Showing posts with label Pillow Covers. Show all posts

Wall to Pillow

Let’s see how I do at writing quick, short posts, shall we?

I’m just flying by today to commemorate some old pillow covers.  It’s out (and into the donate pile) with the old…

and in with the new!

Just over five years ago I wrote a post about those old covers; how I sewed them and then used a free stencil to paint a design on them.  I used latex paint leftover from painting the walls to paint the design, thinking I’d bring the exact wall color to the bed in the form of pillows.  I didn’t add any fabric medium or anything to the paint, just brushed it on straight from the can.  To this day, after being tossed in the washing machine a bajillion times, the paint hasnt peeled, cracked, or worn off one bit.

So, go grab yourself some plain pillow covers and grab that leftover paint you’ve got laying around!  There’s design to be had!

Pillow Talk

Our living room has been highly neglected in the past few years.  It’s walls are pretty much bare with the exception of a cross and an off-center painting, the rugs I’ve had on the floor have always been too small for the space (until recently we walked on the one that I bought for Sebastian’s room…see pic below), the hand-me-down club chairs are a cranberry color that isn’t necessarily a bad color but just not what I’d like, the pillows are all mismatched…
I thought we’d get everything in order back when we turned our thirfted coffee table into an ottoman but then other things got the priority and so the mismatched room has sat and sat.  We did move the furniture around some time ago though, separating the sectional to allow for a play area in the back corner of the room.  It’s not my favorite set-up since separating a sectional basically means you have two funky looking sofas but, it’s the most functional set-up right now while the kids are little. 

All that is about to change though.  It really all started last year on Black Friday when I found an 8 x 10 rug at Old Time Pottery for $73 (on sale from $130 plus an extra 15% off).  Actually, I found three that day and brought each one home and Anthony and I settled on a colorful, pixelated one.  It wasn’t my favorite but, oh you should feel it!  It’s thee softest, cushiest, non-shag rug I’ve ever stepped foot on.  We don’t even need a rug pad to boost its comfort level, it’s that comfy.  But anyway, it really got the wheels turning on how I needed to decorate this room to incorporate the rug and I knew that that process would be a tough one.  The rug could easily look western-ish and that is the total opposite of what I want.  I want light, bright, and modern with a hint of eclectic and a dash of classic…okay, basically I’m just throwing out words to tell you I want anything but country and moody.  Our beige walls were the first to change a few weeks ago.  We painted them white (Delicate White by Olympic).  A Debbie Downer:  We purchased Olympic paint + primer to do the job as they had the color we liked the best but were sadly disappointed.  We ended up having to do two coats and didn’t have a drastic color change going on in the first place.  Boo.

The next update I made in the room was to the pillows.  I finally got around to whipping up some zippered pillow covers for the existing pillows and two more pillow forms I’ve had stored away for this room for months and months.  And, I love how they turned out! 
I used a golden yellow geometric fabric (found on clearance at Hancock Fabrics for $10/yard), a pin-striped fabric from Old Time Pottery ($5.99/yard), and this colorful Neo Toile ($18.95 and my splurge).  I got two pillows out of a little over a yard so in total I spent about $40 to make seven covers ($47 including the zippers).  All of the fabrics are medium-weight home decor fabrics with the exception of the geometric.  It’s a light-weight and was a little tougher to sew with.  I was a little nervous about incorporating the colorful Neo Toile (even thought I absolutely love the fabric!) because I thought it might clash with the rug but I think that after all is said and done in here, it’ll blend right in.  It’s the craziest I’ll get though; everything else will be nice and mellow.  :)

So, the pillows.  I started by cutting out two squares of fabric for each pillow cover.  I did this by laying a paper template I made over the fabric, making sure it was straight.  Then I used a heavy vase of flowers as a weight, holding the fabric and template in place and together while I cut around the template.
[Aren’t the flowers gorgeous?!  They were sent to me on my birthday last week from some sweet, sweet friends.]

Using a template helped me make sure all of my squares were the same exact size.
Side note:  My pillows measure 20 x 20 inches so I made a 20 x 20 template using a bunch of piece of scrap computer paper that I taped together (I couldn’t find any other paper around this casa that was wide enough for me to use one sheet).  I’ve read that, for the best pillow cover fit, you should make your covers one inch smaller than your form so that’s exactly what I did.  After sewing using a half-inch seam allowance on each side, each of my covers ended up being 19 x 19 finished.

