UPDATE – you can also see how to make a pillow through the eyes of a complete beginner who followed my tutorial!
Jill Approved followed this tutorial and shares her experience and how it turned out for her!
A pillow is one of the easiest and fastest sewing projects, and is great for beginners. My nine year old recently agreed to learn to use the sewing machine and her first project was a pillow. She likes to sew by hand but has been a bit afraid of the machine up until now. Might have something to do with the fact that the machine is almost as big as she is? 😀 I need to dig out my old machine for her – it’s smaller and much less intimidating for a beginner.
Anyway, I decided it was time to share a tutorial on how to make a pillow with an envelope closure. It’s so easy and fast and I assure you if you can sew a straight line with a machine you can make a pillow. And if you can’t sew a straight line with a sewing machine then you probably just need a guideline added to show you where to line up your fabric 😉
Step 1: Cut your fabric
My experience has been that if you make your finished size the exact size of the pillow form, the pillow will not seem ‘full’ enough. So my rule is this – cut the top piece of your pillow the exact measurements of the form. My form was 16×26 so I cut it 16×26. The seam allowance will make it end up smaller but that will give you a full looking pillow when stuffed.
For the back pieces you need to cut two for an envelope closure. The first measurement will be the same as the sides of the top – for mine it was the 16 inches. The second measurement will be half the long measurement plus enough for overlap and a hem. I add at least 3 inches to each piece. Mine were cut 16×16.
Step 3. Turn serged edge under 3/4 inch, press, and topstitch.
Add a tag if you have one 🙂
You will have neatly hemmed edges for you back pieces and the serging keeps the edges neat and unfrayed on the inside.
Step 4. Detail your pillow top however you wish.
Mine was for a friend’s birthday gift.
Step 5. Place one back piece onto the front with the finished, hemmed edge towards the center of the pillow top.
Step 6. Place the second back piece onto the pillow top, overlapping the first piece.
The finished, hemmed edges will be in the center (ish) of the pillow top. Off-center a bit because they need to overlap.
You can see that the overlap is several inches. It doesn’t have to be this big but I prefer it this way to keep the back from gaping to show the pillow form.
Step 8. Now it’s time to sew the pillow together! Start at one corner, about 1/2 inch in from both edges – the side edge and the edge behind the presser foot.
You can use a 1/2 to 5/8 seam allowance, whichever you are most used to using. I typically use 5/8 seams but for pillows a lot of times I use 1/2 inch.
Lift the presser foot and pivot the pillow so you are ready to sew the next edge. The needle down into the fabric will allow you to pivot around the needle without moving the fabric out of position for sewing.
Continue this process till all four sides are stitched.
Step 10. Serge all 4 edges to finish the seams and prevent raveling. I serge to the end of a side, lift serger presser foot, pivot and keep going all the way around. This eliminates the loose threads at each corner of the pillow.
Step 11. Turn the pillow right side out.
With your thumb inside, use your finger to keep the seam to one side and the fabric firm.
You can use a point turner, found at Joanns or other fabric store, if needed, to create the crisp neat corners that will make your project look professional.
Turn all four corners and you are ready to stuff your pillow with a pillow form and add it to your decor!
For just a bit of extra detail on this pillow I added top stitching. When cutting out I actually cut this one about 1/2 inch bigger than I normally would for this size pillow form. This gave me the extra room to add top stitching all the way around the pillow and create a sort of ‘flat piping’ effect.
It’s almost springtime – time for some spring cleaning and fluffing and new pillows are just the thing to add some spring fun to your decor.
And don’t forget to check out my friend Jillian’s post – she shares her first sewing experience using my tutorial!