The first thing to do is decide how large you are making the stitched center piece. I used the time honored tradition of putting the buttons in the corners and seeing how it looked with the buttons closer, and then further away, so totally scientific measuring. I think the stitched piece was 3x4 1/4, the buttons were 1 1/8" and I cut the center 6" x 7 3/8". YMMV. Then I cut plain muslin to match. I put right sides together and stitched up all four sides. That's correct, the reindeer was on the inside. To get him out, I cut a rather large slit in the center of the muslin very.carefully. I trimmed the corners then turned it right side out, and had a good poke at the corners to get them to look sharp. Then, using fusible web, I stuck a muslin patch over the slit. (Doesn't matter how it looks, no one will ever see it.)
For the pillow, I did math. With a pen and paper. "The palest ink is better than the best memory."
I bought a 16x16 pillow form. I cut one section 17x17; that is the front. I cut two more pieces 17x13.5. I'll give you the formulae:
We'll call the side lengths of the pillow form a and b so that you can do this with a rectangular pillow.
The front is a + 1 by b+1.
The back--you'll cut two--is a + 1 by b/2 + 5
Just to make this more confusing, I have read some suggestions that if you don't add the 1" seam allowance your pillow will be more plump, and I have found when working with home dec (heavier) fabric, like in Sissy's pillow, I could have cut it exactly to size (16x16). The pillows I have done for my nieces which I sewed with quilting fabric (lightweight cotton) definitely needed the seam allowance; they are plenty plump.
Working with the two back sections, make a double hem. If, like me, you have no idea what that is, simply fold the fabric down 1", press in place--or with heavier fabric, pin--and then fold down 1" again, and press or repin (take out the others, you have to sew this). This is different from folding it down two inches, so don't do that. Sew the hem down as close as you can to the loose edge. You're ready to make the pillow. Pin the two double hemmed pieces (now b/2+ 3) to the square. They will overlap, this is what you are going for*. Stitch half inch seems on four (yes, 4) sides of pillow. You can turn the pillow through the opening!! Isn't this brilliant? No hand sewing!
I bought a kit at Joanns to make the buttons, and that was entirely self explanatory.
I pinned the stitched piece to the pillow putting the pins in the center where no buttons would be stitched. I eyeballed it, but some people might think measuring is a good idea. Then I stitched the piece to the pillow and then stitched the buttons over where I attached it.
*Note: in certain instances, you will want to think about orientation. I think these pillows are supposed to have the overlap facing up (my pillow was upside down when I took the picture, and I wrapped it without looking at the photo first) or to the side (now that I think about it, this may always be the best orientation). In the first pillow I did, I used a directional fabric (the stitched piece was sewn as a patchwork for the front), and the overlap faces down. The pillow hasn't fallen out so it's no biggie, but you may want to do your first pillow with an all-over pattern so you don't have to worry about also figuring out directionality.
And yes, Lee and Michelle, those are the appliqued placemats. Thanks for noticing!
I finished my uncle's ornament, but forgot to take a photo before I wrapped it. You'll have to wait until after Christmas. Now to work on the stockings...