Pretty Pillow Tutorial


I've been so looking forward to joining Sarah and Pam for Pinning it Down! Every Tuesday, they host a linking party so we can see what's happening in the real world after people pin great ideas to Pinterest. Sarah's hosting today. Do go visit; she's about to have a baby, so welcoming visiting bloggers is the perfect hostessing for her to do.

Pinterest is my favorite social network. Really. I just peruse eye candy. Conversation is lowkey and always friendly and I really do pin things that I turn around and do. Pinterest inspires me and lulls me into believing that if I can see it and I can pin it, I can do it. I might be delusional, but for now, it's working.

A few months back, I pinned an image of a pretty log cabin pillow from Soule Mama's site to my quilting pin board. The pillow caught my eye because it's made of Little Folks Voile. I love Little Folks so much that I have an entire pin board dedicated to just Little Folks Quilts. And I just might have a sketch of my own Little Folks Quilt (but it's a surprise, so shhh...) I like Amanda's pillow.

We have no throw pillows in our house. The dog ate all the covers. The dog now resides with Kristin. They're great friends. He's a very happy dog. Please, don't judge.

So, I've been thinking about all these naked pillow forms that I've stripped of their dog-chewed covers.

When I was stitching my Loulouthi cross stitch, various and every family member had an opinion. They ranged from "why bother?" to "what is that?" 

Because it's beautiful.


A Curated Bloom.

Those are the answers to the above questions.

One Monday morning I woke up so frustrated with the lot of them that I was determined to make something beautiful just to smooth my own ruffled feathers. I pulled from all the loveliness I'd stashed with Christmas money: the needlework to be the centerpiece, Loulouthi quilting cottons and velveteens, even some remarkable ribbon. And then, I just let my fingers go.

Several people asked for how-to details on the pillow cover, so I'm going to do my level best with an envelope pillow cover tutorial today. You might make an envelope cover out of just two pieces of fabric--a top and a bottom. The envelope part would be the bottom. I chose to make a log cabin square for the top piece. 


I trimmed my needlework to make it perfectly square. Unfortunately, in order to leave enough room for a seam allowance, I had to leave a wee bit of pattern from the adjacent design in the lower righthand corner of the piece. It bothers me a little, but not nearly as much as I thought it would.

Then, I cut a strip from Loulouthi Curated Bloom to frame it. My hope was that if the Bloom fabric rested right next to the needlework, people would stop arguing about what it was. This has not been the case, I'm sorry to say. Michael still insists he sees birds in branches. I keep insisting they are blooms. Alrighty then, I did my best there.


For the fabric to frame the needlework,  I fussy cut so that the whole bloom and the branches could be seen, even when sewn on with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Whatever that width is, that's what I cut and then I framed the top and the bottom of the needlework, sewed a 1/4 inch seam, and trimmed so it would be flush with the needlework on the sides.


The side strips of the same fabric are the same width as the others, trimmed to come to the top and bottom of the Curated Bloom strips.


I continued on in this manner, first cutting to fit the top and bottom and then cutting to fit the sides, choosing somewhat random widths. I just picked from a fat quarter bundle, as I went. This is a traditional log cabin square. {The pinned pillow has intentional wonky strips. That's not really my style. I like my strips square. I'm kind of straightlaced that way;-)}

The ultimate goal here was a square that measured 17 inches, because my pillow form was 16 inches square.

To make an envelope pillow case, measure your pillow from seam to seam and then cut the front cover to be one inch wider than your pillow on all sides. If your pillow cover isn't to be pieced (as mine is here), but is to be cut from whole cloth, that whole cloth square would be one inch larger than your pillow, both widthwise and lengthwise.




I decided to finish the square with ribbon because the ribbon was exactly the right size to make my square come out to 17 inches. This is a lovely idea when it's draped over the pillow form. It's not the greatest idea when it comes to sewing. All my log cabin seams are 1/4 inch seams. I was sort of in 1/4 inch mode when I came up with the ribbon idea.  I forgot that I 'd figured my measurements for the front square to account for 1/2 inch seams to sew the pillowcase top and bottom together. A 1/2 inch seam would have swallowed all the ribbon. In hindsight, a wider ribbon would have been more appropriate. In this case, I made my seams allowances smaller so that you can see more ribbon and I reinforced within the seam allowance at stress points to keep the ribbon from unravelling. It's beautiful, but it would fit just a little better if the seam allowances had been that 1/2 inch I had orginally planned. 


Once the front is finished to the rght dimensions, it's time to cut the back.

I used a luxurious piece of Loulouthi velveteen.


The back piece is cut one inch longer than the pillow form and four inches wider. Those four inches become the overlap for the envelope closure. (In my case, the pillow form is 16 inches, so the velveteen was first cut to 17 inches high by 21 inches wide.)


Lay the piece out with the long side on the top and the bottom and cut it in half from top to bottom. (I cut the 21 inch width to two pieces that were each 10 1/2 inches wide and 17 inches high.)



Turn one of the just-cut edges under 1/4 inch and press. Turn it under another 1/4 inch and press again. 


Sew the hem down close to the fold.

Repeat for the other just-cut edge.

Put the front cover on the table in front of you pretty side up.

Is it pretty side up?


Now line up one unhemmed edge with the edge of cover. Pretty side down. The pretty sides of the front and the back are facing each other inside. Pin carefully, matching it all up along the edges.

Line up the other unhemmed edge on the still exposed pretty side of the front of the cover. When you line up the raw edges of the front and the back, you'll find the hemmed edges overlap. This is a good thing!


(this picture is a corner folded over so that you can that at this stage the ugly sides show on the front and the back)

Almost finished:-)

Sew a 1/2 inch seam all the way around the perimeter of the cover. That's it,  just around the perimeter.

Trim the corners.

Turn it right side out. Stuff with pillow form.


See how pretty?



And so worth every single stitch.

Just because it's beautiful.




(Why yes! I do believe you're right, it does match the boxes in my sewing room.  Hmmm...)