Sunday, February 12, 2012

Quick Sew Pillow

If you do not sew much, if you do not sew well, if you have never sewn before, you can sew this pillow.  Envelope pillows are my fav-or-ite (you have to sing it in a high voice).  They are:
  • easy to plan
  • easy to sew -- only 2 straight seams
  • easy to clean -- whip them off and throw in the wash
  • easy to change -- slip them off and put that form in another envelope pillow case
You start with your high quality, high priced, precious fabric.  I started with one of Hunky Husband's used drop cloths.  Even if you had to buy a new one from Home Depot, they are pretty cheap -- 5-3/4 ft. x 8-3/4 ft for $10.98.  If you've been shopping for material lately, you know that is a good deal.  I just thought free would be an even better deal. 

I also wanted one that had paint splatters on it. I thought it would add to my design. The problem is, that HH is such a left-brained, good painter, even his paint splotches were in straight lines.  He didn't understand the aged, perfectly imperfect aesthetic I was going for.  He asked at least nine times, "do you want the one with no paint on it?"

yes, my driveway is always covered in pink chalk

Some of you have beautiful sewing/craft rooms.  I went out to the driveway to lay this one out with a drywall t-square.  Whatever, it is a drop cloth after all.
I knew I was going to use the inserts from the couch matchy pillows.  I used their measurement for the finished size + 2 inches (1 inch seam allowance on either side).  The other great thing about using drop cloths is that they are hemmed.  For those of us who sew little or not that well, that is a BO-NUS. 

Just start at the hemmed edge and mark off the width of the pillow you want (finished + 2") , making a long strip.  The strip needs to be the length of  double the finished size of the pillow + 6 inches.  That allows the flaps to over lap without gapping open and showing your pillow form.  You do not need to add in seam allowance on this side, because there are just folds on either end.

If you sew often, you know we are about to talk about right side, wrong side.  If you do not sew often/well, pay very close attention to the hemmed edge. When the strip is laid out flat, the pretty side of the hem should be up. When you fold that flap in, the pretty edge folds in and faces the middle of the fabric.  The ugly side of the hem should be facing you now.

Then fold in the raggedy end so that it overlaps by about 6 inches.   Try to put them sort of equal distance from the edge with about a 6 inch overlap.  Now you know why I do not bake, measuring is always a kinda/sorta proposition for me.  From end to end, this fabric burrito should be the width of your finished pillow.  Now pin the rough edges and take to the sewing machine. 

Use the straight stitch and make sure you seal the edges with a little back stitching at the beginning  and the end.  I also back stich over the part where the hemmed edge meets the new seam.  Pillows (at least at my house) take a lot of abuse.  That whole -stitch in time saves nine thing makes a lot of sense around here.

Because I do not sew often/well, I have to take another step.  My scissors are kitchen shears that I use to cut everything.  So, they don't cut anything very well.  My cut edges often look like I made them with my teeth.  The seam allowance guide on the sewing machine is based on the idea that you will have straight cuts.  I use painters tape (green in this photo) to mark a straight edge on the sitch side to guide by.
do not ask why I am wearing sunglasses
 on my head at night

Then, it really is just two straight lines.  It takes about 20 minutes to lay out the pillow and pin (depending on math ability, pinning ability & amount of "help" from short people).  It takes about 2 minutes to do all the sewing.  Really.

The other good thing about envelope pillows, when you flip them inside-out the corners come out very pointy with no work.  There is no extra fabric inside, just enough to make a crispy, not bulky corner. 

I used a very curvy design that needed to be pinned down before tracing it onto the fabric.  You can read about the design here. You could use iron on, stenciled or free-hand designs here.

Before starting on the pillow, I tested Sharpie fabric marker, Sharpie magnum marker and craft paint to see which one I liked better.  The magnum had the translucent, aged, perfectly imperfect look I was going for.  Once again, Hunky Husband did not get it.  He kept asking if I wanted a "better" marker.

