Sunday, April 27, 2014

Easy to Sew Removable Throw Pillow Covers

Here's a first-time homeowner confession: I find the price of throw pillows shocking. Throw pillows are in the category of household accessories that I like the look of but never purchased because of their ridonkulous price tags (I'm looking at you, too, rugs and quilts). Then, during one glorious trip to IKEA, I found the Fjadrar pillow form. A generous 20" square, duck-feather filled, and only $5.99!!

I found this gray and white Robert Allen home decor fabric clearanced out for $7 per yard at Jo-Ann. I bought two yards. At 54" wide, this was enough to make covers for two 20 square inch pillows. I really did not want to put a zipper into my pillow covers, but I did want them to be removable for washing. After a search of my beloved interwebs, I found this tutorial from Cottage Magpie. I followed her tutorial, except that I did not use trim and I increased the overlap of my back pieces. Below, I assume that you have already done any necessary washing/treatment to your fabric before beginning. If you're unsure about how to pretreat fabric for sewing, check out this awesome post from Craftsy.

Materials and tools:
Two 20" pillow forms
Two yards of 54" wide home decor/upholstery fabric
Coordinating thread
Sewing machine (or the patience to hand stitch)
Shears or rotary cutter
Straight pins

The front side of each pillowcase is a single square. The back is made of two overlapping rectangles. This creates a permanent slit in the back that allows for removing (and replacing) the pillow. 

1. Cut the pieces. The square front of each pillowcase should be the size of the pillow form plus one inch. For a 20" sq pillow form, you should cut a 21" square of fabric. To determine the size of the 2 rectangles for the back of the pillowcase, the width remains the same (21" for our pillow). The length should be 1/2 of the length of the front + 3.5". For our pillow, it would be 1/2 x 21" = 10.5" + 3.5" = 14". You'll need two of these rectangles. To recap, for each pillowcase you should have three pieces: one 21" square and two 14" x 21" rectangles.

2. Finish one long edge of each rectangle. To make sure the exposed edges of the slit on the back of your pillow are exposed, make a double fold hem along a 21" edge on each rectangle (basically fold the edge over, then fold it over again and topstitch). For those unsure of how to create a double fold hem, follow the link in the previous sentence or watch this YouTube video. Easy and clean!

3. Press the pieces. Don't be like me and wait until the end! Really you should press your fabric before you begin cutting, but I have to admit that I'm often too anxious to start and therefore skip this step. 

4. Position the fabric as shown in the photo, wrong sides together. Pin the edges using straight pins. Stitch around the perimeter using a 1/2" seam allowance. I like to backstitch a few times over the finished edges of the rectangular pieces, just to make sure they are extra secure when removing and inserting the pillows.

5. Zig-zag or serge the raw edges. I don't have a serger, so I zig-zagged. This step is optional, but it helps make sure the cut edges don't fray. I also trimmed the corners to eliminate some of the bulk from the seam allowance.

6. Turn the pillowcase right side out and use the tip of your shears on the inside to make crisp corners.

7. Cover your pillow form and enjoy!

I am hoping these pillows will soften (literally and figuratively) our decor and add some much-needed personality to our home. If your textiles are worn or outdated, I hope you'll consider DIYing your own throw pillows. It's definitely worth the effort. Be creative and enjoy!

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