Make a Candlewicked Pillow
To make a candlewicked pillow, you will need
• ½ yard 100% cotton, white muslin for
the top (you can use white for the back
of the pillow as well, or ½ yard of
calico or broadcloth, but the top must
• 1 skein Pearl Cotton #3
• 1 embroidery needle, size 18
• 1 5–6'' embroidery hoop
• 1 Mark-B-Gone® marker (or a dual
• 1 bag of polyester stuffing
1. Using the maple leaf pattern and your
marker, lightly trace the pattern onto a
12½'' x 12½'' square piece of white
muslin (you will need two squares to
make the pillow). Make sure the muslin
is centered over the pattern. You can
adjust the pattern so that it is straight up
and down, diagonal, etc.
2. Place part of your pattern line inside
the embroidery hoop. Smaller hoops are
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easier to keep tight when working with
thicker threads and larger needles.
Don’t be tempted to use a large hoop
that will show more pattern lines!
Larger hoops are best for very fine
3. Thread your needle and knot one end
of your thread. Bring the needle up
from the bottom on your pattern line.
Follow the diagram for making the
Colonial Knot. Each successive knot
should be placed ¼'' from the previous
knot. Continue all the way around your
pattern line, moving your embroidery
hoop as necessary.
4. The middle lines of your maple leaf
will be sewn using a backstitch. When
sewing the leaf lines, make sure you
do not sew the design so that you
create long stretches of thread on the
back side going from one place to
another, because these will show
through on the top! Instead, make a
knot on the back side and start anew
where you need to go.
5. When you have finished your design,
turn it over. Slide your needle through
two to three stitches on the back side
and begin to pull the thread through.
When you have a thumb-sized loop of
your thread left, place the needle
through the loop twice, and then pull
gently to create a knot. Cut your thread.
6. Traditionally, the finished work was
either boiled or had boiling water
poured over it. This was to help “shrink”
the holes formed by the large needle
and help shrink the candle wick too.
This allowed the fabric to “
shrink-wrap” itself around the threads and hold
them tightly in place. If you feel you
need to boil your fabric, boil it for
several minutes, allow the fabric to sit
in boiling water, and turn the heat off.
Lay flat to dry. Iron upside down (with
the knots facing down) on a fluffy
7. To make a simple pillow, place the
fabric you will use for the back of the
fabric face up on a tabletop. Place your
candlewick design facedown over the
previous fabric. Pin in place around all
four sides, making sure the corners
match up well. Sew around three full
sides, leaving a 2–3'' inch opening to
add the stuffing in.
8. Turn your pillow inside out, making
sure all four corners are pushed out. You
can use a large crochet hook to help
open the corners fully. Begin stuffing
the pillow with your polyester filling.
You want enough filling for the pillow
to be very firm, but you also will need
enough “wiggle room” to sew the
opening closed with a needle and
9. When your pillow is stuffed, fold the
two open edges of fabric inside the
pillow and bring both folded edges
together. Pin in place. Using a needle
and thread, use an “overcast” stitch to
close the pillow opening.
10. If your mother, grandmother, or
older sister knows how to sew, she can
help you place “cording” around the
edge of your pillow before you sew the
edges together. This will give a nice
finished look to your pillow.
11. Your pillow is finished!
Candlewicking is quick and easy, and
you can turn anything into a candlewick
design. Just look around you for inspiration for future projects now that you know
how to make the Colonial Knot! Every
American girl should know how to do
candlewicking and sew a Colonial