TUTORIAL: Cozy Tall Tree Pillow

...three free sewn items, two December tutorials, and a Cozy Pillow with a Tall Trimmed Tree. It's not a partridge but it is one more Christmas gift from me to you: sew a cozy pillow with a Tall Tree Appliqué perfect for the Holiday Season.

Great Christmas pillow/cushion tutorial including tree template -- love the buttons as ornaments! | The Inspired Wren

This soft, squishy pillow has quickly become The Peanut's favorite huggable (when she's not magnetized to me, that is). With knit fabrics and reverse appliqué, it has a casual holiday look and makes a great gift. [It also first appeared on Fleece Fun]. This is the same Tall Tree found on the Christmas Forest Pillow, so they make a great coordinating set with their matching trees and button trimmings. You can make this simple pillow with a basic sewing machine, some scraps of fabric, and those extra white buttons you already have on hand. The only thing I purchased for this project was a star-shaped button for the top of the tree, but even that is optional. 

If you're like me and prefer to print out the tutorials you use, you can download the four-page PDF file here for just $1.99! Otherwise read on for step by step directions including full cutting dimension and a Tall Tree template so there's no guesswork in recreating this huggable pillow/cushion.

  • Knit Fabric (the knit part is optional, but it makes the pillow extra snuggly)*
  • Fiber Fill
  • White Buttons, approximately 12–15 of various sizes
  • Matching and Contrasting Threads
  • Ball Point Needle (for working on knits)
  • Marking Tool, water soluble marker or chalk
  • Optional: Embroidery Floss (for sewing buttons in place)
  • Optional: Star Button

*See Cutting for the amount of materials needed. I was able to use scraps from previous projects. My favorite source for small amounts of fabric is the remnant bin at my local fabric store.

Great Christmas pillow/cushion tutorial including tree template -- love the buttons as ornaments! | The Inspired Wren


The dimensions listed here will create a final Pillow approximately 8″ wide x 14.5″ tall.

Front/Back Panel Fabric: 10.5″ x 16.5″ cut 2
Green Tree Fabric: 6.25″ x 8.5″ cut 1


Prepare the Front Panel

1. Trace the Tree Outline [download] onto the Front Panel fabric; align the asterisk on the vertical center line of the pillow and up 4 ½ – 5 ½″ from the bottom raw edge of the Front Panel (this example uses 4 ½″). You can also free-hand draw your own tree outline in place.

Christmas tree pillow/cushion tutorial | The Inspired Wren
Step 1: Trace the Tall Tree Template in place.

2. Pin the right side of the green Tree fabric to the wrong side of the Front Panel behind the tree outline.

3. Working with the Front Panel up, using thread matching the Front Panel fabric and a short stitch, sew directly on the outline traced in Step 1, catching both layers of fabric; be sure to lift your pressure foot with the needle down and pivot at each angle-point/corner.

4. Switch thread to your contrast color and using a long stitch, sew just outside of your first set of stitching. QUICK TIP: For extra oomph when topstitching with a contrast color, thread your machine as you normally would with TWO spools of the same color (you can use a bobbin for the second spool) and thread both strands through the eye of your one needle.

Christmas tree pillow/cushion tutorial | The Inspired Wren
Step 4: Stitch with contrasting thread -- for extra oomph use two strands of thread   through one needle.

5. Carefully pull the Front Panel fabric and the Tree fabric apart from within the tree shape and snip into the Front fabric only. Cut away the Front fabric inside of the tree shape as close to the first set of stitching as possible. On the reverse, trim the excess green Tree fabric from the outside of the tree shape.

Christmas tree pillow/cushion tutorial | The Inspired Wren
Step 5: Carefully cut away only the top layer from within the shape.

6. Randomly place the Buttons on the Tree, sew them in place with contrast color thread or embroidery floss. Optional: Sew a Star Button in place on top of the tree. QUICK TIP: Once you find an arrangement of buttons you prefer take a quick phone pic and then mark each spot so you’ll know which size button goes on which spot. Also, don’t bother to knot and cut your thread/floss between each button, just keep going from button to button with one strand.

Christmas tree pillow/cushion tutorial | The Inspired Wren
Step 6: Decide on button placement, then mark and photograph so you can stitch them in place.

Assemble the Pillow

7. Pin the Front Panel and Back Panel right sides together.

8. Leaving an opening along the bottom edge for turning and stuffing, sew all sides with a ¼″ seam allowance. QUICK TIP: Place two pins at your stopping point so you don’t accidentally sew your opening closed – sadly, I’ve done that more times than I’d like to mention.

Christmas tree pillow/cushion tutorial | The Inspired Wren
Step 8: Sew the pillow seams leaving an opening for turning and stuffing -- two pins mark the stopping point.

9. OPTIONAL, Box the corners: Pinch one corner so that the stitched seam is centered on the triangle created. Stitch across the triangle, perpendicular to the seam allowance and 5/8" down from the corner point. Do not trim (it’s small enough that there’s no need). Repeat on the remaining three corners.

Christmas tree pillow/cushion tutorial | The Inspired Wren
Step 9: Box the corners 5/8" down from the corner point.

10. Turn the pillow right sides out and stuff with Fiber Fill.

11. Hand stitch the opening closed along the bottom edge.

Christmas tree pillow/cushion tutorial | The Inspired Wren
Step 11: Hand stitch the opening closed.


I first created this appliqué on a knit dress for The Peanut, but she has sadly since outgrown it. I loved the look of the reverse appliqué and the buttons as ornaments so much that I decided to recreate it on a pillow so I could pull it out every year. I’m sure it would also look great on a sweatshirt and with various color buttons instead of all white. Ooh! And I bet a snowy white tree on a pale blue background with royal blue buttons would be beautiful. There is never enough time in the day to sew all the projects we see in our heads, is there?

Great Christmas pillow/cushion tutorial including tree template -- love the buttons as ornaments! | The Inspired Wren

If you sew one of these Tall Trees in any variation I'd love to see it. Come share your projects on The Inspired Wren Share page. There you can link up images of your work from a blog, Flickr, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren.

You should really see all that goes into each project!
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