Project Over-the-Rainbow Serger-Stitched Pillow

By Stephanie Struckmann

Skill Level: Beginner  

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Get comfortable with threading and stitching on a Baby Lock serger with this fun pillow! Using a variety of colored and decorative threads will give this project a unique look that will pop! Download printable instructions.


  • Rainbow Colors of Madeira® Aerolock thread (2-3 of each color)
  • Rainbow Colors of Madeira® Decora 6 or Cotona 4 Decorative Threads (1 of each)
  • Purple Thick/Decorative Thread (like a jeans thread)
  • Optional: Variegated Blended Color Decorative Threads (Madeira Decora 6 or Cotona 4)
  • 1 Spool of Madeira® Aerofil Polyester Sewing Thread to Match Fabric
  • 1.5 Yards of Home Décor Fabric (for pillow front and back and bias strips for cording)
  • 19” Square Piece of Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
  • 65” of 3mm-5mm Filler Cord (for cording)
  • 16” Pillow Form



  1. Numbered Cut your pillow front as a 19” square (I like to go larger because the cover stitch with decorative threads tends to warp your fabric until we square it off).

    1. Fuse interfacing to the backside of this 19” square. Cut two rectangles at 17” x 12”.

    2. Cut 2” bias strips for your cording (I love this technique)!Sew bias strips together to create about 66” of continuous bias.

  2. Turn your front piece to the back side. Draw your arched curves on the interfacing with a light pencil or fabric marking pen.

    1. You can be uniform with those curves or be more artistic.

    2. I sketched my lines closer together in one corner and spread them as I drew them towards the opposite corner.

    3. Draw as many lines as the amount of solid thread colors that you have.

    4. I drew six lines to start with for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple and left room to fill in stitches.

  3. Set your serger to a Narrow Cover Stitch with your regular serger thread in your right and left needle and your decorative thread in your Chain/Cover looper.

    1. Need help setting your serger up for the Cover Stitch? Check out this tutorial!You will probably need to use a thread cradle to get that thick thread through the looper.

  4. For Decora 6 and Cotona 4 threads, use a practice fabric and start with a 3-4mm stitch length and find what looks best.

    1. Don’t forget to take your first stitch into the fabric every time! Take note that you need to stitch on the backside of your project (where you drew your stitch lines).

    2. You may also need to loosen your looper tension with these thick threads.

  5. Start with red and work your way through each solid color to purple, following the drawn lines on the back/interfaced side of the front piece. Take your time -- set you speed to slow.

    1. If you have trouble getting your fabric out of your machine when you finish a stitch, rotate the handwheel forward once and then backward until the needles are at the highest position.

    2. This will unlock your stitch and release your fabric more easily. However, make sure to pinch your thread ends so the stitch doesn’t pull out of the fabric.

    3. Using the guides on the front of the foot, space and stitch your lines as desired.

    4. For the boldest lines, I stitched two rows of cover stitching next to each other, left a 1/8” gap and stitched another two rows next to each other for dimension and texture.

    5. Press between stitching.

  6. Once you’ve stitched all of your solid lines, fill in stitches as desired. Try using complementary variegated threads in between your solid lines.

    1. You can also change to regular serger thread in your cover/chain looper, taking turns stitching on the back and front to give you more texture.

    2. Fill your pillow with as much or as little color as you desire.

  7. After you’ve completed your pillow front, press and square up your pillow down to a 16.5” square. Taper the corners to eliminate dog-eared pillows!

  8. On to the piping! Set your serger up for a Wide Cover Stitch with regular serger thread in the needles as well as the Chain/Cover looper.

    1. Stitch a cover stitch along your bias strip about ¾” over from the edge, again, stitching on the wrong side so that the serger stitch side will be on top.

  9. Next place your cording foot on your serger and set your serger up for a 4-Thread Overlock stitch.

    1. As you fold your bias cording fabric over the filler cord, make sure that the stitched decorative wide cover stitch wraps to one side (the front) of your cording.

  10. Stitch your piping to your pillow with your sewing machine with the decorative cover stitch pinned facing down on your pillow.

    1. I like to use the Narrow Zipper Foot, but you can also use the Pearl and Piping Foot. You can still use the Overlap-and-Conceal method to join your piping ends!

  11. For the back side of the pillow, hem the width of one edge on each rectangle cut for the back using a sewn rolled hem.

    1. For the sewn rolled hem, press down a ½”, roll it down another ½” to conceal raw edges and then stitch close to the folded hem edge (about a ½” down).

    2. Overlap the two hems 3-4” and then baste the overlapped edges along the sides.

    3. Place a basting stitch through the width where they are overlapped (this will hold them in place better when completing the next step).

  12. Pin the front to the back evenly, pretty sides together, aligning the envelope opening horizontally to where you desire.

    1. The envelope flap that is on top should be facing towards the bottom of the pillow. Cut down excess back fabric to match the size of your front.

    2. Stitch around the entire perimeter right next to your piping. Stitch again if you need to get even closer to your piping.

  13. Remove your basting stitches from the envelope opening, turn right-side out and insert your pillow form! Enjoy!

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