Wednesday, 6 March 2013

how to make a pillow {part 2}

how to make a pillow {part 2}

Time for part 2 of how to make a pillow.

This week I'll be showing you how I make an envelope back, which is the simplest of all the ways to finish your pillow but is the way I use more than any other. Partly because it's so fast, and partly because it's so easy (I'm all for the easy life).

(This is for an envelope back without binding - next week we'll do a second version of the envelope back and I'll show binding as well)

step 1;

Take 2 pieces of fabric that are the same size - each being about 3/4 of the height of the pillow top, and about an inch wider either side


You can see the size reference here - it overlaps about an inch either side and also along the bottom. This is so that when you're sewing the layers together any shifting can be taken into account and fixed within that extra inch.


Using a rotary cutter straighten one long side of each piece of fabric, and fold up twice to make a hem - I use about 3/4" to 1" for my hem - I eyeball it, so it's never very precise (see how one hem is a little bit bigger than the other here? It's ok. It's not a pair of pants so it doesn't matter). Press well and pin.


Sew close to the edge of each hem. I like to lengthen my stitch a little usually, no reason other than I like how it looks with a slightly longer stitch.


Lay your pillow top right side facing up with what will be the top of the envelope opening on top - right side facing down (so the RIGHT SIDES ARE TOGETHER), making sure it is nice and straight and with the hemmed edge pointing towards the bottom of the pillow. Lay the second piece of envelope back on top of this, right sides facing down, and with the hemmed edge pointing towards the top of the pillow (I've flipped a little corner back in the picture so you can see the overlap here)


Pop a pin at each side of the sandwich in the hemmed part of the bottom envelope piece.


Flip this over and pin really well all the way round the outside


Using a walking foot or even feed foot on your sewing machine, sew all the way around the perimeter using a generous 1/4" or a 1/2" seam allowance. Trim off the excess fabric.


To make the seam super secure zig zag stitch all the way around, making sure you stay within the seam allowance - don't stitch over the straight stitched line, it'll look messy when you turn your pillow case the right way out.


et voila....


Now flip that pillow case the right way out, and press all over. Pop in a pillow form and you're done.

EDITED TO ADD; Sara left a comment asking about the size of the pillow form. Excellent question! When I'm making a pillow I like it to be really super stuffed so I use a larger pillow form to the size of the pillow cover. eg - this pillow here finishes at 18", and it's stuffed with a 20" form.


I finished my spring carnival block that Jane quilted so beautifully for me using some of Thomas Knauer's Asbury fabrics for the envelope back.

Working on a Wednesday's how to make a pillow blogpost using a little Thomas Knauer

There's a reason I used these fabrics. When I was at University (college) I worked the holidays in a factory that produced packaging for board games. The account that I worked on was Trivial Pursuit, and this print reminds me of those little pie things that you got in the board game (I think Thomas was probably more inspired by parasols or merry go rounds for this print because it's all boardwalk inspired, but I see pies so I'm going with that). The bumper cars are to represent my husband who grew up on the fairground. Instead of a swing set he had the whole fairground as his back garden toys. Here's something sweet - when he was little his mam would say the rhyme round and round the garden like a teddy bear, but instead of garden (because they didn't have one of those) she said fairground. I love hearing stories like that. (I also love that when my kids go to the fair they don't have to pay to go on the rides. It's a cheap day out - being a traveller kid has it's benefits, even when you don't travel with the fairs any more!)

Here it is from the front and on the couch (expertly guarded by Noodle).

guard cat

Love it.

find part 1 here.


heart of charnwood said...

Another great tutorial, and a beautiful cushion-that's the Retreat pattern you're teaching isnt it, hope I get a spot on that class! Your Uni holiday job sounds way better than mine, I worked in an aerosol valve factory, putting a few plastic pieces together and then pulling a handle to stamp the valve together, soooooo boring, but it paid well!

Nicky said...

I was cleaning in the Maternity Hospital as my holiday job! You can imagine what that was like!

Great job on the cushion - love it!

Karen said...

Great story about your husband :). Noodle seems to take the job seriously ;)

Sara said...

Gosh that looks very easy! I better get started. Did you make your pillow top/front bigger than the pillow form to go inside?

Sewing Mom said...

Your pillows are great.

Elsa said...

Thanks for the tutorial and the stories ~ your husband had an interesting childhood. I was always wanting to go with the carnival when it would leave. And Noodle is in a great perch behind some beautiful pillows!

Flying Blind... said...

Trivial Pursuit, so much more intellectual than my days labelling strawberry punnets!

Katy Cameron said...

Trivial pursuit sounds rather cleaner than care assistant lol

Kerry said...

I always layer the two pieces the wrong way, still can't ever remember which goes down first so I get and upside down flap!

Another advantage of the envelope back is you don't have to shell out for expensive long zips :)

Linda said...

Re the earlier comment. I am always unsure what size to make the cushion cover in relation to the cushion pad size. What is your advice?

Katy said...

Linda - I edited the post above after Sara's comment. I use a slightly larger pillow form to the pillow cover because I like a stuffed look - so the next size up generally (eg 18" pillow cover, 20" pillow form)

Cheryl Arkison said...

I do the round the garden song all the time with my kids! The girls do it to the little guy now too.

Archie the wonder dog said...

Another great tutorial, thank you! I worked in an EMI nursing home...lots and lots and lots of 'tish'!

Linda said...

Thanks, Katy. Just caught up with your answer re cushion pad sizes. Will remember that in future. Love the next part too with the binding. Think that will be my next cushion style. Have one in mind for my little granddaughter.

Sabrina said...

I love how symbolic your fabric selection is! Great tutorial!

The Good Life said...

Thank you for the easy to follow tutorial. I am a beginner, having just learned how to use a sewing machine, and I just made one of these with a thicker denim material. Easy peasy.

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