Hi there! I'm a newly married suburbanite-turned-urbanite, trying to turn our first house (apartment, let's be honest) into our first home, all while trying to make it not look like it's straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog. Welcome to the crazy-ness.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

..I Know

Yes, I know it has been quite a while since I've last posted. With the holidays and everything else in between, it's been exceptionally crazy around this house. But I'm back, and with an arsenal of project and the like to come, so you'll have to try to get rid of me this time.

On topic for today: pillows. Those miraculous fluffy things that pull you in and whisk you off to dream land. Besides being overly comfy, I've noticed that they are also overly expensive. And these two kids starting off don't have a spare $40-$50 to throw down on a large Euro pillow. So I decided that instead of purchasing one that is the same color/pattern for the rest of its life, why not get a pillow form and make an envelope (like a sham) cover that I can switch out whenever I want? Exactly.

Like the start of all of my projects, I perused Pinterest for a while to see if I could find any tutorials that I could tweak to become exactly what I wanted. I ended up combining two different tutorials, the no-zipper envelope portion from Aaron over at The Thrifty Abode and the piping from Trisha at The Sweet Survival, so I would get the flexibility of being able to change out covers whenever I want while still making them look like they're straight from the store.

What I bought:
  • 1 package of welting (it came in a 12 yd package)
  • 1 pillow form (I chose a Euro Square pillow, 24"x24")
  • Fabric
    • As always, I would so much rather buy extra fabric and end up not needing versus running to the store mid-project. I bought 2 yds, but I totally could have done with 1 1/2 yds, maybe even just 1 yd. This will vary depending on the size of pillow you're covering, so do some math first!
I first figured out how big I actually wanted this pillow. I had purchased a Euro pillow form from JoAnn Fabric that was 24"x24". I wanted it to look nice and full, so I chose to only add a 1/2" seam allowance on each side (adding a total of 1" extra over all) to make sure I achieved that look. The front piece of fabric for my case ended up being 25"x25", so when all of my sewing was done, I'd end up with a 24"x24" pillow.

I decided for the envelope portion I wanted a fairly large overlap; I didn't want any chance of the stuffing poking out at all. I cut out two pieces of fabric the same size, 25"x15", again allowing 1/2" seam allowances on each side. These two pieces will end up being the "envelope" portion of the pillow, with a whopping 4" overlap. I didn't want to see any piece of that pillow poking out, no matter what!

For the piping, I followed Trisha's instructions exactly. I needed four lengths of 24" long, to be able to fully encase the edges of the cover, and I added 2" on to the end to leave ample room to comfortably finish the edge, giving me a grand total of 98". Since I didn't have enough fabric to cut out one big long strip to cover the welting and create the piping, I halved it and just cut two strips instead and sewed them together in the middle! As per Trisha, I cut them 1 1/2" wide. So I ended up with two strips of fabric 49"x1 1/2".

To make things easier, I ironed them right down the middle, so I knew I was giving myself enough space on the raw edge to sew it to the front cover. As per Trisha, I took my zipper foot and stitched as closely to the welting as possible. TIP: In using the zipper foot, if you're sewing on the "right" side (aka your raw edge is on the right, welting on the left), clip it onto the left side of the foot; if you're sewing on the "left" side (aka your raw edge is on the left, welting on the right), clip it onto the right side of the foot. I decided that instead of cutting a strip of welting to match the fabric, I just fed the welting into the strip of fabric while I was sewing and cut it off once I got to the end, to make sure I'd have plenty (like I said, I'd rather have way too much than not enough!) for all of the piping.

Once the piping had been made, I grabbed the front (25"x25" fabric) of the cover and pinned the edging around the outside. Make sure that you have the raw edge of your piping matching up with the raw edge of your cover, right side of the fabric up (if you have a pattern/color, mine was the same on both sides). I clipped a few places on the raw side of the fabric of the piping, just to make the corners easier to bend. I decided to have my edge start on a corner. I did it that way instead of in the middle like Trisha said because I had a seam in the middle of my piping (since I couldn't cut out 98" of fabric in one shot), and I would rather have the seams in a corner versus the middle. Personal preference is all.

Go ahead and stitch all of the piping onto the front cover. The next part is a little trickier, since you're kind of "blind" sewing with the piping. You'll want to have one long edge (the 25" edge in my case) of each part of the "envelope" hemmed. Take one of the two envelope pieces, and with right side down match the long raw edge with the top edge of your front cover. Make sure you do the top first, so then when you have your pillow form in the case, sitting upright, the outside piece will be laying flat against the back, and you can't peek down into the envelope opening! You want to make sure that your pattern or "right side" of both the envelope piece and the front cover are together. Pin all of that down, and still using your zipper foot, stitch the top envelope piece to the front cover. Don't forget to make sure you're on the correct side for the zipper foot, and to get as tight to the piping as possible. This will ensure that you don't see all of the extra seam allowance between the piping and front and back covers.

Do the exact same thing with the other envelope piece on the bottom edge of the front cover. The next step is more optional, but I like doing this since it gives the piece a more "finished" look. You'll only ever see it if you're digging around on the inside of the cover, but it makes me feel like a real seamstress! I decided to do an overlock stitch along ALL of my raw edges on the inside. This helps to prevent fraying and give the edge a finished look. This stitch is #16 or #17 on my machine, but whichever it is, you'll want the point of the triangle to be on the edge side of your material. When doing this stitch, use your standard presser foot, and leave a small gap between the raw edge of the material and the edge of the presser foot, like so. That space will allow for the machine to "lock" the very edge of your material from fraying.

You're done! Flip that bad boy inside out and jump around your husband (or wife/significant other/pet/lamp) yelling "I did it!" like I did. No? Okay. Just have a silly grin on your face and stare at the case instead. Stuff your form in there, and you have yourself a store-bought-looking envelope case that you can change out at any point!

Tell me, how did it go for you? Did you have a heck of a time cutting out itty-bitty long strips of fabric for the piping like I did, or did you breeze through it? Show me your fabulous pillows!!



  1. Very professional looking.

    1. Thank you so much! That means a lot to me as I'm newer to sewing!
      I hope you enjoyed, and thanks so much for stopping by!