Sunday, February 8, 2015

From Pillow to Post

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.

envelope pillow

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." 

envelope pillow

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.

envelope pillow

I made three pillows at once (and to complicate matters, they were two different sizes), so I ended up with nine pieces.

envelope pillow

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.

envelope pillow

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.

envelope pillow

After I had the numbers transferred, I carefully cut them out, creating a stencil.

envelope pillow

I lined up the stencil where I wanted it on my pre-cut pillow front.

envelope pillow

I decided to place my numbers a little off kilter so they'd be spilling off the sides instead of being perfectly centered.

envelope pillow

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). 

envelope pillow

I know it looks like I'm just making a big mess, but, trust me, it will all turn out OK.

envelope pillow

After I was done painting, I waited a bit for it to dry and then started peeling off the stencil.

envelope pillow

This is always my favorite part: the big reveal.

envelope pillow

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).

envelope pillow

When I was done sewing, I turned the pillowcase right side out.

envelope pillow

Then I stuffed the pillow inside. Here's the back, showing how the two pieces overlap.

envelope pillow

And voila. The finished pillows.

envelope pillow

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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