Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pillow Covers {Tutorial} + Giveaway!

Whew! What a fantastic Christmas! For us, it was simple and sweet and just downright great. I usually dread this time of year for a variety of reasons but this was so nice that I might not cry come next December.

So what about you? Excited for New Years? Did you get any sweet home bar furniture to spruce up the place for your next party? I'm totally digging this pink one:

Any good sewing things? Tell ya what, just incase there was something you wanted but didn't get, I'm giving away a gift certificate to CSN stores so that you can get whatever it is your little heart desires! Just comment at the end of this post and tell me what was the best "thing" you GAVE this year. (Totally doesn't have to be a "thing" - you know what I mean!)
Contest open to US addresses only. Sorry Charlie, CSN rules. I'll announce the winner next year.... January 1st!
And now onto the (crazy easy and mega fast) pillow cover tutorial!
Fabric - can be same, contrasting front and back, whateves
All the normal sewing machine stuff
Pillow form - measure that ahead of time so you know what size to make the cover.
Skill level:
Totally beginner. Way fun and good for instant gratification.
A friend recently asked me to make three linen pillow covers as a Christmas gift to her sister. Oh linen! I love how it looks but it is a tad bit high-maintenance with its wrinkles and wiggly edges. I chose a 100% linen of medium weight.
Since I like a nice soft cushy pillow, I back my pillow covers with batting. I first cut my batting to the exact size of the pillow form (18" x 18" in this case). This is probably the most important step if you are using linen because the batting (I use Warm and White) holds its shape better than the crazy wiggly linen. Perfectly square batting will ensure you will end up with an evenly-shaped pillow cover.
Exhibit A: Batting.
Next - cut the front of the pillow cover the exact same size. (18" x 18")
For the back (envelope closure), cut two panels 18" x 12". (Or if using a different size pillow form, make sure that the panels will overlap by at least 4")
(If you are in a real hurry, use the selvedge edges as the "hemmed" edges and sew around the raw edges when making your cover. So for example, cut the selvedge at 18" in length and put that in the middle - NOT on the outside - when we start stacking all the layers.)
Now we stack.
First - batting.
Next - front - right side up
Finally - panel one raw edges lined up on the left and panel two lined up on the right - right sides down.
Hemmed/Selvedge edges in the middle.
(psst- I have a more in-depth tutorial here with better pictures should you need a little more visual guidance.)
Stacked? Edges all lined up nice and neat? Let's sew, daddio!

You will probably want to pin just to make sure everybody stays in place. I also use a walking foot for this since there are a lot of layers and room for a lot of shifting about.

So you sew about 1/4" all the way around. For linen I did almost 1/2" since it tends to fray. It really doesn't matter - just rock it out. Make sure you catch all the layers all the time. You'll know if you didn't once you turn it right side out. :) --And don't worry, you can totally go back and fix it. No biggie.

Ok, so you have sewn all the way around. No need to leave an opening for turning since that's what the envelope closure will do.

Turn that puppy right side out and you can be done at this point. Totally less than an hour, right?!

Should you choose to dress it up a bit (and also help the pillow to stand up straigher), you can sew a little "faux piping" around the edge.

Just sew all the way around it again, this time on the right side. By using your walking foot and making it as narrow as possible (1/4" is fine), you can have instant piping! (Should you want to do the real deal with piping, check out my previous tutorial.)

Ok, so like an hour and 2 minutes? Easy peezy!

Don't forget to comment for the CSN Giveaway! Happy New Year if I don't check back in this week. You never know...


  1. I gave my MIL a quilt for Christmas that she really loves now---really special to give someone a quilt too btw!!

  2. I gave my son a messenger bag for school that he wanted so bad. I love your sewing tutorials!

  3. I gave our son's one of those arcade-like basketball games. It has two hoops and you compete against one another. It's 8 feet tall and just fits into the basement. They've been played it non-stop today.

  4. Hi, I gave my daughter the Nintendo DSi XL she thought she wasn't going to get. Thanks so much for the giveaway!
    maddiemb (at) comcast (dot) net

  5. Coffee to my brother. It's a useful gift cuz he drinks a lot of it!

    karin56381 (at)

  6. I gave my boys the Tonka Chuck & Friends power playard system and they love it!!

  7. The best 'thing' I gave this year was a blu ray player for my mom which also plays Netflix and Pandora and a whole mess of other fun stuff. She's in heaven!

  8. alright, i know this is corny but the best gifts i gave this year were the homemade ornaments i made with Alex. I really wanted to teach her the spirit of giving (and not just piling up toys) on Christmas. She helped make the ornaments, made cards and packed the gift bags for each of her grandparents and aunts and uncles. It was so neat to see her little face as they opened their gifts.

  9. I think the trunk organizers I gave my husband for his car were probably the most appreciated gift!

  10. I gave my daughter a little desktop CD player, she is so tickled. I don't know if she has turned it off yet!

  11. I gave my sister-in-law a necklace with her kids' first initials on it!

  12. I gave my husband some new cookware and he totally loves it!

    eemoody77 at gmail dot com

  13. I gave all of our friends and family homemade orange spice almonds. Yum!


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