My sewing skills can best be described as "rudimentary." If you want proof, just ask my long-suffering childhood 4-H sewing leader/mother. She tried her best to pass her seamstressy superpowers on to me with very limited success.
Nevertheless, I decided to blow the dust off of my hand-me-down sewing machine recently to make new cases for the pillows in my living room.
Luckily for me, envelope pillows are about the easiest thing in the world to sew. Four seams. No zippers. No button holes. No swearing at the sewing machine.
They're even easier to make when you cheat a bit by starting with fabric that's already been hemmed. And by "fabric," I mean "canvas drop cloths from Menards."
See that finished edge at the top of the (above) photo? I strategically cut my fabric pieces so that part would be on the edge of the two overlapping back pieces, so I wouldn't have to hem them myself. Here's a complicated drawing to explain a simple process:
Once I figured out how big to make my pieces, I started cutting.
I made three pillows at once (and to complicate matters, they were two different sizes), so I ended up with nine pieces.
When the cutting was done, I printed out numbers to stencil onto the front of the pillows. The numbers were larger than standard 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper, so I had to tile them together after printing.
Next, I traced the numbers onto a sheet of freezer paper.
Freezer paper has some kind of magical properties that allow it to stick to fabric when you iron it, which is why I used it.
After I had the numbers transferred, I carefully cut them out, creating a stencil.
I lined up the stencil where I wanted it on my pre-cut pillow front.
I decided to place my numbers a little off kilter so they'd be spilling off the sides instead of being perfectly centered.
Once the ironing was done, I broke out some black paint. (Mixing acrylic craft paint with fabric medium prevents the paint from cracking after it dries).
I know it looks like I'm just making a big mess, but, trust me, it will all turn out OK.
After I was done painting, I waited a bit for it to dry and then started peeling off the stencil.
This is always my favorite part: the big reveal.
All that was left to do at that point was to sew the pieces together, with the right sides facing in (so the pillowcase is inside out and the seam goes on the inside).
When I was done sewing, I turned the pillowcase right side out.
Then I stuffed the pillow inside. Here's the back, showing how the two pieces overlap.
And voila. The finished pillows.
It's kind of hard to see in the photos (especially since one of the pillows appears to be upside down), but the numbers on them are 09-16-89, which, coincidentally, is the date my husband and I got married.
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