Monday, March 12, 2012

DIY Pillow Cover. To Sew or Not To Sew.

Anyone else been hit with a bad case of Spring fever this week? Man, all it takes is one day in the 60s to get me all revved up for summer. Yesterday we spent the day cleaning out and organizing the garage (woohoo for getting it done early in the season!) and getting started on some landscaping. Since we closed on the house in November, we have yet to do anything on the outside of the property (oh wait, we did cut down two pine trees). We have a busy summer ahead of us! Painting, building a deck, weeding, mulching, those sorts of things. We removed all of the scalloped brick edging from the front yard yesterday and I started replacing it with stones from the back yard. We live on old farm land and clearly we have the corner of a hedgerow in our backyard, so we have a large pile of perfect landscaping stones. Free! I filled up the wheelbarrow a couple of times and got to work. We finished about half of it and it already looks so much nicer than that old lady edging. Can't wait to see the finished product after this week!

Today I thought I would show you a quick tutorial on how I make my pillow covers. I have tried a couple different methods, and for me, this one has always been the most simple.

Pillow covers are a fabulous way to spruce up your room and you can use any old pillow as the form.

You can choose to SEW these covers or you can choose to NOT sew and rather use hem tape. As long as you purchase the heavy duty tape, it will last very well. Here is the hem tape I have used (although I choose to sew my covers since I have a machine). Some people use stitch witch (or something along those lines, but it is the same stuff).

This stuff is really super easy to work with. All it involves is ironing it on both sides of the fabric for a few seconds. The directions are right on the back, but it is really very simple. I used it about five years ago on a curtain for my bathroom vanity, and in five years it never once dreamt of falling apart. You can even wash and dry it!  

So, once you have decided whether you are going to sew (it only takes 4 straight lines) or hem tape it, here is what you need:

This was not a well prepared photo, because I didn't need the chalk and I forgot to add in pins and the pillow. Oh and I didn't measure anything. HAHA! What can I say, sometimes I don't have everything all together.

You need fabric (I usually always buy my fabric from They have a HUGE selection of designer fabric, always have coupon codes and also shipping is free over $35 before coupons!), scissors, a measuring tape, pins, a pillow, and either a machine or hem tape.

Let's go peeps!

Step 1) Lay your pillow onto your fabric.

Step 2) Cut your fabric so that it is about 3 inches taller than your pillow and about 1.5 times wider than your pillow. It doesn't have to be exact. You just want it to completely cover your pillow and overlap a bit. I don't like my covers loose at all. You don't want it to look like a pillow case, so make sure you don't make it too large. Plus, your pillow form will inevitably smoosh and compress down a bit, so making it a smidge too tight will be fine in the end.

Step 3) Pin your two vertical edges. I double hem (fold over) mine, but you don't really have to. I am a "quick & dirty" sew-er and I tend to NOT iron my seams and I don't always pin. Frankly, I don't have a lot of time on my hands and I am not looking for these to last forever. This time I did pin, but I didn't iron. Now, if you are using hem tape, you don't need to pin, but obviously you do have to iron.

I don't know why I pinned them vertically and not horizontally. I fixed them for the other side.

Step 4) Sew or hem tape the two edges (sorry, it was evening when I took these).

You can see my stitch line right up next to the left edge.

Step 5) Lay your pillow out on the fabric again with the right side of the fabric UP. Fold one side over the pillow.

Step 6) Fold the other side of the fabric over the pillow, overlapping the two edges.

See how it is overlapped?

Step 7) Put a couple of pins in the overlapped edges so you can remember where you want them to be. I like mine to be overlapped at least 4 inches so that it doesn't gap open when it's done. Make sure the fabric is nice and fitted around the pillow, remember, you don't want it to look baggy. If you don't have pins, you can just pay attention to where you like the overlap.

Step 8) Carefully slide your pillow out and straighten the fabric a bit.

Step 9) Sew your two open edges now about an inch in or so. Hem tape if you aren't sewing, making sure to not have the tape TOO close to the edge. You need to make sure you use the hem tape on both pieces of fabric, where they overlap, using the tape to stick them together. Also, make sure to let the tape cool a minute or two after you iron it so that it is well set.

Step 10) Remove pins and turn inside out!

VOILA! Now stuff your pillow in and you are DONE!

(the purple pillow I did NOT make, it's a Target find)

Easy, no? All it is is cutting and sewing or taping 4 lines. I would definitely call that simple. It was actually one of my very first sewing projects back when I started. It usually takes me 30 minutes to make two pillow covers. For about $7, this is a GREAT way to add some color to your space and freshen things up a bit. Give it a go yourself!
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  1. I just got a sewing machine and I have not sewn one thing ever in my life. 4 straight lines? I shouldn't screw this bad.


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