Thursday, June 6, 2013

Red & Black Day 5: DIY Pillow Cover


For Day 5 of Red & Black Week, a tutorial on making an "envelope" style pillow cover.

A pillow cover is an excellent first project for the sewing novice. It also provides some of the best ROI (Return on Investment) of any sewing project. Invest a very small amount of fabric and time, and you get a return that can be practically miraculous.

Don't believe you can work miracles with a sewing machine? Let's look at an example. Behold the pillows that came with my sofa:
My eyes! My eyes!

YIKES! I didn't even want the things in my house, much less on display. :P But disguise them inside some simple pillow covers... and wow! Miraculous!

Ready to perform  your own miracle? Here we go!

Begin by determining what size your fabric pieces should be. You will be cutting one piece for the front and two pieces for the back.
Front: about 1-2" larger than the pillow width and 1-2" larger than the pillow length
Back: about 1-2" larger than the pillow width and about 2-3" larger than HALF the pillow length

Did I lose you there? We'll use a 16" x 16" pillow as an example. The fabric should measure as follows:
Front: 17" x 17"
Back: 17" x 11" (Half the pillow length is 8" and 8" + 3" = 11".)

You can measure directly on your fabric if you like. I prefer to make a paper pattern, which is super easy with graph paper.
left pattern piece will be cut on the fold to create the 17" x 17" front

 Cut your fabric. Hem one long end of each back piece.

Place your front piece right side up. In this project, I used a red cotton with a black spooky overlay. (Basting them together is optional.)

Place one back piece on top of the front, right side down, with the hemmed end toward the inside. Line up the top, bottom, and side raw edges.

Place the other back piece in the same manner, lining it up with the other side of the front piece. The hemmed edges of the back pieces should overlap about 3". Pin.

Stitch around all four sides. You can use a regular sewing machine or a serger (overlock machine).

Turn right side out. Sewing is complete!

Insert pillow through the "envelope" opening in the back.

Done! Stand back and admire your miracle. :)


18 comments:

  1. That. Is really beautiful fabric.

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    1. Thanks. I think it works really well over the red. :)

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  2. My eyes, too! My least favourite colours ever - brown, orange and beige. Why do the sofa makers of the world seem to think everyone likes these colours? :P

    That new fabric almost looks as though it's velvet - is it? And might one inquire as to where she could find this fabric? Not that she's going to buy any, but at least she could bookmark the site in case it's available in another 7 or 8 months. Haha.

    The finished result truly is miraculous, Bane. Nicely done. :o)

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    1. Good question! Some of the most hideous fabrics I have ever seen were on sofa pillows.

      It is velvet. I bought it about four years ago at either Hancock Fabrics or Jo-Ann. It doesn't appear to be on either website at the moment. I don't know if they'll bring it back around Halloween or not.

      Thank you!

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  3. Those are perfect! I hope we get to see what they look like with your decor. :)

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    1. Weeeeell... my decor is actually black, grey and purple. I made the red cover specifically for the Red & Black Week tutorial. :)

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  4. lol! SUCH an improvement!! And awww, you made that just for this theme? I love it! The print is very intriguing. At first glimpse it just looks like an angular damask, then the cool dark details come out!

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    1. I love red and black, but my overwhelming purple obsession trumps all and there isn't much red in my house. So in order to have a project for all six days, I had to make a couple from scratch. It's been a fun change working with red.

      The black fabric is a little like a hidden pictures game. It looks like damask and then... Wait, that's a skull! Hey, that's a spider. :)

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  5. That fabric is really great!
    In fact all the fabrics you've been showcasing in your tuts have been really cute and awesome =D

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    1. Thanks! Most of them come from Jo-Ann, usually from the quilting or Halloween section.

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  6. Great tutorial! :D And what a beautiful fabric; I wish I could find something like that. Unfortunately we have a very limited supply of fabric stores where I live and most of them are extremely expensive.

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    1. Thank you! Some of the fabrics here, especially the nice quilting cottons, can be pretty pricey. What saves me is that the fabric/craft store near me always has 40% off coupons on their website. I always use one of those coupons when I buy fabric, or wait until it's on sale half price. Otherwise, my fabric stash would be much smaller!

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  7. That pillow really looked horrible :D But the cover you made is just amazing. Such a great fabric and in my favourite color combination too. I wish I could get some nice fabrics where I live, but the only chance I see is to order it online :D

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    1. Horrible indeed! (I promise my sofa isn't that ugly! ;) It's just a solid plum color.) The black fabric has been in my stash for ages. Now that I see how good it looks on red, I can't believe I waited so long to use it.

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  8. Great post, I think even I can handle the sewing for this project!

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    1. Thanks! It doesn't get much easier than this one. :)

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