Creating primitives has become very popular with crafters. The simplicity of primitive crafting makes it doable for a wide variety of crafting experience levels. Primitive crafting is not perfect, that is what gives it it’s appeal. This idea for making primitive pillows, uses basic muslin and a variety of scraps and bits that you have accumulated. There are no strict rules for making this primitive pillow. Mistakes and bad stitching are acceptable, and the grungier and older it looks, the better.
Muslin, amount determined by pillow dimensions
Black embroidery floss
Old doilies, lace, ribbon, fabric scraps, buttons, snaps, keys, magnets and string
Small bowl and small dish
Brown acrylic paint
Cinnamon and nutmeg
Determine the size and shape you would like for your primitive pillow, and cut two pieces of muslin using these dimensions. The pillow is filled with stuffing, not a pillow insert. This will allow you to create and make your pillow the size and shape you want and will give it a wonderful bumpy look that is so important in primitive pillows.
Place the two pieces together and pin. Sew a 1/4 inch seam allowance on all edges, leaving a 4 inch opening in the middle of one edge for turning. Clip the corners and turn the pillow case right side out. Fill the pillow with stuffing and hand sew the opening closed using black embroidery floss. The hand stitching does not need to look perfect. A child-like appearance will only enhance the primitive look.
Arrange the items and bits you have chosen to decorate the front of your pillow with. Layer old doilies, lace, ribbon, fabric scraps, buttons, and snaps to give the pillow your personal touch, or dig through your junk drawer and add keys, old magnets, and string. Torn and damaged items work well. Use as many items as you would like, the look and decorative quality of a primitive pillow can be more important than it’s comfort value. Use embroidery floss to stitch the items to the pillow. The stitches should look child-like.
Thread an embroidery needle with 3 strands of black embroidery floss. Use a running stitch to free hand a printed word or message on the front of your pillow. Letters should not be uniform. Hide the knots under items already on the pillow front, or leave them in the open.
Mix a tablespoon of brown acrylic paint and one cup of water to use as a dye, and prepare a small dish of brown acrylic paint by itself. Paint splotches of brown acrylic paint, using a paint brush, on random areas of the pillow front and back. This will look like the pillow has gotten smudged with dirt. Immediately paint the mixed paint and water all over the front and back of the primitive pillow using a sponge brush. This antiques the pillow and makes it grungy. Sprinkle the pillow with cinnamon and nutmeg, and rub it into the fibers. Allow the pillow to dry thoroughly.