Once it is all colored in, I think it is beautiful.  It did take each of my three girlies asking me 140 times each "Whatcha doin?"  I hate Phineas and Ferb, but I love my girlies. 

pretty good free, 1 hour project

supplies needed for this project: cloth, ampersand design, sharpie marker & red wine

making a pillow, making a pillow, making a pillow, making a pillow, that's what I'm doing

Hope you love this project and do a few of your own to make your home more visit ready.  I promise I'll shut up about pillows for a while. 

just bec

i just want to thank the great ladies who host all our linky land fun.  they bring together ideas and inspiration. please check out their blogs as well as these weekly parties.
linked up at:
hookin up with hoh@  house of hepworths before 7 after party @ thrifty decor chick 100 ideas under $100 @  beyond the picket fence thrifty thursday @  tales from bloggeritaville frugal friday @  the shabby nest from scratch friday @  marriage from scratch flaunt it friday @   chic on a shoestring just something i whipped up @ the girl creative mad skills party @  mad in craft nifty thrifty tuesday @  coastal charm home made projects @  tip junkie tuesday to do @  the blackberry vine tutorials & tips @ home stories a2z take a look tuesday @ sugar bee crafts one project at a time @  a bowl full of lemons manic monday @ serendipity and spice tuesday's treasures @ my uncommon slice of suburbia serenity saturday @  serenity you sugar and spice @ 733 a creative blog show and tell @ blue cricket design wow me whednesday @ polka dots on parade need inspiration? wild wednesday @ chatty chic wow me wednesday @ ginger snap crafts crafty, scrappy happy me @ crafty, scrappy happy catch a glimpse @  a glimpse inside thursday temptation @ two yellow birds decorget your brag on @  gluesticks show off your stuff @ fireflies and jellybeans sticker time & party time @  the 36th avenuethrifty thursday @ thrifty decorating pinspirational thursday  the artsy girl connection the pity party @ 30 handmade days  feathered nest friday @ french country cottage  freestyle friday @ happy hour projects  show and tell friday @ my romantic home  friday free for all @ five days, five ways my homemade year @ blissful and domestic  the anything goes linky party @ bacon time  weekend wrap-up @ tatertots and jello  sass' sunday salvation show @ sassafrass salvation pinspired, rewired, stencil party @ the gunny sack we did it wednesday @ sew much ado


  1. Hi Rebecca! Thank you so much for sharing how you made these great pillows. I am planning on making some envelope pillow covers soon (so I can re use nice pillow inserts) so your instructions come at a wonderful time. I saw your post over at "Tales of Blogeritaville".

  2. Your pillows turned out SO cute! Great tutorial, too! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love the pillow but your tutorial is great! I think I might can follow your directions. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  4. I love this pillow! I just made a similar monogrammed pillow to. Envelope pillows are the way to go.

  5. I LOVE this! I just found you via Beyond the Picket Fence's linky party. I can't believe you made the "&" sign with just a marker. It totally looks screen printed. Thanks for the killer tutorial.

  6. glad y'all are digging the tutorial. i hate it when i see a beautiful project on pinterest and there is not a word about how to do it.

  7. Love LOVE this! Great tutorial!

  8. Love this! We just posted our 2nd Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday Link Party and would love for you to share this!

  9. Love the ampersand! Great tute!

  10. This is a fantastic tutorial. I'm wanting to make some pillows for my living room!
    PS- I'm hosting a linky party if you'd like to link up:

  11. LOVE this!! This surely POPS in a room!! Thanks for sharing!

  12. would love it if you could share this on my link party at

    Natasha xx

  13. Great tutorial! I would love for you to stop by and link up at my linky party via:

    Mrs. Delightful

  14. Great pillow! Would love for you to link up to the Tuesday to Do Party if you haven't already!

  15. I love recycled anything, and am now wishing I had a home depot somewhere on the continent to pick up that much fabric at such a super price.

  16. Thanks for linking up to Serenity Saturday Link Party

    Natasha xx

  17. Stopping by from the Girl Creative Blog Hop!

  18. Visiting from Thrifty Decor Chick! I absolutely love this project....perfect for someone who doesn't really paint!

    I am pinning it!


  19. FANTASTIC.. This is sooo creative.. I LOVE it.. ;))

  20. What a great pillow!! I love it! Thanks for sharing at Thursday's Temptation.