In the past I’ve made envelope-enclosure pillow covers, which are great but this time I went with zippered covers (my second try at them – here’s the first) because I love how you can use an entire piece of pattern fabric on the front and back without having to worry about the envelope disrupting the pattern flow on the back.  I used this tutorial from Design Sponge.  I followed her directions word-for-word except for the last part of installing the zipper.  When you’re almost to the end of sewing on the second side of the zipper, if you started from the bottom of the zipper, you won’t be able to sew right up and past the zipper pull.  It’ll be in the way and since you’ve already sewn the other side of the zipper, you’ll have no way to get to it to unzip it out of the way because of the basting (baste?) stitches.  So, what I did was, about an inch before I reached the pull, I secured my straight stitch by backstitching and then I cut the thread.  Next, I removed my pillow cover from the sewing machine and ripped out the basting stitches.  Once all the stitches were gone, I unzipped the zipper a little ways past where I stopped on the second side and sewed that last inch or so of the second side of the zipper on, backstitching at the beginning and end of that small area of stitches.  You can sorta see what I’m trying to explain and the area I had to ‘patch’ in this close-up:
I don’t know a way around this but I know there must be one because I haven’t seen any store-bought pillow covers with the small patch I’ve had to insert.  If you know how to avoid it, please let me know!!

In the Design Sponge tutorial, she clips her corners once she finished (that makes your corners more pointed when your pillow cover is right-side-out) and calls it a day.  You can also finish hems by cutting them with a shearing scissors, which helps them to not fray.  I’ve sheared lots of finished hems with success but this time around, I thought I’d take things to the next level and get out my serger that’s been sitting alone in a closet for the past three years; me too intimated to take it out and try it.  But, thanks to the encouragement and help from one of my household sisters, Marina (seamstress EXTRAORDINAIRE…guys, she made her own wedding dress!), I now am a proud, not scared, owner of a serger!  I wish I had gotten it out long ago!


Just look at that things handiwork!
[The threads are all different colors because I didn’t change them after the initial threading – using different colors helps the threading process since it’s a little complicated (but totally doable and the worst part!) and involves four different threads.]
Having kids means messes and, even though we don’t allow food in the living room, messes still somehow sneak in so it is so important to me that I’m able to wash our pillow covers.  Now I know that because all the hems are serged, I can wash these babies a hundred times and it’s unlikely that they’ll fray and fall apart.

Let’s talk edges.  Because I only bought enough fabric for what I needed, I didn’t have the option of matching sides (this is especially apparent with the Neo Toile) which is totally not necessary but on many high-end pillows, you’ll see exactly centered designs and matching fronts and backs. 

With the geometric fabric, I tried as best I could to line up the top seam so that it didn’t look too disconnected.  In lining up the top seam though, I had no choice on what would happen on the bottom, zippered end.  It’s a little funky but my concerns are elsewhere.
  PicMonkey Collage2

With the Neo Toile, I had absolutely no say on where the seam would land and in the end, they don’t look half bad (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself).  ;) PicMonkey Collage3

With the pin-striped pillows, I just made sure the stripes lined up along the side seams and didn’t worry too much about the tops and bottoms.
   PicMonkey Collage

I’m sorry I couldn’t write up a whole tutorial from start to finish but I scrambled to make these pillows during a few nap times so I didn’t take the time to take detailed pictures.  I thought I’d make it up to you by finding a good video tutorial I could share with you because I think they’re the most helpful when it comes to sewing and so I found this one by Sewing In a Straight Line that seemed to be the most helpful although I couldn’t find a super-detailed one that I thought a beginner could watch and get it.  Guess I’ll have to work on making my own one of these days.  :)


Next on the list, we have to deal with this issue that literally drives me crazy every time I prop up my footsies: IMG_5804
A pattern and color clash of interior designers’ nightmares that means we’ll be recovering the ottoman asap.  The rug looks a little darker in the above pic than in real life but even so, this is one relationship that’s not going to work.  I’m thinking a linen-esque gray or maybe a large-scale white and gray geometric (the rug has gray in it along with a gray edge-binding thread).  Originally I had my eyes set on this Portfolio fabric from OFS…
…but I ordered some swatches of it in two colors and I’m now thinking the two small-scale patterns might be too much.  What do you think?  I’m open to any and all suggestions!

