without the help of our own pillow princess…the lovely Miss Kitty…who loves to pose among them! Here she is lounging with my Pottery Barn inspired frenchy pillow in the background…her favorite pillow ever, she says.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure Tutorial It was easy and almost free since I already had everything I needed! I started with a scrap of leftover drop cloth and two fabric markers. Of course, you could use any two colors, but I chose black and brown for a more vintage look. Next, I printed my favorite poem La Lune Blanche by Paul Verlaine in a fun frenchy script called Amandine and used it as a guide. You could, of course, use your favorite poem! Next, I simply hand-copied the poem on to the fabric. Just take your time and remember it’s OK if it’s not perfect. It’s supposed to be handwriting! My pillow form (a $3.00 down insert from Goodwill) was 19 x 19 inches, so I filled up a 20 x 20 inch piece of fabric with lines from the poem, alternating colors as I went.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT How to Get a Straight Cut on BurlapI decided to use burlap for the pillow back, so first I cut my fabric. Do you know this trick for cutting straight on burlap? Just measure, find a thread at the correct spot and pull it all the way through. You will have the perfect guide to follow while cutting!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure Tutorial Some of you have asked where I store all my pillows…in the attic! And it’s getting waaaay too crowded up there! So I decided I will make envelope closures from now on so I can just take the covers off and reuse the forms. It really doesn’t take any longer. Here’s what I did…

1. After I made the front, I cut two pieces of fabric to form the back…one 3/4 of the length of my front fabric and one 1/2 of the length. My pillow front fabric was 20 x 20 inches, so I cut a piece 15 x 20 inches and another 10 x 20 inches.

2. On one of the 20 inch sides of each of the back pieces, I folded the fabric under 1/2 inch or so and then folded it again, then pressed and stitched to create a finished edge.

3. Next, with right sides together, I put the longer piece down first on top of the poetry fabric, lining it up, then added the shorter piece next, making sure all of the edges met. Be sure your opening runs from side to side and not top to bottom. Then I stitched it all the way around.

4. Finally, I trimmed the corners at a diagonal, turned it inside out through the opening…making sure the corners were completely turned out…and pressed it.

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure TutorialHere’s the finished back…very neat and easy to do! No more piles of pillows in the attic for me! I’ll just store the covers in a drawer! Now just pop in the pillow form…

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure Tutorial…and voilà! I love it! This pillow is special to me, not only because I designed the fabric, but because it’s my favorite French poem…the one I used to make my students memorize! (Uh oh…here comes the French teacher in me! ) I love its musical quality! In fact, Paul Verlaine’s works are so musical, that they have been converted to songs! This one has several video versions…this one with works of art in the background and this one with a haunting melody and a mesmerizing drive through rainy European streets at night. And finally, here's another version with music dating from la Belle Époque which includes the translation.

042 And while I am on the subject of pillows…let me show you this beauty that has come to live at my house! I was the lucky winner of the giveaway at the Bunny Blog Hop from the ladies at At The Picket Fence, French Country Cottage, DIY By Design, and On Sutton Place! Ann at On Sutton Place very generously supplied the prize! Don’t you love it? And it looks right at home on my patio! Thank you so much, sweet ladies!

CONFESSIONS OF A PLATE ADDICT French Poetry Pillow and Envelope Closure TutorialAnd here’s a final peek. Hmmm…now I’m thinking…maybe a fable from La Fontaine next? Or a few lines from a favorite French play? Or…nursery rhymes for my grandbabies! The possibilities are endless!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed a little peek at my frenchy pillow! Please visit these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful blogs to see what they are up to and to find a list of this week’s participants!
Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table and Dreaming for the Sunday Showcase Party
Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick for Before and After Monday (first Monday of the month)
Mary at Boogieboard Cottage for Masterpiece Monday
Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday

Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday
Beth at The Stories of A2Z for Tutorials and Tips Tuesday
Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch for Cowgirl Up on Tuesdays 

Kristin at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia for Tuesday's Treasures
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Judy at DIY by Design for Swing into Spring

Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Honey at 2805 for Potpourri Friday

Heather and Vanessa at At the Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Debra at Common Ground for Vintage Inspiration Friday
Sherry at The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Donna at Funky Junk Interiors for Saturday Nite Special

See you next time! A la prochaine!


  1. I love this script pillow! It's even more special because you wrote the script yourself. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm on a bit of a pillow kick myself lately. I've bought a few, but now I want to try and make some. Your instructions will come in handy. Thanks!

  2. Love it Debbie and congrats on that fabulous win!!

  3. Oh wow Debbie, you are becoming the pillow queen for sure. I love this one and the one that you won. Both are fantastic. Thanks for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

  4. This is stunning! I love that it was hand-written by you -- that is a real treasure and hopefully will be around for generations to come!

  5. Hi Debbie,
    You've done gone and done it again!
    Created a lovely pillow that's making me want one just like it!

    This is so pretty and what a great idea. Love the poem too.


  6. Wow, Debbie! You did a great job on this pillow! You've got more patience and a steadier hand than me.

  7. I absolutely love your new pillow. What a wonderful idea. Beautiful work too!

  8. I had a feeling when you saw the French script rug that something was inspired. Looks like you have another wonderful creation! Linda

  9. Well, I can sew, love to sew, want to sew, but just don't have time to sew. BUT, I could find an inexpensive plain pillow at Ross (etc) and write on it too. :) Great idea! I don't have a clue what the poe says, but I'm pretty sure it is an accolade to your creativity. It must be! :)

    xxoo, Barb

  10. I love the one you made and the pretty one you won from Ann.

  11. GReat job in this project. I love it! I should try this technique sometime!


  12. Oh my Debbie, that is wonderful!
    Now I know my handwriting would never look that good! lol.
    I love that you won that darling pillow too, how fitting!
    Great tutorial too!

