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Pillows with Punch

Adding colorful accents transforms ordinary store-bought pillows into distinctive focal points. Try any of these four embellishments, which require nothing more than readily available supplies and basic sewing skills.

Photography: Aaron Dyer

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2014



Solid silk hand-loomed pillow covers, in Slate, Platinum, Stone White, and Blue Teal, $44 each,
Square pillow insert, 20", in Down, $16,
Flat tubing braid, 1/2", in Neon Pink/Black, $4 a yd.,
Unique Stitch glue, by Dritz, $4,
Metal chain, 10 mm, in Gold (#36951), $5.75 a yd.,
Button, in White/Gold (#41338001), $12,
Decorator needles, $5 for 3,
Rayon-cotton tassel fringe, 2", $4 a yd.,
Bry-Pins stitch markers, 2", $3 for 20,
Yarn tassels, in Citron, $15 each,


  • Bright cording

  • Washable fabric glue

  • Chain

  • Safety pins

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Thread

  • Decorator's needle

  • Shank button

  • Tassels


  1. Stripes: Wrap bright cording around pillow and pin in place, then trim. Working in small sections, and unpinning as you go, apply washable fabric glue, such as Unique Stitch, to back of each stripe of cord. Let dry.

  2. Chain Trim: Pin chain around perimeter of pillow, securing in place with safety pins along seam. Remove excess chain with needle-nose pliers. Using a whipstitch, sew thread through pillow and then through each link.

  3. Oversize Double Tassel: Use a decorator’s needle and a double length of thread to secure a shank button in pillow’s center on each side. Pass needle through insert and into second button to create a dimple. Tie tassels around one button’s shank.

  4. Mini Tassels: Instead of using individual tassels, cut them off yardage of inexpensive fringe. Remove insert and pin mini tassels to pillow cover in rows. Turn inside out; sew each tassel from the back side.

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