I’ll be working on the living room little by little, actually I’m going wall by wall, and so I’ll share as I go but I’m also going to be working on a few other things here and there so I can’t promise a speedy reveal but it will get done and I’m so excited to get it there!  We’ve got lots of frames to hang, wall shelves to build, and (shhh…I haven’t announced this plan to Anthony yet) a possible mantel rebuild.  All while keep ourselves and the three toddlers alive, hence the turtle’s pace.  :)

What are you working on these days?  One thing or a few?

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P.S.  Thank you for your sweet words and eagerness to hear the rest of our love story!  I’m so excited to type up more and to relive those moments via the blog! 

P.P.S.  It’s party time!  I’m linking these seven couch potatoes up with Ana’s Cabin Fever Creativity Link-Up!

X, Y, Zipper

Zippers scare the he** out of this amatuer sewer (maybe seamstress would be less of a stink?) but I finally put the fear aside and whipped up (and when I say “whipped up” I mean turtled through because it took me a few hours more than I had over a couple of days) a couple of pillow covers for the pillows on our porch that were in dire need of clean ones.  Plus, I found this amazing outdoor fabric at JoAnn’s and had to have it so have it I do.1001512_691218696480_1114768472_n (Stolen from our Instagram feed)

I’m not here to give a full tutorial however, after a little more pillow practice maybe I’ll type out all the teethy ‘tails but if you’re hankerin’ to make your own zippered covers, I recommend this tutorial.  It got me through and has really good visual aids and my resulting pillow covers are functional and not falling apart (yet).  There are a few spots where I could’ve used a little more explaining but, like I said, it got me through. 

zippil 002 zippil 001
(Our wicker is in obvious need of repair and our porch in obvious need of a sweep but let that glorious geometric take you to better thoughts.)

I’m a sucker for being able to change my mind on a whim so of course one side is one fabric and the other, the other.  They’re not the most coordinating when it comes to the relative science of fabric marriage but they’re both super-cool, geometric, and invisible when the other shines.  Today it’s the navy, yesterday was the yellow, tomorrow?  Well, let’s just hope this pattern doesn’t continue because the girls scream and cry when I walk out the front door and I really don’t want kids with PTSD so…

What’s your fave side?

Anyway, like I mentioned above, the fabric is from JoAnn’s.  I happened upon it during a 50% off outdoor fabric sale with an extra 10% coupon in my hand so when all was said and done I walked out the door with two half-yards of each for a total of 10 beans.  The zippers cost me $1.50 at Wal-Mart bringing my grand total to $13.  Just like I like it…small and virtually unnoticeable to the budget nazi, me.  I love that the covers can easily be removed, washed, and replaced.  My relationship with zippers is still “complicated” moving towards “like” but you know I’ll keep you updated on that one.  It’ll be better than the Bachelorette right now, I can tell you that much.


So, about pesky zippers.  What’s your relationship status?  Do you prefer them only pre-inserted and from stores, is your fear holding you back, or have you mastered them?  If you’re a zipper master, what’s your fave tutorial or are you one of those greats that just figured them out all by your lonesome?  Let me in on it and then go out and have a great weekend! 

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P.S.  I’m still planning on pounding out a whole series on twins and how we’ve survived along with a few other things (beware or come read and have fun) – a day in the life, cloth diapering, you know, I’ve mentioned it before – so if you’re up for that sort of thing, stay tuned.  :)

