Craft Night: DIY Throw Pillows/Covers

*walks into Home Decor Addicts Anonymous*
"Hi, my name is Alexis..."
"Hiiiiii, Alexxxxxisssss."
"...and I'm addicted to pillows & holding onto fabric that I've never cut into."

It all started back when I worked at Hancock Fabrics (RIP, you sweet selection of affordable upholstery fabric & cheap remnants) about 5 years ago. I'd find a fabric I liked, stalk it until it went on sale, and then use my employee discount to get a yard (or more) of it. It'd go into the "future projects" storage bin, and sit there to die the slow and painful death of being entirely forgotten.
But no more! Now is the time for it to come out of hiding, get chopped up, stitched back together, and made into something with a job other than sitting in a box.

If you have a sewing machine, this project is going to be super quick & easy. If not, it may take you longer, but should still be relatively simple.

**Note: I made my white pillow covers with zippers so that they could easily be removed and washed (white pillows in a house full of pets deemed that definitely necessary), but for the blue shibori style pillows, I stuffed & stitched closed.
If you have never sewn before, I don't recommend playing the zipper game, and suggest that you either make a stuffed & fully closed pillow, or use a different closure option, such as self adhesive/iron-on Velcro. Sewing zippers is not for the faint of heart at the beginning. I've been sewing for a decade and I still can't stand doing it.

What I used:
  • Singer Confidence sewing machine
  • Gutterman cotton thread, black
  • Foam board cut to 24"x24"
    I'm making Euro covers for my 26"x26" pillows. Make sure to make your template/cut your fabric two inches smaller than your insert on both measurements so that your pillows always look full and fluffy, instead of limp & floppy.
    Ex: Standard throw pillow inserts are usually 18" by 18," so you'd want your template/fabric cut to 16"x16"
  • Rotary blade & cutting mat
  • Sewing pins
  • Target fabric shower curtain
    This is my fabric... it's a good cheap way to get a fabric you like if you don't have a good selection at your local craft or fabric store. Or maybe you're just obsessed with the look of mudcloth but don't have the money to pay for it, like me ;)
  • Black pom-pom trim (optional)
  • Black "invisible" zipper (optional- I will not include the steps on how to sew a zipper, but this is a great YouTube tutorial)
    These are great for throw pillows because you really don't see them like you do with traditional zippers. They're also used on dresses, so you can only see the zipper pull, if you need a better idea of what I'm talking about.
What to do:
**Note: Steps 3 & 4 are interchangeable when it comes to adding the zipper. I personally find it easier to add your zipper before sewing the remainder of the pillow together, but for the majority of you that are probably not adding a zipper, it was easier to write the instructions in the order I have below. 
  1. Using your cutting mat, template, and rotary blade, cut the shower curtain/fabric to size. I needed four pieces for two covers; luckily the shower curtain was thin enough that I could cut through two layers of folded fabric at once, so I only had to do this twice, costing a whopping minute of my life.
    If you're skipping the template & just using normal fabric shears and fabric chalk as a guide, it'll give you the same result, it'll just take you a bit longer. 
  2. Pin right sides together (aka lay the pieces together so that they look inside out). If you are using any trim, now is the time to pin that between the layers, poms facing in (you shouldn't see them sticking out of the edges at all). 
  3. Sew three sides together.* Use a zig-zag stitch along the edges to help prevent future fraying, and a straight stitch about a 1/4" in from the edge.
    *If you are not adding a zipper & plan to fill & fully close your pillow, sew three full sides, plus about half of your fourth side. If you leave a gap in the center of your fourth side, it'll be a lot easier to hide the closing stitch later on.
  4. Add zipper.* This kind of sucked with the pom-pom trim competing for space & trying to get caught in the dog feed of the machine, but it was so worth it. Plus, now I can remove these guys & throw them in the wash with the rest of our bedding. As long as you have your zipper, trim, and fabric all in line, you'll be all good. 

    *If you are not adding a zipper turn your pillow cover inside out using the gap you left in your stitching. Stuff your pillow with an insert or Polyfil, and turn your raw edges in/pin the hole closed. Sew the hole closed with a straight stitch (yes, there will be stitching you can see, but it shouldn't be too noticeable).
  5. Voila! You're done :) 

In another post, we will soon be showing how to make a pillow cover that does not require a zipper, but is still removable. I'm just still trying to decide what fabric to use ;)

As always, we'd love to see your projects! Feel free to send pictures over to our email address, or comment on social media! 


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