Thursday, December 23, 2010

Easy Overlapping Pillow Cover

If you're anything like me, you get bored with decor fairly easily. It doesn't help when all the new fabric lines come out and your inner insane person wants to redecorate your living room with every last line.

One of my favorite ways to spruce up existing decor is with pillow covers. This can take as little material as a couple of fat quarters - and since you'll be covering up your existing pillows with a removable cover, you won't have to purchase or make inserts! The added bonus of pillow covers is how small they fold up and store, especially when you're making seasonally or holiday themed covers.

To start, you're going to need to take your finished pillow front, square it, and measure. You can piece, quilt, applique or whatever you desire to do to the front of your pillow - we'll go over some fun options later! My finished front is appliqued and measures 17.5x17.5. I'm using a 16" square pillow insert, and I like it to be just a smidge loose.
Next, take your backing fabric. It will need to be the same height - 17.5", but you'll want to measure in a little overlap. I like my overlap to be 3-3.5". This allows the pillow to be completely covered with no gap in the back. Cutting my backing material to 21"x17.5" allows this overlap. Then, you'll make a vertical cut straight in the middle of the piece, so you're left with two 10.5"x17.5" rectangles.
We'll be finishing the visible edges of the backing with double fold bias tape. If you'd prefer to fold over and hem so there is no contrast, add an extra half inch to each side of the backing to allow for your hem. To make your double fold tape in a coordinating material, cut two 2"x17.5" strips and iron as follows:

Start by finger pressing a 1/4" fold from one side of the strip like so:

Do this for the entire length of the strip, and then repeat to fold the other side down. What you'll end up with is this:

Press flat with your iron, and then fold the bottom side up to meet the top side, and press:

From here, you'll place the bias tape onto the 17.5" edge of your backing pieces as shown:

Stitch close to the edge, and make sure to catch the back of the tape as well!

Since you've got two backing pieces, make sure that you are stitching one edging to the left of one piece, and the other edging will go on the right side of the other. These are the edges that will be exposed.

Next, we'll lay our front piece right side up as shown:

and take your first backing piece and lay it right side down on top of your front piece. Pin around, leaving the exposed edge open. For the purposes of this tutorial - the edge that will be primarily shown on my finished pillow is the solid RED edge. Make sure that the first piece you lay down is the one you want showing. If you've done two different tape edges (maybe you ran out of red fabric, like me, and had to improvise?), or perhaps your stitching went a little wonky on one - the one you lay first is the one that will show.

Next, lay your second backing piece right side down on top of both existing pieces. See how it overlaps here? Again, pin around, leaving the taped edge open.

Stitch all the way around your cover, using a .5" seam allowance. Clip the corners to allow for flat lying, sharp corners, and turn your cover inside out. You can just stick your hand right in the open gap and it gives you tons of room to turn!

Place cover on your pillow insert or existing pillow and just like that, an easy to use pillow cover!

And a quick hint: if you choose to use a slippery or heavy fabric like the white dot minky above, use a walking foot or your machine's dual feed system: it's a lifesaver!


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