Seeing Stripes

Anthony's parents were in town for Easter but before they came, I wanted to gussy up our guestroom - not that it needed any gussying up, I just needed a project.  :)  Sounds great, right?  The motivation to take on this minor makeover came the day I found out they had found tickets and their visit was a part of reality...aka 2 months ago.  The problem was that I just didn't have time to do what I wanted - more decorative pillows, a roman shade, lamps...  Well, I found time...a few days before their plane touched down.  The thing about last minute projects like this though is that, being a frugalista, deals are hard to find.  But, lucky for me, my guardian angel is also into interior design - the heavenly kind - and she pulled some strings for me.  :)
I've been hopelessly coveting this striped fabric over at Hancock Fabrics for a year now, but at $35 a yard, it was never my idea of "worth it", me thinking I could get half a weeks groceries for that price.  Well, I happened to walk in three days before Anthony's parents arrived and to my utmost joy and excitement, it was on sale for $8 a yard!  Still a little more than I'd like to spend, but since I only needed a little over a yard, who could complain!  Not me!  Plus, I got two pillows and a 'faux' roman shade (more details on that next time) out of it!
Home I went to whip up two new decorative pillows using my striped fabric for the front and some of the white shower curtain I used to make these pillows last month for the back.

Here are our new striped sensations:
The lighter blue in them matches our existing duvet cover perfectly and they add some "wow" factor into the room!  They also draw attention away from the bare walls, which we're not hammering into anytime soon since we're trying to sell this house.  The less holes to spackle over, the better on moving day.

You might've also noticed that the headboard got a coat of white.  It went from this:

 To this:
The end tables were also added awhile ago (found clearanced for $10 each) and won't stay dark for long either...just not sure what color they'll be yet...silver leafed? mustard or pale yellow with a glaze finish? light green? white with a painted pattern?  There are so many ideas in this little noggin', it's hard to tell what will happen.  :)

And More Pillows

Like I said two posts before, I think I'm addicted to making pillows...or to my sewing machine at least.  Fabric stores are like candy stores to me now (they always kind of were but it's just escalated since I found stitch-witchery and received my machine).  A few days after I made my porch pillows, I got out my Bernina again and away I went.  This time though, I made pillows for our master bedroom.  The best part about these two stuffed squares though is that they only cost me a buck to cover...yep, that's dollar.  That's because I used a Target shower curtain I found for $2 to make them.  :)
All of the inspiration and motivation for these pillows came from Jones Design Company, where Emily created and generously shared a beautiful stencil I knew I had to try!  She painted it onto her walls and I'm dying to try that avenue too (next house), but I tried pillow covers instead. 

Here's how it stenciled out:
First I made the pillow covers using half of the shower curtain using the same (probably unconventional) sewing techniques as my porch pillows
Then I pulled out the stencil I had just printed and traced onto cardboard.  In 20 minutes I had both covers stenciled and was bringing out the paint.

After contemplating what color to use, I ended up just going with the little bit of the blue-gray (Heaven on Earth by Benjamin Moore) wall paint we had left from painting our master.  It was free, it would match the room perfectly, and it would pull some blue onto our almost completely white bed.

So, after setting some newspaper inside the covers to ward off any paint bleeding that might occur, a-brushin' I went. 
I tried to be frugal with the paint use as all that was left was a light layer on the bottom of the can so I just painted a thin line over each penciled stencil.  After I was done, I realized and wished I had painted thicker lines since I had more than enough paint left but I was too excited to get them on the bed and move on so the thicker lines will beanother project for another day.

Here's our new, one dolla pillow covers:
I heart geometric prints!

On the flip side of my love-to-create life, I've been busy with all the things spring brings - Confirmation, babysitting, Easter planning, retreats, and more.  But I've still managed to fit in some projects here and there, including a minor guestroom makeover fit for parents.  :)  I cannot wait to reveal this one!  Until next week then, ta ta! 

Porched Pillows

Yay for you-tube how-to's, home decorators sewing books, and sewing machines...especially mine!  With those things I recently created my first-ever, 'real' pillow cover!  By 'real', I mean normal/sewn/minus bonding tape/like-the-kind-you'd-find-in-a-store pillow covers unlike the ones I've made in the past that you can see here and here.  
I would write up a tutorial but one - I don't have enough time at the moment, and two - I'm pretty sure I made up my own sewing rules during the process.  But they turned out AWESOME and they were so easy to make!  If I had my way, and enough pillows (and time) at my disposal, I'd probably make at least one day!

