Friday, November 22, 2013

Fall Pillow Cover Tutorial

  We've had our couches for about 5.5 years now I think.  For a long time I loved how the plaid pillows looked with the gingham fabric and had no desire to change them up.  But...then after a couple of years I began to tire of the same ol' same ol' all the time.  At some point I bought some coordinating floral fabric and covered one of the pillows using basically just a gift wrapping technique held together by fabric tape. (Mad skills right there!)  Later on, I added a smaller pillow that I had made a faux grain sack pillow cover for.

But I what I really wanted was a set of covers that I could slide over the pillows and change up for the different seasons.  With 2 kids, and a dog who loves to lay on top of the pillows to sleep, they get dirty quick.  The idea of being able to easily take them off to wash them really appealed to me.  Plus, if you just have covers they can pack flat in a storage box and take up no room at all.  Trying to pack away a tub full of pillows that are just for fall or just for Christmas takes up way too much valuable space.

  This is something I've been wanting to do for over a year, so finally I just went for it.

I found a "before" picture and cropped it down so you could see what the pillows looked like.  By themselves they're just fine, but add in a vintage wool plaid blanket with fall colors and it began to clash horribly (or look kinda Christmas-y when you're going for an autumn look).

A few hours of sewing later and I had this. much better!   A lovely change.

Now let me share how I made these, because I'll be the first to tell you that I have very minimal sewing skills.  I wasn't about to attempt anything that needed a zipper or a button hole sewn in.  But these envelope style covers are as easy peasy as it gets I think.

I followed {this video tutorial} for the cover itself.  It's explained very well and SO simple to do.  I actually didn't sew it completely at first though.  I did the hem on the short ends and then sewed my leaf pattern on before I finished sewing the cover.

For the leaf, I printed out an image with the shape I wanted.  It actually wasn't quite big enough so I ended up tracing around it to make it bigger.  Then I laid it over the wrong side of the fabric and traced it pushing down firmly so that it would leave an imprint on the fabric.  Every few inches I would carefully lift the paper and trace the impression left on the fabric with a pencil.  (There may have been an easier way to do this, but I couldn't think of one at the time.)

Here you can see the pencil outline.  I edited the picture so that it would stand out more.  After that I cut out the shape, laid my tan fabric over the pillow so that I could see where to position the leaf, and then pinned it in place.  (After the fact, I realized that it would have been much easier if I had sprayed the back of the leaf with some spray adhesive so that it held in place smoother and more tightly.)

Then I got to sewing.

You know those pictures you see on Pinterest of dreamy craft rooms that are as big as my entire living room and kitchen combined?  You know the ones that have a scrapbooking table, a sewing table, and tons of adorable organization going on?  You know, something like this...


Yeah....that's not mine.  I could only wish for something like that.  Here, on the other hand, is my "craft room."

Yep, that's reality folks.  We had to eat supper in the living room that evening.

Anywhoozy...I sewed the leaf on leaving a space at the edge so that the fabric would become raggedy after washing.  I also clumsily sewed some "veins" on the leaf as well.  I've never attempted anything more than a straight stitch before so this whole leaf sewing thing was a new adventure for me!

I followed the same tutorial for the smaller brown checked pillow, just using different measurements.  I added the strip of tan before sewing the cover shut just like I did with the leaf, and left the edges of it raggedy as well. 

 I assumed I was going to have to wait awhile until I could get to a big craft store to find cute buttons to put on it, BUT on a whim I decided to just check and see what our Walmart in town had and low and behold they had these adorable buttons!

Don't they look like little crocheted doilies?  SO cute I tell ya!!

I have enough fabric left that I plan on making another leaf cover for a 2nd pillow, only using a maple leaf design this time around.

 If you've been wanting to attempt pillow covers, but aren't sure because of a lack of sewing skills or some other such fear, I'm here to say, "If I can do it, you can do it."  Just go for it!  Mine aren't perfect by any means.  Some of my stitches are a little wobbly, and my envelope flap actually ended up the wrong direction, but you probably wouldn't have known that if I hadn't told ya.  And neither will anyone else if you make some.  Find some cheap clearance fabric and do a practice run with that first if you need to, but just go for it.  It really is quite simple and you'll be incredibly happy with the new look and so proud of that fact that you made it!

If you'd like to see the rest of my fall decor you can see that {here}.


  1. LOVE THEM!!! When will mine arrive??

  2. Omg, I have the same sofa and have been wanting different pillows. I have had the material laying in my dining room for a month now. It is a rainy, cold weekend and I can't wait to hop to it and make pillow covers!


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