A while back, two of my friends moved into their own apartment. They decided to decorate the living room with greys and light blues. They bought a new couch and asked me if I could make pillowcases for the pillows they wanted to throw onto it. They were thinking of buying some cases, but they are crazy expensive. There is an unproportionally high cost for the amount of fabric you’re getting. When we were shopping together there was a small case (no pillow) on sale for $40! It wasn’t even cute looking, I don’t understand. They ended up picking some fabric out and I made them the cases that are featured in this tutorial. Since then, I've made a bunch more pillows, either for them or for myself. The pillows are super fun to make and a great beginner project. The cases don’t come off the pillows so there is no need to worry about zippers. The only thing you may need to worry about is what type of pillow you buy and if it is machine washable.
Things you need:
A metre of fabric of your choice. In this tutorial I am using a 100% cotton fabric that was purchased from Fabricland
A pillow, for this project I’m using the Inner, 50 cm x 50 cm (20” x 20”) pillows from Ikea
Newspaper or scrap paper for a template
A sewing machine
A needle and thread
1) Wash, dry and iron your fabric. I’m sure you are very excited to start your project, but before you can start cutting you need to wash your fabric. This will rinse out the extra dye the may still be in the fabric (you 100% have wash it separately if it’s a really strong colour like red or blue. For other types of fabric I wouldn’t recommend it but probably won’t be the end of the world if you did).
Your fabric might shrink due to the heat, so it's better if it shrinks now instead of when your project is finished. You'll want to iron it so that the fabric is a flat as possible, which will help ensure you have straight lines when you’re sewing.
2) Use the newspaper to make a template of the pillow; mine was just a square. If your pillow is a rectangle make your template to match the shape. I added a centimetre (1/2") of seam allowance on to each side and cut the newspaper down to the size I needed. My pillow was 50 cm by 50 cm so I made my template 52 cm by 52 cm by adding two centimetres on each edge.
3) Place your fabric on a clean surface and fold it in half. Place your template on the fabric and pin into place, and cut. I am making two pillows with this piece and I ended up with four pieces of fabric.
4) Place two pieces together, rights facing each other. If your fabric is patterned, ensure the patterns are going in the same directions. Pin the pieces together and leave a space on one side that will be big enough to put your pillow into.
5) With scrap fabric do some test stitches to make sure the stitches are tensioned properly for the fabric you’re using. This means that the thread on both sides of your work is even and isn't pulling.
After you’ve done this sew around your pillow. Make sure you don’t sew the whole thing closed.
You want to make sure your stitches are being made at a centimetre from the edge, anymore and your case will be smaller than you want.
6) After you’re done sewing, cut the extra fabric off the corners of the case, this will make for sharper corners to your work. Make sure you don’t cut the stitches themselves.
7) Put as much of your hand in the hole you created and pull the fabric through the hole to turn the pillow inside out. After that, use a pencil to push the fabric in the corners more to make them really pointy.
8) Optional: You can iron the case to make sure the fabric looks really good and to help set the stitches.
9) Put the pillow into the case. With the first pillow, I took it out of the plastic and then spent an hour trying to stuff the pillow into the case because I made the hole too small. With the second pillow, I measured the circumference of the pillow in its packaging and made sure that the hole I left would be bigger. Then I cut the top of the pillow packaging and put the whole thing in the hole and held the pillow in place as I pulled the plastic off. The pillow then just unfolded itself into the case. This took less than 30 seconds.
The first pillow, mid stuffing
Second pillow, which was faster
10) Make a blind stitch to close up the hole.
• Take your needle and thread and double your thread and tie a knot. Make sure your thread is long enough to close up your hole, but if it’s too long there is more of a chance that the thread will knot as you’re working. It's a fine balance.
• Pin your hole closed so that you do not have fabric moving around on you.
• From the inside of the fold, poke your needle and pull the thread through. Poke it back through a few millimeters on the inside fold of the opposite piece of fabric and pull through.
• You will be sewing the fabric on the inside of the fold of the hole to bring the two pieces of fabric together while trying to hide the thread.
When your can't tell where the blind stitch is.
11) Fluff up the pillow! I was told that if you leave the pillows in the sun they will fluff up on their own. I tried it, but I can't prove the pillows fluffed up because of the sun or because of the air and not being in a vacuum sealed bag.
When I was done, I delivered the pillows to my friends house and was trying to take photos of the finished product, but my friend kept photobombing them. So I am including some of the photos I have of her and the pillows.
Here are some of the other pillows I've made.