around the house: simple pillows

05.18.12 | pillow diy

Happy Friday, friends! I’m excited I finally have a little DIY for you (hopefully soon there will be some garment sewing DIYs coming…) Remember my pep talk post recently about decorating and getting started on covering up those ugly, beige accent pillows? I finally did just that! I’ll show you the fruit of my labors first and then there is a mini how-to further down for those who might be curious about the process. (Apologies in advance about the rumpled slip cover; it only stays un-rumpled so long with SH and the puppy!)

05.18.12 | pillow diy
05.18.12 | pillow diy

A nice little perk-up, no? I originally had grand plans for making plain pillow covers and stitching vintage hankies on, but SH deemed that idea a little too girly. (And since it’s his sofa too, I figure he gets say!) So I scaled it back a bit from the pinks, reds and exuberant florals I had wanted to use, and used an old tablecloth instead. Now, before my fellow vintage lovers want to bop me over the head for cutting up a vintage tablecloth: this one had some serious stains that would not come out despite my valiant efforts. So it had officially been banished to the “cutter” pile. I ended up using the four corners to avoid the worst stained portions, and like the effect of the oversized print and minimal color scheme.

The back of each pillow is a simple overlap style made out of an inexpensive canvas dropcloth from the hardware store, and embellished with a button from my stash. For days SH can’t take the vintage-pretty florals any longer, we can flip the pillows around to reveal the button placket backs. Clever, no? Now I just need to use the couple of smaller pillow forms my mom gave me during the winter and make some smaller accent pillows… It’s all about breaking up the massive size of this sofa!

05.17.12 | pillow diy

If you’d like to know how I made these (they’re super easy–I made all four in about the space of an evening!), be sure to click through the post-break below.

05.17.12 | pillow diy

I started by measuring the length and height of the pillows. They were all the same size: 21″x21″, but always remember: measure twice, cut once! I added 1″ to the length and width measurements for 1/2″ seam allowances. So each piece would be 22″x22″.

05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy

(Note: I found it easiest to make a paper pattern for the pillow pieces since I was making four, but you can always mark directly onto your fabric as well.) Cut out one piece for the front the dimensions of the pillow (plus that 1″ added to the l/w). For the back, divide the width of the pillow (21″) by 2 (10.5″) and add 5″ to this measurement (15.5″). Cut out two pieces the length (22″) by the width (15.5″).

05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy

Begin by hemming one long edge of each of the back pieces. You can turn under 1/2″, press, turn under 1″ and stitch the hem down. Or, if you have a serger like I do, serge one of the long edges and turn under 1″ before stitching down.

05.17.12 | pillow diy

On one of the back pieces, mark the buttonhole placement on the long, hemmed edge. I placed mine 1″ from the hem fold and at the center of the length. (My buttons were 1 1/4″ wide, for reference.) Stitch by machine following your manual’s directions. I like to dab a little Fray Check on the front and back of the buttonholes to prevent any natty looking edges.

05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy

With the right side of the pillow front facing up, lay the buttonhole back piece right side down overtop on the right side. Lay the other back piece over one the left side, making sure the long hemmed edges are oriented in the same direction (center). Pin around the outer perimeter.

05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy

Stitch by machine around this outer edge with a 1/2″ seam. I reccomend finishing the edges with at least pinking or zig zag stitches (I used my serger), so if you need to launder these in the future, they aren’t a frayed mess! Turn cover right side out and press.

05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy

Open buttonhole and mark button placement on the underlap back piece. Stitch buttonhole by hand.

05.17.12 | pillow diy
05.17.12 | pillow diy

Insert pillow and button up the back. Done and very budget friendly! While I already had the tablecloth in my stash (it had been given to me, so free!), as well as the buttons and thread, the drop cloth was only $10. I have a lot of that leftover, so I think I can safely say for about $6 and an evening of sewing I have four new pillows! (If you’d like to find an old tablecloth to use for a similar project, I recommend searching on Etsy for “cutter tablecloth” to find ones cheaply and suitable for cutting.)

May 18, 2012 · 17 lovely thoughts
posted in around the house,tutorials · tags: , ,

Sue May 18, 2012 at 08:16

These look great!

