Technique Tuesday: 5 Minute Simple Pillow Tutorial

October 19, 2010

photo credit lisa clarke

I know most of you probably know how to cover a pillow but I did have a few tips that might help your pillow look better and made faster.

My friend Abi is trying to save money everywhere she can for her upcoming wedding in June. She is making the ringbearer pillows....errrr I am making them. But she came over yesterday and I took about five minutes to recover two she had bought at the Salvation Army for $2. She had also bought the brown satiny material for 25 cents. We'll be doing something else to the pillows later to make them look really 'wedding worthy'. I'll have a tutorial for you then.

So I thought I'd get a good post out of it and documented the very simple process. In case you are a newbie to sewing, this is about a simple a project as you can get. But I also give some handy tips for recovering a pillow in case you have trouble with certain things.
1. Take an old pillow.

2. Lay pillow on top of two pieces of fabric about two inches larger than your pillow.
3. Place your pins directly next to your pillow. Here's a tip: DON'T TRY TO COMPENSATE FOR THE THICKNESS OF THE PILLOW. Unless it's a box pillow or oddly thick. Just place the marker pins right next to the edge. Another thing you can do which is easier is use chalk just be sure that you are drawing on the wrong side.
4. Make markers on three sides of your square.
5. Sew on those three sides, taking the pins out as you sew over them. Trim excess.
6. Turn inside out. Iron seams flat.
7. Stuff pillow inside new case. It should be very snug.
 8. Note where the pillow seam for the fourth line of the square should be. Either use pins or chalk. Then push the pillow far down into the case. TIP: THIS IS SO WHEN YOU ARE SEWING THE CLOSING SEAM YOU ARE NOT WORKING AGAINST THE BULK OF THE PILLOW.
9. Pin the pillow so that it stays pushed to the bottom of the pillow.
10. Fold the raw edges inside to where you made your seam line.
11. Pin folded edges in place.
12. Now sew down the folded edges keeping the bulk of the pillow on top of your sewing machine arm so that it isn't pulling your stitches. This assures you make a straight line.
13. Take out the pins that are holding the pillow down in the case and push the pillow out and into the corners. DONE!

Now with 13 steps maybe it seems like this took a long time but I promise once you know it by heart it only takes about five minutes. So simple. Now go out to your local Sal Val and redo some pillows! But do please be wary of bed bugs....yikes!

20 {comments}:

Popbabe7 said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm not usually a fan of pillows but you might have just changed my mind!

Vintagesquirrel said... Best Blogger Tips

This was very helpful, Kathleen...especially the hint to pin the pillow form down while sewing.
Regarding concern for bedbugs, I'd suggest running the thrift store pillow forms in a hot clothes dryer for 30 mins.

Julie said... Best Blogger Tips

Pinning down the pillow form is brilliant. I never would have thought to do that, having always just left an opening to stitch up by hand. Your technique is so much better. Thanks!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks! Quick and easy. :)

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

thank you!
now if there were only a way to recover a couch in 5 minutes...

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tutorial. I would have thought that you'd need to leave room for the seam allowance. If I need any new pillows, I may give this a try.


emily.marie said... Best Blogger Tips

oh, I WISH it could take me 5 minutes to cover a pillow! try 35 because I'm craaaaaazy about straight grainlines and perfect right angles. crazy. it takes me at least 30 minutes just to prepare the fabric! especially if there's a print- a geometric one- forgetaboutit.

the sleepy time gal said... Best Blogger Tips

thanks for this. i'm trying to get myself to get down in the basement to sew some new pillows for us!

MamiKechik said... Best Blogger Tips

simple n nice...
i like this tutorial

Erika Mulvenna said... Best Blogger Tips

Great tips! Have you found yet for more great sewing tips and tutorials? Lots of great links!

Anne said... Best Blogger Tips

Your pinning trick is brilliant!! I usually just wear out my arm muscles trying to keep the pillow pushed back while I sew.

I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Princess of Everything (and then some) said... Best Blogger Tips

You are a genius!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

WOW! Great tutorial! I would have thought that you'd need to leave room for the seam allowance. If i need any new pillows, I may give this a try..
Thanks for sharing..
Bed Sheet Sets

Deb said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the easy tutorial, plan to give my old house pillows a remake. Love the pin idea!

Woodsong said... Best Blogger Tips

Neat idea -- wouldn't have thought of pinning down the pillow form. Will have to give it a try (although I suspect it'll take me more than 5 minutes!)


Woodsong said... Best Blogger Tips

Neat idea -- although I suspect it's going to take me more than 5 minutes!


Kate in Iowa said... Best Blogger Tips

The seam that you demonstrated in this pillow tutorial is much more easily sewn with a zipper foot. Let me know how it works for you.

Merrilee said... Best Blogger Tips

I think I would just buy new pillow forms, bed bugs or someone else's dirt is not something I want or maybe from the new ones from the dollar stores.

di said... Best Blogger Tips

I purchased some linen fabric and purchased new pillow form 40% at Michael's. Then I did about 1 inch per side and sewed it up and then I put a fabric printed picture on top which adheres with an iron. It was then complete and I love it. I wish I had saved some of my older pillows to use as pillow I could redo but before the time of pinterest.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

I love recovering old pillows! It's a great trick I learned from my grandma. Thanks for the tip about pinning the pillow down, will definitely try that!
P.S. I love your nail polish! As I look down I have a similar color on now! Haha! ;)

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