So anyway, as you all probably know by now, our dining area doubles as a workstation:
It's complete with iTunes and my beloved Bernina - the sewing machine given to me by a friend who didn't have a need for her anymore.  As far as worldly gifts go, she's probably the best thing I've ever received! 
So back to the topic at hand, you can see the two measured and cut-out squares of fabric waiting to be sewn to two other squares which had yet to be cut out.  (And yes, that long, yellow thing is Anthony's drywall square that I used to make sure I had some perfect squares...I have yet to go get an actual sewer's I've said before, you use what you got, right?)  As fabric goes, I used a half-yard of the floral fabric ($5 at JoAnn's) for the front side and for the back side, I used a Target tablecloth I found for $4.  All in all, (considering I used about 1/4 of the tablecloth) these pillow covers cost me around $7.  I already had thread and Scotch-Guard, which I sprayed 'em down with since their perch would be our porch.  :)
So, after threading, cutting, ironing seams, and sewing, this is what they looked like (inside-out) when I was finished:
I know they look a little 'un-square' in the picture because of wrinkles but in real life they're almost perfect!  It wasn't until I turned them right-side-out that I started jumping for joy and letting my happiness be known through screams of delight.  Then, after my happy tantrum I ran outside with Scotch-Guard and covers in hand, sprayed 'em down, let 'em dry (5 minutes), grabbed my yard sale pillows, stuffed 'em inside, and ran outside to adorn our free, made-over wicker chairs.  (P.S.  I'm not exaggerating when say write "ran"...I was way too excited to leisurely stroll.)
Here are my accomplishments:

How cute are they?  My heart melts every time I look at them.  :)

So, for fun, I thought I'd give the grand finale in porch pictures, showing how far it's come in the past 1.5 years.

Here's the "ewwww" it looked like from move-in day to almost 9 months later:

And here it is today - always waiting for a couple of coffee mugs (or sweet teas) and some relaxed rears to make themselves comfortable:
Now that's what we call 'Southern Comfort'.  :)

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By the way, I'm itchin' to paint the porch ceiling a pale blue so we can become true southerners and also to bring the sky a little closer...I just haven't told Anthony my idea yet.  What do you think?  Do it or don't?


This past Saturday we were fortunate enough to actually be at home all day and just lounge...okay, so maybe I'm stretching it a little on the lounge we ever just lounge?  We're the couple whose minds are always running.  Even Anthony's runs, along with his mouth, while he's asleep.  So anyway, we spent our day at home cleaning up the leaves in the yard, sweeping the patio, and tidying up the house.  By noon we were done and Anthony began his hide-out in the office for the rest of the day writing a paper for a grad class.  Then there was me.  Of course I can't just sit and watch T.V. or take a, I sought and found a project.

The small decorative pillow in our guestroom is simply an old pillow covered and folded with a standard size (not to mention very irregular) pillow case. 
 Yes, it's weird but I needed a decorative pillow that was white and that was all I had.  The problem, along with the pillow case being way to big, is that there's a gaping hole in the seam on one side.  This is how, Operation "Make a new pillow cover out of the existing case" began.

First, I turned the case inside out so that I could cut it to the shape I needed it to be.  Then, of course, it has to be sewn inside-out to look good right-side-out.  :) 
Can you see how irregular it was?  It figures since I only paid about 50 cents for it awhile ago. 
Since I wanted this to be a quick project because I had to cook dinner, I opted for heat 'n bond tape (so every time I write "sew", I really mean "iron together tape").  So after measuring my pillow, cutting the pillowcase to my measurements, and then ironing my seams together, I had a perfect pillow cover for my decorative pillow.  The end...or is it?

This is when I noticed I had some more time to fiddle around and saw the excess "pillow-edging" or whatever have you, just lying there silently begging to be used.
  And this is how my mind works:  Hmmm...what could I do with that?  Put it around the entire edge of my pillow?  No, it's not long enough.  Just sew one long piece across the face of my pillow to add character?  Okay, maybe.  (Thinking, thinking, thinking.)  Hey, why don't I cut a few pieces of equal lengths, sew in the edges, and create a 'pleated' look down the front of my pillow?!  Yeah!  (I know, my mind is a crazy place.)

So, I measured, cut, and sewed five equal pieces of edging.  

