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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tutorial: easy-sew envelope pillow covers.

Hi friends!
I hope you're having a wonderful Spring so far.

I'm still working my way through my Spring Spruce Up...just some small changes in our home, little refreshers here and there.

I showed you my easy-sew pillow covers that I made from World Market's wonderful Tatiana curtain panel:
[easy sew pillow covers - from World Market's Tatiana curtain].
Beautiful fabric, right? I'm so pleased with these and they couldn't have been easier to make.  I actually got 4 covers from the smallest size curtain panel...what a steal!

Now believe me when I say that I can barely use the sewing machine my lovely mother so generously gave me [she claimed it was an extra machine, can you imagine?]

So I can hem stuff and I sew a mean square. That's the extent of my mad skill set.

Fortunately that's really all we're doing with these easy-sew pillow covers. Hurray, that's right in my wheelhouse!

Step 1: find an old pillow or buy an inexpensive pillow form at a fabric store like Joann.  Done! I had a couple of blue chenille pillows that had definitely seen better days:
[old blue chenille pillow].
[It looks better already with the Tatiana curtain just draped over it don't you think?]

Step 2, measure pillow or old cover: if the pillow already has a removable cover, cool, just take off the cover, lay it flat and measure it. If not, you'll want to measure the pillow itself. Typically throw pillows are either 16"x16", 17"x17", or 18"x18".  Mine were 18"x18" so this tutorial is based on that size.

Step 3, measure and cut fabric: you're basically going to cut a big rectangle out of your fabric, with the short edge of the rectangle being 1" wider than your pillow, and the long edge of the rectangle being double the length of your pillow plus 7".  So for my 18"x18" pillow, I'll cut my fabric into a 19"x43" rectangle:
19" equals the width of the 18" pillow plus 1 inch for hem allowance
43" equals double the length of the 18" pillow, plus 7"   ((18x2)+7)=43
[measurements for an 18"x18" pillow].
What?! I hear you did you get that from an 18"x18" inch pillow? Ok friends hang in with me here, I promise it actually makes's all to do with the hemming allowance and envelope closure overlap.

 Step 4, hem the 2 short sides:
  • place the fabric pattern-side down on your table
  • fold one of the short sides in 1/2" and pin, run it through the sewing machine
  • if needed*, fold the other short side in 1/2" and pin, run the other short side through the sewing machine
*the beauty of using a curtain is that it can be cut so that one of short sides is the top of the curtain, thus one of the short sides will already have a pretty finished edge.
[fold short side and pin].
Now your rectangle should be 42" long: assuming you folded each of the short edges over 1/2", it's now 1" total shorter than your original 43" length.

Ahhhh...starting to make sense now?

Step 5, sewing the 2 long sides:
  • place your rectangle on the table with the pattern facing up
  • fold one short side in toward the middle
  • fold the other short side in toward the middle, overlapping it 6" over the other piece to create the envelope [see image below; I've folded up a little corner so you can see how much the overlap is; you'll flip this corner back down before sewing]
  • measure your folded fabric along each of the 2 long open sides, it should be 18" at this point. if it's bigger, overlap the fabric edges more toward the middle. if it's smaller, ease off a bit on the overlap
  • pin the layers together along the open sides
  • sew each open side shut, about 1/2" in from the edge. you're basically closing in the square at this point
[sewing the long sides together, with overlap].
[sewing that bad boy shut].
Step 6, turn right side out and stuff:
  • turn your beautiful new pillow cover right side out
  • stuff your old pillow inside
  • admire!

Thanks as always for reading friends...I'm off to sew some more pillow covers!
Please let me know in the Comments below if you have any questions and I'll try my best to help you.

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