  13. Debbie,
    Oh what a beautiful pillow that you made. I was just hearing some great comments about your blog from a local reader of my blog.


  14. Deb I love script and in French, even better. Love this pillow and what a perfect companion with the pillow you won. So pretty on your patio, You are one clever, clever lady, xo Kathysue

  15. I love this new creation Debbie, and what a clever idea. Like you I never met a pillow I didn't love! Great tutorial.
    Have a great week.

    The French Hutch

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Thank you for the instructions. A beautiful pillow! Visiting from Coastal Charm.

  18. Yes, I am coveting your pillow - love it! Very craftily done.

  19. Debbie,
    I have a great piece of fabric in my Art Studio "stash"...I just need you to come make a beautiful pillow of it for me! Ha! These are gorgeous! I adore the idea of being able to remove the cover for storage!!!

  20. Debbie your script pillow is just wonderful. And thanks for the construction tips. Congrats on the win...what a fine pair they make.

  21. Debbie, your script pillow is neat! Love that you did the colors in black and brown and put burlap on the back. Great look and texture.

  22. Ooh la la, what a wonderful pillow, Debbie. Too cool.

  23. Hi Debbie, I love your Frenchy pillow!! I just made pillow, too. I have an embroidery machine and did a Jacobean strawberry and watermelon design for my kitchen. I, too, did the envelope back, so I can change them out for Fall. I should post them!!

  24. Wow, I am impressed Debbie. I love them. I have just been thinking about making pillows and now you are showing what a great job you have done on yours. Congrats, well done.

  25. You are seriously a creative woman!! I love to always to see what your new creation is.

  26. Debbie love that pillow and what a great idea to use script!! I would probably ruin 1/2 dozen pieces of fabric before I got it all written down correctly - that and my hand writing!

    Congratulations on your pretty win too!! Another awesome pillow!

    bee blessed

  27. Another wonderful addition! You never cease to amaze, Debbie. Thanks for the tutorial. I've tried to move in the direction of envelope pillows tops with my needlepoint for the very same reason. Where does one store all these pillows?
    Love this latest one! ~ Sarah

  28. Love it :) Not sure my writing would turn out that good though :( Great tip about cutting burlap - thanks!

  29. Hi Debbie,

    I love your latest pillow. Very cute idea!


  30. I love this pillow!!!
    Thanks for linking up.

  31. Hello Debbie!

    C'est magnifique - I really love that pillow! Maybe that's something that I could try too. I could imagine choosing "L'albatros". Thanks for sharing!

  32. Just stopping by to say Hi..May you have the best week ever my friend..Hugs and smiles Gloria

  33. bravo! this is sooooo lovely.

    come visit me anytime at



  34. I love your pillows. They are just like art work!
    I would love if you stopped by to link up to my party!
    I would love to have you there!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  35. Just hand you some fabric and you take off!! Love what you did with the script pillow. I really need to try some of your fabric transfer/writing techniques soon.

  36. Oh wow! You are good!
    I would love if you link this Monday to the French party! My readers would love it!


  37. Is this in "Parisian" French like I learned in school? Or is it Canadian French, which can be a totally different language? I learned that lesson the hard way early in my marriage when my French Canadian MIL told me I just swore! How could I find her French lyrics if these are not?

  38. I too have had to turn to pillow sleeves and pillow covers. Too many pillows in my cabinets and shelves. I've had plans to do a scripted pillow slip. Thanks for the tutorial!

  39. I love this pillow. I have made some with my favorite french love poems. What a great tutorial. I am going to start making the pillow covers as you showed...what a great idea.

    I am having a great CeCe Caldwell Paint Giveaway if you would like to stop by. Thanks so much, Leslie

  40. Debbie, I always love your creations! This is so wonderful, thanks for linking up to the party!!

  41. Thanks for posting the gorgeous photo of the pillow cover. It looks fabulous on your wrought iron! Very sweet of you and so appreciated.

  42. I'm sure I commented on your gorgeous pillow cover before but what the heck. This comment is a bit after the fact but I still love that pillow cover. If I could have half your talent I'd be so grateful but don't think that's gonna happen any time soon. Besides the fact I'm extremely digitally challenged so I know I'm just not up to it, too impatient. Love, love your blog. Been following your blog for little over a year now and am always amazed at what you come up with, awesome, you get better and better.
    I too make pillow covers all the time, as I seem to get tired of what I have or see something I hope to partially be able to emulate. I keep all my pillow covers in a special little wicker trunk so I'll always know where to find them when I get the itch for a change. I buy pillows at thrift stores, give them a good wash, then sew away and what ever else is needed to create a pillow cover. I've used napkins, fabric, burlap, place mats, drop cloths, old clothes, old curtains. Sometimes I run out of pillows to cover, love the variety this way allows me to change covers when the urge hits me. Of course we won't talk about what a mess my sewing room is in perpetually.
    I can't say it enough how I admire your talent and enjoy seeing what you make from day to day. Your Valentine selection is incredible.


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie