I hate spending money on throw pillows. I find they are often expensive and made out of crapy synthetic fabric. Since I am too cheap to buy new pillows, but wanted something new for our bright and cheery living room, I figured I would make something myself.
On Sunday night I had a look in my scrap fabric and came up with this hand stitched gem. This is a great little project that doesn’t take much time. Hurrah for instant gratification!! I was able to complete this project over the course of 2 evenings.
For one 16-inch square pillow case you will need:
- 1 yard of striped fabric
- 1 yard of contrasting solid fabric
- sewing machine and thread
- embroidery thread
- embroidery needle
- embroidery hoop (optional)
Cutting the Fabric (For a 16″ square pillow)
- 1 square piece of striped fabric (17 inches by 17 inches)
- 2 rectangular pieces of contrasting fabric (10.5 inches by 17 inches)
Changing the dimensions of this project to fit your pillow
Your square piece of fabric will form the front of your pillow case. It should be the size of your pillow form plus 1″ square. For example, if your pillow is pillow is 14″ square, your square piece of fabric should be 15″ square.
The back of the pillow is formed by two rectangular pieces of fabric. The longer edges of these rectangles are the same length as your square piece (15″). The shorter edges are half the length of your square piece plus 2.5″. So, if your square piece is 15″ square, half of that is 7.5″. Add 2.5″ and you have 10″. So your two rectangles should be 10″ x 15″ each.
There are tons of different stitches you could use to embellish your cushion. I went with a simple running stitch (see photo below). I didn’t use a hoop to complete my embroidery but would recommend it if you choose a more complicated pattern. For details on the various embroidery stitches check out Wild Olive.
The more I sew, the more I realize that successful sewing it is all about the preparation. First off, iron your fabric and make sure all the wrinkles are gone. Prepare to hem the two rectangles that will form the back opening of your pillow case by ironing a 1/2 inch seam allowance along one long edge of each rectangle.
Sew down the 1/2 inch seam allowance you just pressed. It is difficult to see in the photo below but you will notice the faint white lines along one edge of each piece of fabric where I hemmed the fabric.
Place your embroidered square piece of fabric on the floor, right side up. Next take one of the smaller rectangular pieces and align it with the top of the large square piece of fabric, right side of the fabric facing down. Note that the hemmed edge of the rectangle should create a horizontal line through the middle of your pillow.
Take the second piece of rectangular fabric and repeat the same process, this time alining the fabric with the bottom corners of the large square piece of fabric. Please note that the second rectangle will overlap the bottom rectangle (hemmed edge towards the centre of the pillow).
Pin the pillow cover together in preparation for sewing. I only pinned down 2 sides. Insert the pins so they form a perpendicular line with the hemmed edges of the two rectangular pieces of fabric. Below, you can see what the other side of the pillow case looks like. Before you sew, double check that you pinned the right sides of the pillow case facing inwards and the wrong sides facing out.
Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, sew a square to finish off your pillow case. Make sure to remove the pins as you go. Next, iron the seams of your pillow open and turn the thing inside out (technically it is turning the thing right side out). Iron your pillow again. Sometimes it feels like sewing should really be called ironing.
Stuff you pillow in the back opening of the pillow case and you are finished! There you have it! A simple sewing project that you can complete in a couple hours. I’m in love with this pillow! Doesn’t it look like something you would pay $$$ for at Anthro?