Just a few weeks ago I was the lucky recipient of a hand-me-down sewing machine. It’s beautiful. I love it. I think I’ve told my best friend at least four times since that we are now unstoppable as far as crafts are concerned. I feel like I can tackle any DIY project. Sewing machine in tow we can make curtains! napkins! table cloths! dresses! and pillows! Yay for pillows.
Last summer I bought fabric to recover some blah brown throw pillows in the living room, but being without a sewing machine, the project never really got off the ground. Well, last weekend Mr. Thirdrow was out of town so I set up shop in the living room and went to town. Here’s how I took our throw pillows from blah brown to beautiful. Keep in mind, this isn’t a fancy tutorial and I’m just a beginner, but I believe in you. Give it a try!
You’ll need some pretty fabric. The pillows I was covering were about 18″ square. I used about 1/2 yard of fabric, a 12″ (or appropriate size) invisible zipper, scissors, iron, thread, sewing machine. I found that Jo-Ann‘s fabrics and crafts was a great store for all of my supplies. They were friendly and helpful. They even have an iPhone app with coupons!
I have been in love with this patterned fabric for ages, but thought that it might be a little much for the entire front of my pillow cover. So, I decided to go with stripes on the front and then a solid green square for the reverse side. There was no complicated math involved here. I simply decided how many stripes I wanted, adjusted for the 1/4″ seam on each side, and sliced up the fabric. All you need is the calculator app on your phone for these calculations. Promise.
Once you’ve sewn all of your pieces together, take a few minutes and iron the underside of your pillow square to ensure that all of your seams are nicely flattened in the same direction. This will help it look nicer when it’s stuffed and on your sofa and also makes the next sewing steps a little easier.
When you have your two sides of the pillow cover sewn up and ready to assemble, it’s time to tackle the zipper. Zipper installation is all new to me. I’ve never done one before and it was surprisingly simple – although most of the credit goes to the zipper foot on the sewing machine! I fumbled my way through the first zipper by guessing at each step, but then, after a little googling, found a super helpful video tutorial. You should definitely take the time to watch this before you attempt your first zipper (also the ladies have British accents which makes them even more awesome).
Zipper tutorial Part 1 Zipper tutorial Part 2
Once the zipper is in you’re basically finished! Turn your pillow cover right side out and insert your old pillow or pillow form. That’s it! New pillows for less than $20. I think the new colors really changed our living space. I am a happy girl!
Happy pillow making!