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Stephanie May 18, 2012 at 08:38

I love the idea of re-purposing a damaged table cloth. They look lovely! :)

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Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk May 18, 2012 at 08:44

They’re gorgeous! I especially like that they’re reversible.

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Pippa @ Beads and Barnacles May 18, 2012 at 08:45

These look lovely.
When I make pillow covers I normaly cut the material out to the size of the pillow with out adding seam allowance and then this pulls the sides in a bit and makes the pillow more puffy…

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MB@YarnUiPhoneApo May 18, 2012 at 09:10

Great tip on the cutter tablecloth. I might have to try that sometime. I’m loving the pillow…I learned some pillow sewing tips recently. To prevent dog ear corners, cut a little wedge at the corner. Using your edge joining foot, move your needle all the way to the left. As you’re sewing, as you approach the pillow corner, drop the st length….at the corner take 1 st across. Make your turn, increase st length as you leave “pillow seam intersection.” Also, I learned to take scrap poly batting and tack in each corner. Bar tack the batting on the seam allowance. No more saggy dog-ear corners….Finally, I like a little pop of trim on my pillows. I think a large matching ric-rac would make the tablecloth border really pop out!

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jeanine May 18, 2012 at 10:08

Zowie! Those are fantastic! You are so generous with your time—these tutuorials are super inspiring, and very clear. Really, Casey, when are you going to come out with a book?!!!

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Melissa B May 18, 2012 at 10:40

Very cute, and great tutorial!

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Renee May 18, 2012 at 11:08

So pretty. Love the colors.

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Charlotte May 18, 2012 at 11:41

Nice job – love the colours on the tablecloth fabric!

I actually don’t have any problem with “flat fabric” products like tablecloths and sheets being repurposed for other sewing projects, even though I’m very wary of dresses being chopped up. But it’s especially good that you were able to recycle something which was unusable in its original form.

xx Charlotte

PS I think there’s a small error – you said to hand-stich the buttonhole where I assume you meant button (?)
Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage

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Rachel May 18, 2012 at 12:38

Great idea!

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Tasha May 18, 2012 at 13:04

I think if you’ve found a lovely vintage fabric piece but it’s unusable in its current state, there’s no reason you can’t turn it into something you -can- use. This is a great idea, thanks for the tutorial! I’m hoping to make some throw pillows for the new house. I wasn’t sure how exactly to go about doing a button placket on the back, so now I know where to turn when I get to that point. :)

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Alli May 18, 2012 at 20:43

Great job Casey…..they look so pretty and fresh. And I love the picture on the wall (keep calm and carry on)…..I need that in my crazy house to remind me to stay sane lol! ;)

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Jessica May 19, 2012 at 02:27

Fantastic pillows, Casey dear. I love every hue at work in your living room. The dark, alluring hue of your slip cover is so beautiful and timelessly stylish (I want it in dress form :D ).

Thank you very much for your wonderful comment on my nail polish post this week. Like you, the older I get, the more I come back to the same colours time and time again. Whether with lipstick or nail polish, classic red is an endless favourite of mine, too – and I don’t see a thing wrong with sticking with what works for you (especially when it’s so perfectly vintage suited!).

Wishing you a serene, stellar weekend,
♥ Jessica

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Katie May 19, 2012 at 03:44

That looks great! Sadly beyond my limited sewing skills but certainly a goal for the future.

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Marmielu May 19, 2012 at 14:43

Oh, I’m so glad you finally got some nice pillows! They look very nice, and will add a nice touch. The tutorial on how you made them is very helpful, especially as this mother hates making pillows. Thanks!

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Shelly May 20, 2012 at 05:31

What a fantastic way to use a vintage tablecloth that is stained beyond redemption. I love the colours in your living room, they are so rich and luscious!

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Victoria / Justice Pirate May 28, 2012 at 18:56

You should do custom orders for other people. my pillows are so boring and are just black. . . so sad. These are gorgeous!!!!

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Care to comment? Thank you ever so much for taking time to share your comment! Although I try to answer questions, I am not always able to respond to each comment individually. But please know that I appreciate from the bottom of my heart every comment I receive!

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