Hi! I’m still here. I’ve been working on the guest room and a small kitchen project that I’m excited to share next week. Today I want to show you a really easy, quick decor DIY that I use all over my house. You know how you go to Marshall’s or Target and you wander into the pillow aisle and all the colors suck you in and you end up spending $25 on a pillow? Don’t do that! I’m going to show you how to make your own pillow covers. Don’t be scared, it’s seriously the easiest sewing project ever.
I used to be super intimidated by sewing machines. I had never even touched one until about 5 years ago and though I’m still a bit of a novice, I can hem curtains, clothing, make pillows and other DIY projects around the house, so I think I’m doing alright. I have a post planned for next week with very basic introductory sewing machine instructions and fundamentals, so if it makes you nervous like it used to make me, get ready to get over that fear. Just wait til you see how easy it is!
Before we start, here’s how I sew: in the office, with the window to the back room open, Gracie on the couch whining at me that she needs my lap to sleep on. Spoiled much? Not pictured but certainly necessary: Netflix.
- iron (yes, iron! can’t skip this!)
- fabric scissors
- pillow form (I used 18×18)
- sewing machine + thread
First comes fabric. I usually shop online – my two go-tos are www.joann.com and www.fabric.com, because they have good selection and affordable pricing. The fabric I’m using for this project is here, from fabric.com; I ordered a yard and half to make sure I had enough, but I definitely didn’t use even close to that, which is fine because now I have it leftover for future projects. I also like to match my thread to whatever color fabric I’m using. I have my great grandma’s collection of thread in a billion different colors, and I use her cloth tape measure whenever I sew. I love that my grandma held on to her things and they ended up passed down to me. Tugs at my heart strings a little when I pull out her old things to create something new.
To stuff the pillow covers, I used these pillow inserts, found on Amazon. They come in a 4-pack and work out to $7/pillow. I think Ikea has good forms too and you can find standard ones at most craft stores like Joann’s, probably for even cheaper. But these are nice and full and came right to my door in a day and half, thanks to Amazon Prime.
To start, you need to cut your pieces of fabric. We’re going to use one full piece to cover the entire front of the pillow, then two smaller pieces that will overlap to create the back of the pillow. You want to cut your fabric about an inch bigger than your form, to make enough room for a 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side. My form is 18 inches x 18 inches, so I cut one piece of fabric 19×19 for the front of the cover. For the back, you want the two pieces to overlap so you don’t see the pillow peeking through, so you want to go a little more than half the height of the pillow. Since my pillow is 18 inches high, I cut two pieces for the back, each 19×12. Half of 18 is 9, so I added three inches to allow it to overlap, and to allow enough room to sew the seams. Confused? Too many words, not enough visual aids. Here you go 🙂
Next, you want to create hems on your back panels. You do this by laying your small piece flat, and taking one long edge and folding it a 1/2 inch over, then ironing it flat. Then you fold it over another 1/2 inch, and iron flat again. You could do 1/4 inch both times – it’s flexible based on the size of your pillows and as long as you leave enough fabric to overlap.
Next, you’ll lay your pieces out and pin them to begin to assemble the pillowcase. You want all your “right sides” touching, because you’re going to turn the whole thing inside out when you’re done sewing, so the seams are hidden. To do this, lay the big flat panel down then lay one small panel (back side of the hem up) on top of it, toward the top. Lay the other small panel on top of that, toward the bottom, so that the edges you hemmed overlap each other. It should look like this once it’s pinned.
When you’re done with the final edge, you’re done! Turn the pillowcase right side out and fix all the corners, then stuff it with your pillow form. How easy was that! It may take you a few attempts to get the hang of it (it did for me) and you’ll figure out how to get seam allowances right so you end up with a tight pillowcase vs. a baggy pillowcase. Remember, if you don’t like how it ends up, use a seam ripper and start over! Nothing is permanent.
I made two pillowcases for the bed in our guest room.