Pillow Tutorial

Sophia and I hosted a play date recently, but with a twist.  All the moms and kids came to eat & play…and then the mom’s did a bit of sewing. Well, I sewed and showed them how to make an envelope pillow cover. See, most of the group of Mom’s I’ve been hanging with all recently bought sewing machines.  KC obviously has one (but she did ask me to do a pillow tutorial).

So, I showed them how to make an envelope pillow cover. Well, I started to sew, and then Sophia had a little nap meltdown, so I had to excuse myself for a few minutes.  Then Owen needed to eat, and Wyatt was getting tired, and…well, you get the picture.  I finished the example and everyone left to get home for nap time.

I still had many pillows I wanted to redo for autumn (I’m silly like that), so I thought while Sophia was napping, I’d do a proper pillow tutorial and post it on the blog, because really, when kids are running around and you’re trying to do many things at once, do you really remember a quick fly-by pillow tutorial?  I didn’t think so…

So, here it is, with almost step-by-step photo instructions:

First, cut your fabric so that the fabric is a few inches longer in height than the fabric.  To make an envelope style pillow cover, you want to have both sides of the fabric long enough to overlap just a little bit when you include the seams. Always start with the fabric facing you – and sew the pillow inside out – or with right sides facing.

In the picture above, the fabric isn’t inside out.  Here I wanted to see what images would be on the front of the pillow and make sure I like it…

I like to then sew the seams of the “envelopes”.  I fold over 1/4 to 1/2 inch (really, whatever your preference is), steam the fold, and fold again.

Seaming the folds helps to keep them in place while you pin the seam before sewing the seam.

Also, it helps the sewing process if at this point if you happen to have a nice dog laying right at your feet.  Good sewing mojo and all that.

At this point, you might want to add some ribbon to the back so you can tie the ribbon to keep the back (or the “envelope” part from gaping).

Just position your ribbon perpendicular to the seam on one side and sew.  Line up the ribbon on the other opposite side and sew into place.  I like to sew back and forth a little bit to reinforce the seam of the ribbon to the fabric.

Okay, so once both sides of the “envelope” are sewn, then we need to sew the top.

First, lay out the fabric so the envelopes are positions where you want them to be once the pillow is complete.

It’s not a bad idea to have the envelopes overlap a little bit.

Now that you have the envelopes lined up the way you want them, it’s time to steam the sides and then pin the top.  Only the top. Sew this seam.  Again, I like to reinforce the seam where the two envelopes meet.

Now insert your pillow.  You should have one side left to sew. I usually eyeball where I’d like the bottom seam to be.  I like my pillow covers to be snug, rather than a bit loose with extra fabric. Steam and pin then sew this seam.

At this point, I like to insert the pillow and see how I did.  If the fabric is not snug enough, this is your chance to sew another seam to make it more snug.

Hmm, the fabric is a bit loose.Here’s the seam:

Yup, too loose.  Let’s take this seam in a bit closer to the pillow. At this point, once the pillow covers fits just as I want it to, I like to cut off the extra fabric. I just use my trusty rotary cutter, big ruler, and mat.

That’s it!  Pretty simple. With any luck, before you cut your fabric, you positioned what you want to appear on the front, if using a printed fabric.  This is fabric is called “Nest”.

Pretty, isn’t it?  Only a few more pillows to make before…


4 thoughts on “Pillow Tutorial

  1. Trinka

    Very nice! I love the fabric! Can you post a picture of the back too??? I’m assuming the back is open to stuff the pillow into, and then you tie the ribbon tight? Sorry, I know nothing about this stuff :).

  2. Amy

    I love it, and thanks for a refresher on our tutorial! Sorry it was so difficult with all the kids, but at least we’re all in the same boat, and flexible 🙂 The fabric is gorgeous…is that one you ordered, or another great SAS find?

  3. Beautiful fabric and nice tutorial. I agree about the limited fabric choices here in town. I think there is an untapped market in Tucson of individuals who would be thrilled to have a centrally located fabric store with a younger feel to it. Perhaps with some apparel fabrics like the new voiles that are hitting the online stores, Japanese fabrics. Basically, I want a Purl Soho or StoneMountain Daughter, but Tucson style. I don’t want to make quilts (okay, maybe a couple), I want to make clothes for my kid, bags, household things.

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