Then I figured out where the center mark on my pillow was and penciled in 5 equally spaced marks where each completed 'pleat' would go. 

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Side Note:
Have excess fabric lying around?  You can give a bland pillow cover character by doing what I did with any type of fabric, ribbon, or ruffles (or all of them together).  Using two or more coordinating colors or patterns would also be so fun.  You can also extend the pleats to cover the entire front (and back if you wish) of your pillow to create an entirely new cover.  Just have fun! 
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Finally, my afternoon delight...a new pillow cover.  

Free, taking up 45 minutes of my time, and just in time for dinner!  :) 

From Farm Girl to Seamstress

Let me begin with a laugh...I almost named this post "I'm An Official 'Sewer'", meaning a person who sews ('sewer' may or may not really mean that though) when I noticed that, coincidentally I could be telling y'all that I'm a festering puddle of human and/or animal excrement...great!  So, I nixed that title.  

On to more important things though...I made my first pillowcases today!  I also made my curtains with an actual 'sewing machine' rather than iron-on tape!  I am pretty much a professional seamstress...or, I'm really not.  I'm pretty sure I probably broke every sewing rule making these but it worked.  The only thing I've ever "made" by myself with a sewing machine was a tote bag for 4-H in like 4th grade...up until today.  But making that tote bag definitely prepared me for today.  :)  Let me give you the details.

A few days ago I was looking around in my favorite discount store when I found a light green, full size, flat sheet that matched the green of our duvet cover in our office.  It was Target brand and the best part...2 BUCKS!  I happily waltzed out of the store knowing that I could get a pair of curtains and two matching pillowcases out of that baby before I was done with it. 

So, this morning I set up my convenient, sewing workspace.
And yes, I will use the fact that our dining room also doubles as a great craft room as a selling point someday when we decide to sell this house.  :)

When I was out and about the other day dreaming about the new sheet I would soon transform I picked up a hand-held sewing machine (since I won't have a real sewing machine until Santa comes) at Wal-Mart for about $16.  Yes, cheap it is and my job it will do.

To make the curtains I simply cut the sheet in half, cut off the excess, vertical length after measuring my window, grabbed my little machine and wizzed away down the unfinished sides.  Before I started sewing, I ironed a crease down the side I sewed and drew a light line with pencil that I could follow to make things a little easier.

Here's a close-up of my cute, little stitches.  Not bad for a beginner, eh?  :)

I found a curtain rod for $5 at the same store I found my sheet, bought 14 curtains rings for $7, and up went my finished curtains.  I even hung the rod all by myself!  I was so excited!  It's the first time I've ever...or the first time Anthony's let me...hang anything but picture frames on my own! 
(Keep reading to see the finished curtains.)

Now on to the pillowcases.  First of all, I don't do zippers...or, I don't know how to do zippers (yet) so any way that I sewed a pillowcase had to be easy and done without any zippers.  My best friend is pretty much a genius though and (unknowingly) provided me with inspiration on how to make pillowcases that could easily come off and be washed.
First, I took the excess fabric left over from my sheet and decided to fold it in half so that the fold would end up being one side of my pillow...if that makes sense.  So I only had to sew three sides.

Then I measured the width of my pillow with a ribbon measuring tape from side-seam to side-seam to make sure I made my new cover the right size. 

The day my best friend inspired me with this project was when she used a standard sized pillowcase to cover a really small pillow by placing the small pillow inside the pillowcase and then folding the leftover 'case' into the back and inside of the encased pillow.  That is the only way I know how to describe it and I'm so sorry if it leaves your mind spinning.  So, I'd have to make my pillowcases longer than the needed to be and with one side open so that I could just tuck in the extra and untuck it when the case needed to be washed.
Hopefully this picture helps.
When the pillow is displayed from the front, you can't even tell the fabric is tucked in in the back...score for being easy, convenient, AND pretty!

So back to the sewing, after I sewed together the sides of my pillow (inside-out when sewing them together) and securing some ends with a quick seam, my cases were finished...well almost.  Next up is spicing them up with some white paint in some sort of design or maybe a monogram on the front.  But that's for another day.  :)

Here's my sewing masterpieces!  Sew cool!

As always, I want to know about your projects!  How do you make cheap cute?!