Sew Throw Pillows and Envelope Covers
Ever Noticed Throw Pillow Prices?
Basic sewing skills let you stitch up first-rate throw pillows and/or throw pillow covers to comfy up your personal space. Pillows and covers can be designed to use as special gifts throughout the year. Take a look at these examples and methods. See how easy they are to make without breaking your budget.
Some can be made without sewing. Easily sewn projects shown here, though, involve designs created for particular people. Incorporating fun use of color, basic machine embroidery like top-stitching combined with other simple stitches, patchwork styles, and more, all meant happy work with yummy fabrics.
Aren’t Fabrics Expensive?
They can be, but knowing they do not have to be changes the picture. Out-of-the-box options for obtaining fabric to use in sewing projects may be incredulous to a beginner or open new doors for an experienced do-it-yourself decorator.
Yippy-yay for sales! Find stores in your area with the best ones, especially clearance sales. Doing this leg work at the end of a season (the new year after Christmas, for instance) can set you up with super sales. Clearance fabrics can even be found online.
It may come as a real surprise to find out how much fabric you actually have at home. That shirt or skirt starting to show a little wear along the collar or hemline can be used in amazing ways. Maybe for a pillow form, or a part of a cover's fabric medley.
That sadly outgrown pair of jeans? Well, you’ve probably seen a few projects for using them, but no one has seen what you will design when your creative juices start flowing. Have unused tablecloths, even napkins and placemats? Pretty top sheets whose fitted mates have worn a little thin? Fabric is not too hard to find.
Another idea is to connect with upholstery shops or fabric manufacturers. These businesses are often glad someone will take left overs off their hands. It keeps them from disposing of them in landfills. Samples they cannot use are usually quite useful and high quality.
Don’t forget thrift and consignment stores, even yard sales. A vintage find can be worth a little celebration. These sources occasionally have clothing or other items made from classic fabrics. Consider possibilities!
Where ever you shop take time to take a second look at things you would ordinarily just smile at while passing by. Do a little fabric shopping when you travel, especially in unusual places. A clearance skirt in a little out of the way shop may be just what you need to make a comfy pillow.
See Finished Examples!
The following projects are samples of basic throw pillow/cover designs. The pleasure of thinking of each person the gifts were for was a lovely part of creating them, and it was an opportunity to pray for them as I worked.
Four Multi-Season PillowsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Three Vintage Fabric Christmas PillowsClick thumbnail to view full-size
How Experienced are You?
Are you new to pillow making?
Two Envelope Covers for Storing Needlepoint Style PillowsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Guest Bedroom Pillows and Envelope CoversClick thumbnail to view full-size
Ready to Create? Pillows First!
Okay! Below you’ll read of how the above were created and find videos to help you see the methods before deciding which you want to use. Let’s go!
The first four were created without removable covers. They look involved but are quite simple to make. Designed as Christmas decor gifts using fabrics that could be used throughout the year, two had tiny jingle bells sewn on which could be snipped off jiffy-quick once the holidays were over. Traditional pillow construction was used after tops were planned out.
Assessing which fabrics I wanted to use from my stash I made sure there was enough to make each pillow approximately 12” x 12”. The pillow backs all have the same heavy cotton fabric cut at 13” square. The tops came from leftover upholstery samples. Piecing each one together as shown in the photos to make 13” squares, I had four matching backs and four different tops.
After pinning right sides together I stitched a 1/4” seam around the sides according to the diagram below, securing the stops and starts by sewing backwards a few stitches (back tacking). After clipping the corners to take out some bulk (not too closely) I used a zig-zag stitch to finish the edges of some of the pillows pictured above, depending on the weave of the fabric used.
After turning the sewn pillow shells right side out through their openings, making sure the corners were neatly turned by gently pushing them out with the tool provided in the Poly-fil bag, it was time to stuff them. At this point the pillow openings were sewn shut by machine, but they can be sewn shut by hand using a blind stitch.
Making a Pillow Shell for Stuffing with Polyfill
Creating Envelope Covers
There are lots of reasons to love envelope covers! They
• keep the pillows cleaner.
• are easy to remove and wash frequently if need be.
• are interchangeable for seasons, holidays, parties, and whims.
• are simple to make (but be warned, after a little practice it is tempting to go wild making a stash of them).
Let's look at the basic method first. Plan an envelope cover to fit loosely. This includes generously planning the back overlap. Keeping these tips in mind makes using an envelope cover easier. Struggling with one that is too tight is time consuming and frustrating, besides not good for the pillow, the cover, or your hands.
Measure the pillow the cover is for, adding at least 1/2" to each side. Cut 1 top. If the pillow is 16" square then the top should be 17" square. Then cut 2 backs 17" square. I mention these separately because you may want the backs to be a different color or print than the fronts. If they are alike they can be cut together.
Keeping the direction of fabric print in mind, next hem one side of two of the back pieces. Press one edge over once about 1", then again about the same amount. Easy peasy! Then use a simple straight stitch to sew the hem. Slick and quick! You may wish to add an extra seam across the folded edge if you will be washing the cover often.
Again, keeping fabric print/weave in mind, lay the back side of the cover on the table (front side up) and match one of backing to it, right sides together, placing hem across the central area. Next lay down the other side of the backing in the same manner, matching its raw edges to the front's remaining exposed edges, right sides together, overlapping the hemmed sides. Pin outside edges. If this is confusing watch video below.
The envelope cover is ready to sew. At 1/4" from edge begin stitching by back tacking about 3" from one corner, sew to corner, turn, and repeat until the seam winds up where it began. Back tack a few stitches on top of the beginning of this seam. Clip the corners (not too close). Adding a zig-zag stitch at this time is an option if you do not use a serger. Turn the cover right side out by sliding your hand into the hemmed opening and pulling corners out first. You may use a rounded tool to gently push corners out.