Because we have a wedding in 2 months,
because my outdoor pillows and cushions are completely sunfaded,
and because I had about twenty minutes on my hands,
I decided it was time to recover them.
Heads up: There won’t be any zippers, velcro, snaps, buttons, or anything!
Are you game?
(If you’d like a pillow with a zipper, check out this post on How to Sew a Zipper Into a Pillow, the Easiest Way Ever!)
Ok, let’s talk fabric.
I know there are fabrics on the market that claim to be sun resistant, but they are $20 per yard.
So, each year, I choose fabrics that I like that are dirt cheap and on sale.
And each year I have to recover them because the indirect sun bleaches the tar out of them.
So, my advice is: pick what you like, taking into consideration your budget, the location of the pillows, the durability factor and the colors you like.
Here’s a photo of one of the old faded pillow covers..
I’ve folded the front back a little so you can see the difference between the front and back:
Basically, I make what they call envelope pillows.
There are probably a bunch of other names for these as well.
I buy pillow forms (or you can make them) in the sizes I want from Joann Fabrics.
Then, I just create a pattern that will fit the pillow.
The idea is to make the finished cover a little smaller in dimensions, than the pillow form, all the way around, so they fit nicely and not too loosely.
You’ll see later, that because I have been tracing my pillows for about four years, mine have gotten a little too big, but you won’t make the same mistake I did.
You can make a pillow with a single fabric. That would be the easiest way. I’ll cover that later in this post.
For now, I want to start with making the first pillow using a very basic patchwork look.
All you serious quilters out there better not look at this.
It will make you cringe.
But, hey, this will work and time is of the essence, right?
Here’s the beginning of the first cover:
As you can see, I cut out a square of the flowery fabric. Then I sewed borders to the sides and then borders to the top and bottom edges.
(The finished cut dimensions are supposed to be about a half inch less all around than the pillow form.
Then, we will use a half inch seam allowance making the cover about an inch smaller than the form.)
Here’s how the back looks:
I know. I used the selvedge.
Sorry, that is lame, but it was because I was too lazy (and rushed) to cut it off.
But, if you think anyone you know is going to look inside your pillow to see how you made it, you better cut off the selvedges.
Next, I lay out the fabric I will use for a backing:
See how I cut it even with the front on 3 sides?
That fourth side needs to extend about half of what the length of the pillow is.
SO, if this pillow is 12″, add about 6 more inches.
I just eyeball it. Don’t worry about it. You’ll be close enough.
Pull the front of the pillow away.
Now, cut the backing into two separate pieces, only they should not be equal in size. One should be longer than the other.
Offset it a bit.
The picture below shows how I cut mine:
Serge or zig zag the edges of each fabric piece, if you like, to keep them from unravelling.
Now, fold back one cut edge of the backing fabric and lay it down over the front of the pillow, right sides facing each other. Be sure to line up the 3 edges:
Next, lay the other backing piece over the top of all of this right sides facing each other. The pieces should overlap:
Pin the edges together and sew all the way around the pillow with a one half inch seam allowance:
Turn the pillow right side out and stick in your pillow form.
That one is finished.
Solid One-Piece Pillow:
Let’s make a simpler pillow next.
This one is made with one long continuous piece of fabric going across the width of the fabric.
I lay the original old pillow cover on my new fabric. You can also just use the pillow form if you like.
I fold the new fabric in thirds. Do you see how the white selvedges don’t line up and they overlap? That’s what you want.
Again, you can cut off the selvedges if you want.
You may need to cut them off if you are making a smaller pillow than I am here.
Because it’s one long piece of fabric, all you have to do is fold that fabric in thirds, just like in the photo above and pin it on the sides:
On this pillow cover, you only have to stitch down the two sides (because the other two sides are folded edges).
Use a half inch seam allowance again.
Turn the cover right side out.
Do you see how the one edge covers the other?
Insert the pillow form.
How long did this last one take you?
Isn’t that awesome?
Make a few more and you’ll be set for the summer!