Why is it that some people love tons of pillows on the bed? My poor husband doesn’t understand why we need shams, two sets of pillows for our heads, and a few throw pillows on the bed. And I just don’t understand why he doesn’t understand it. It seems that most of the women I know like them and that most of the men I know prefer what is functional. My man definitely prefers functional. He may prefer functional, but what he gets are newly covered throw pillows that help to change the look of a bed. Click on “Read More” to see how I made two throw pillow covers in about twenty minutes. Our 2.5 year old daughter even helped and I learned, to my great dismay, that she actually thinks ironing is cool.
I have a confession: there are more pillows on our bed than I showed in the photo. What can I say? I really like the little pillows placed on a neatly made bed, adding fun pops of color and texture. They last all of 30 seconds if our toddler gets up there, but hey – it is a little bit of happy in my day, and I’ll take it. These were inspired by an adorable little dinosaur-covered pillow made by my mother in law. She gifted Elise the prehistoric-pillow-plaything months ago and it inspired me to recover some pillows I’ve had on our bed for years.
Just a note: if you have a fabric that you’re trying to line up, take care in cutting the pieces. I used a 16 inch wide piece of home decorator fabric to cut all three pieces for each pillow, so the stripes lined up just fine. If you’re using a high-cost fabric, you could always just use the fabric in front and a coordinating, cheaper fabric for the back and overlap pieces. I got a yard and a half of this home decor-weight fabric for $7.50 from the clearance section at JoAnn’s. I had 15 inch pillows, so from about a half a yard, I needed the following cuts of fabric for each pillow:
16 inches long x 16 inches wide square for the front piece
11 inches long x 16 inches wide rectangle for the back piece
12 inches long x 16 inches wide rectangle for the overlap piece
To determine what you need, measure your throw pillows and add an inch to all of the ‘wide’ measurements and the front piece’s ‘long’ measurement. To get the overlap and back pieces, keep in mind there needs to be a 6-8 inch overlap (the overlap amount is your preference).
For example using a 12 x 18 pillow form with a 7 inch overlap: the front piece will be 13 x 19 inches. The back piece and overlap will be calculated as follows: 12+7=19. 19/2= 9.5 inches. I would make one 8 inches and the other 9 inches, so the back piece and overlap pieces would be 8 inches long by 19 inches wide and 9 inches long by 19 inches wide.
Other supplies you’ll need are general sewing supplies (sewing machine, pins, coordinating thread) and an iron. A toddler is optional, but makes for a more interesting craft.
I am going to be honest with you – if I’d have known that there was so much ironing in sewing, I’d probably have steered quite clear of it. Ironing is one of those chores that I pay people to do, and I don’t think it is one wasted cent.
That being said, begrudgingly iron your fabric pieces. You can opt to have your toddler look on while you do the opposite of extol the act of ironing. Elise was amazed by how the iron was able to make the fabric smooth. We got to sneak in a nice safety discussion of why never to touch the iron when I got too close to my finger once and the steam let me know it.
Line up the pieces to know where your back piece and overlap piece will, in fact, overlap. I wanted to match the pattern so I made sure everything lined up when I cut it from the fabric. You are looking for the overlapping edges of the back pieces.
Once you find those, iron the edges so that you have a clean, finished edge. To do this, fold over the edge 1/4 of an inch and iron it flat. Do this for the back piece and the overlap piece.
Once both pieces have an ironed, folded edge, fold it over again and iron it. Again. See how much ironing there is?? I mean, it takes all of about 30 seconds, but still…
Now, you have a choice here. You can either sew up the edges or not, but know that if this is a washable (and not dry clean only) fabric, you will definitely want to sew these edges.
You will have three pieces of fabric, all ironed, two with folded-over edges. Again, if you have a washable fabric, your fabric pieces should have sewn up edges in the back.
Now it’s time to build the cover and pin it for sewing. First, lay down your throw pillow front cover, right side facing up. On top of that, line up your overlay piece (the larger of the back pieces) right side down, with the folded-edge facing in. And finally, lay the back piece with the folded edge facing in, right side down.
Pin it loosely and take it to the sewing machine.
Take your bundle to the sewing machine and stitch a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the whole kit-and-kaboodle. Here are some live-action shots of our throw pillows getting sewn with a 2 year old on my lap.
The second photo is to remind you (and I) to reinforce the stitching on the edges of the back and overlap pieces. These should be stronger to stand up to having a pillow inserted and removed.
Once your pillow covers have been sewn, take a pair of sharp scissors and snip the corners close to the stitching. Take care not to snip the stitches. I know, it’s a ‘duh’ kind of reminder but I’ve done it, so I’m including it.
Turn the pillow cover right sides out and use whatever means necessary to poke out the corners. I usually use the rounded edge of a clicker pen (obviously without the ink extended), but I used the closed scissors in this case ‘cuz I was too lazy to get up and get a pen. True story.
Stuff them with your pillows and enjoy your wickedly-simple pillow covers!
Thanks for spending time with us today. Let us know if you make these or if you have a fun way you like to jazz up your decor.
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Hi there, I’m Sarah. I’m a crafty gal and always have at least 14 projects going at once. I am a crafter, designer, and pattern maker and share my creations here and over at the Ruffles and Rain Boots® shop.