Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easiest Pillow Covers in 30 Minutes (give or take)

I have my own sewing machine!  After using my sister's many times over the last 3 years and my Mom's many many times in the last 12 months, I have my own.  It's not new.  Very far from it.  It was my Grandma's and has actually been in our basement almost 5 months but I just recently learned how to use it.  And I'm very excited about it.  Within the first week I had knocked out 8 of these pillow covers and made two trips to Jo-Anns for fabric (seriously a dangerous store at the moment).  I have all sorts of ideas of how to use my fabric stash and many things I want to make.  I think this machine is going to get a lot of use.  We are still getting to know each other and have had some disagreements but it's very special to have my Grandma's old machine.  She did a lot of sewing on it and while I doubt I'll ever be as good as she was, I'm glad I have the chance to try.

One thing I love about sewing, compared to my other favorite hobby, is that I can multitask while doing it.  I can't read a book and watch a movie at the same time but I can sew and get through some things in my Netflix queue!  I haven't tried to sew yet while Luke is awake and running around the basement (I can't imagine that going well) but enjoy the nap times I can get a few things sewn. 

These pillow covers are super easy to make, even for someone with little sewing experience (me) and who is still fighting with their sewing machine (me).  I have made 17 of them in the last year with plans for more.  I love being able to whip up new covers with just a little fabric and time.  So many more option than buying new throw pillows plus so much less to store!  They are a great project as I try to figure out this machine and get more comfortable with my rather rusty (and limited) sewing skills.  Trust me, if I can make these, you can too (if you have access to a sewing machine, I wouldn't recommend by hand).

Easiest Pillow Covers
To start you'll need a pillow to cover.  Either an existing throw pillow or a pillow form, or a pillow form made yourself (I've done all three).  To figure out your fabric needs measure the width and height of a single side.  You will need:

(Width x 2) + 3"
Height + 1"

I prefer to have the seam down the short side because the smaller opening keeps the pillow more tightly inside the cover. 

Now the best part, picking fabric.  I love going to the fabric store (Jo-Anns for me) and finding just the right thing.  Sometimes I have what I need in my stash because sometimes I browse when I shouldn't and find something I love and just have to bring some home and figure out a use later.  This goes against almost all of my minimalist tendencies but I can't help it. I made three pillow covers this past week with fabric leftover from my stash and I was pretty excited about it.  There is no such thing as too much pretty fabric (Matt will most definitely disagree).  

Bring home your fabric and wash.  For covering books I don't prewash the fabric because I'll never be washing covered books but for anything else I wash because I don't want it shrinking once it's sewn.  You can iron but I never do.  (One of my lifelong goals is to iron as little as possible.)  Then measure.  Measure again.  And cut.  (I am open to any cutting hints!  Right now my methods involve a tape measure, Matt's drywalling t-square, a sharpie, and a lot of frustrations over getting a good right angle.)

Pin up the short ends for a 1/2" seam on either end (please ignore the fact I switched fabric in the middle of this, I was working on a few different ones at once):

Then sew the seam on either end (this was literally the very first thing I sewed with my "new" machine so it's not perfect.  Please look past that):

Fold the ends in (outside of the fabric on the inside) with about a 2" overlap.  I usually pull out the pillow at this point and test the partially sewn cover on it to see how much of an overlap I should have.  Sometimes my cutting and measuring is more accurate than others.  Luckily these have been pretty forgiving so far.

Sew with a 1/2" seam up either side. 

Turn inside out and done! Stuff the pillow and marvel at yourself!  Unless you are an advance sewer but I most definitely am not and still get really exciting with every single one of these that I finish.

I figure these take me about 10 minutes each to cut and 20 minutes to sew but I am getting faster with each one.  As I get more comfortable with my machine I'm sure I'll be able to cut it even more.  And the time doesn't feel long.  I usually turn on Netflix or a DVD and enjoy some (mostly) quiet time while Luke sleeps or is with Dad somewhere.

Source: I Heart Naptime

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