There’s a lot to cover in this pillow party, so let’s get to it.
Our couch is not super awesome, but it is a neutral shade, which allows a little play with color. The color scheme in my apartment is slowly evolving, with its roots in a deep, rusty orange. Oddly enough, two of my favorite pieces in the apartment were found in or near the dumpster on two separate occasions: an orange leather-and-chrome chair and a coffee table of the exact color. Magic.
Back to the couch and throw pillows. Buying new pillows can be expensive (up to $20 for one pillow, holy cats!), so to save money, I repurposed several pillows that I already had. Goodwill is always a great resource if you don’t mind them used, but remember to wash your purchases.
Today’s tutorial will show you how to make a simple cover that will easily slip on and off the pillow of your choice. I get all of my vintage fabrics from Annie’s Second Hand Chic (1668 N. Warren Ave.) right off Brady St. I will share plenty more about her awesomeness in columns to come — she always has great suggestions materials and patterns. So helpful.
Here’s the Before and After for starters:
Fabric to cover the pillow
Buttons for embellishment
Cut one square (or rectangle, depending on your pillow) of fabric a little larger than your pillow (about 2 extra inches in each side). Cut two pieces of a different fabric; one piece should be about half the size of the first square and the other should be about two-thirds the size of the first square—as long as they overlap, you’re okay.
Now we get a little more exact (but not really, I estimate everything), by folding under all ends of your fabric so the ends can reach up to the seams of the pillow. Iron your folds as you go.
You can use this first piece of fabric as your guide for the other two pieces. Remember to fold your overlapping sides under to create a clean edge.
Next you’re going to lay the fabrics so that the sides you would like to be showing on your pillow are facing each other. Unfold all the creases you just made and use them to match up your fabrics. Pin the fabrics together along these creases.
Leave the overlaps folded under, but do not pin them down. These will create the opening so that you can slip the fabric over your pillow.
You will now simply stitch along all four sides, following the lines where you pinned your fabrics together.
Cut off excess fabric.
Turn inside-out (which should be the correct side), sew on a few buttons if you’d like and insert your pillow. Hoorah!
For two of my pillows (see the photo at the top of the article), I sketched a couple animal silhouettes onto some fabric with a piece of chalk. I then cut out that piece of fabric and pinned it onto an old wool sweater that I felted in the washer and dryer (if you have an old 100 percent wool sweater, agitate it in the washer and dryer to produce a piece of felt that won’t unravel at the ends).
Cut out your felted silhouette and simply use fabric glue to add to your pillow of choice. Pillow art. Lovely.
I’d like to dedicate this column to Nana June Sullivan. I was proud to call her my grandmother and quick to tell anyone she was an artist. She once told me she wished she painted more butterflies. Thanks for the wisdom and beauty, Nana.