Thursday, October 14, 2010

DIY - Pillow Covers

A few weeks ago, I had a friend from church ask if I could sew a pillow cover for her.  Somewhere, somehow she had been fed some faulty intelligence ... something about me being "an excellent seamstress".  Ha, ha!  Double ha!  I'm just a good faker! :)  Thanks for the compliment, though.

Anyway, I thought I would do a little step-by-step pillow cover demonstration for this post.  Then you'll see that you can be an excellent seamstress, too ... or an equally adept faker.  The pillow I made was about 12 inches square and the cover is removable via a flap in the back.  Here's the scoop!

First, clear the dining room table. :)  You'll want a little bit of room for the sewing machine, but also some space to lay out the fabric.  The fabric I was working with was a heavier, upholstery fabric which required a heavier thread, but you can use any fabric you like.  You will want enough fabric to wrap around the pillow with a little left over for the seams.  See how super technical I am? :)  As you can see from the following picture, I left about a half inch at the top and bottom of the pillow and the fabric on the left and right will fold over and over-lap the back of the pillow.

If you choose fabric with stripes, it's super easy to cut the fabric straight.

Next, I hemmed the two short edges of the fabric.  Using straight pins, I folded the edge over twice (being sure to have the rough edge tucked into the hem) and then stitched it shut.  As you can see from the photo, the hem ended up being about 1/4 of an inch.  If this is your first sewing project, you can make the hem deeper and easier to sew ... just be sure to start with a bit more fabric.

I love my faithful tomato pin holder ... keeps all the pins at my finger-tips!

After I had the two short edges hemmed, it was time to pin the long edges.  First I laid the pillow in the center of the strip of fabric with the "right" side of the material facing the pillow.  (You will sew the pillow cover inside-out so that when you turn it right-side-out later the seams are on the inside.)  Then I wrapped the fabric around the pillow so that the edges over-lapped in the back.  I pulled the fabric snug around the pillow and then put one pin at the top of the pillow holding the three pieces together (two edges and front of pillow cover) and one pin at the bottom in the same way.  Then I carefully pulled the pillow out, leaving those two pins in place.  Before sewing, I put a few more pins along the top and bottom to help hold the fabric in place.

Here I am finding the place for the pins before sewing.

Next, I stitched along the top and bottom of the pillow cover - being sure to catch all three layers of the fabric at the point where they overlap.  I chose to double stitch these two seams to make sure that it was secure.

Finally I turned the pillow cover right-side-out and put the pillow form into the cover.  I found a complimentary button to stitch to the part of the fabric that over-laps ... then it looks like the pillow has a button closure.  See ... told you I was a good faker!


Proof that pillow covers are a cinch!  I have two separate sets of pillows for our living-room futon:  flowers for spring, summer and fall and snowmen for winter.  It's fun and refreshing to have a little something different as the seasons change.  

So ... if you have a room that is needing to be spruced up a bit, pillows and curtains are some of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to make a change.  Happy sewing! :)

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