Hey friends! It has been 3 weeks since I have been by to say hi but I assure you I have been doing a ton of work! My house needed to get some serious organizing on. The type of organizing where you can’t stop to take pictures or tell the story of how or why you are doing what you are doing, you just have to getter done!
In the midst of all my organizing I caught up with my friend Jill from Sew A Fine Seam. You see, Santa brought me an awesome sewing machine for Christmas and I haven’t even had time to play around with it. Jill told me that she would be able to help me learn and answer any questions I had while following her tutorials. So we came up with a fun little plan for you to be able to visit “Sew A Fine Seam” for all the professional instruction and also visit me to see how someone who has never sewn anything before, is able to follow the instructions and give you the low down in layman’s terms 🙂
So the very first thing I want you to do is take a look at Jill’s instructions. I’ll wait…..
Great right??? But if you have never sewn before, things may seem a bit overwhelming (seem…see what I did there?) So here is how I did it in a not-so-professional, roundabout kinda way.
Cut the fabric to the size of your pillow form. Jill, suggests making your fabric the same size as your form so it keeps your pillow looking full instead of floppy. I hate floppy pillows. Don’t second guess this.
I had a 20×20 pillow so I cut my fabric to 20×20 for the front piece. For the back of the pillowcase, I needed two pieces to create the envelope. Both were to be the width of the front, 20”, then the second measurement is half the length plus 3” so my back pieces are 20”x13”.
See my sewing machine instructions in the upper right corner? Never a good sign 🙂
Jill says “use a serger stitch” well, I didn’t know what that was…so I had to do a little research. Turns out it is a way to edge a fabric so it doesn’t unravel, who knew?! I couldn’t find how to do that on my machine so I went with Jill’s second option which was a zigzag stitch. That one I could do.
One thing I had to figure out is how to secure the beginning and the end of a stitch so it doesn’t unravel. That is something I turned to my expert about….she said my machine should do it automatically so I really didn’t need to do anything, but that I could backstitch a bit so it is extra secure. Little did I know, my machine has a backstitch/reinforcement button and all I needed to do was push that at the beginning and end of the seam…Sorry for bothering you on that one, Jill! Moral of that story? Know your equipment!!!!
Use the serger or zigzag stitch on the 20″ edge of the back pieces. These edges will end up being the opening for you to shove your pillow form in. For that reason alone you want to make sure it’s nice and sturdy.
Once your zigzag is done you want to fold it over 3/4″, iron the edge flat and use a topstitch to make your seam.
At this point your two smaller back pieces should each have one finished edge with a lovely seam that is worthy of being seen.
Now you will sew one of the back pieces onto the front. You will be sewing them so that the pillowcase will be inside out when it’s finished. So make sure the correct side of each piece are facing each other especially if you are using a patterned fabric.
I used a joining stitch on this step because…well i have no idea why I chose that beyond it looking good and strong to me. Ignore the patched walls in the background, that’s the dining room in progress.
Jill suggests pinning your pieces together and while that would have been immensely helpful, I had no pins so I just winged it and hoped for the best. Note to self, if the professionals pin, you should pin to.
Overlap the second back piece onto the attached piece. That will crate the envelope. Once everything is in place, sew it together. Jill notes that she overlaps several inches so the pillow form doesn’t show. She is totally right. I am glad I followed that step correctly!
I got all three pieces sewn together “correctly” (I use that term loosely) and filled the pillow to see if I wanted to create the “flat piping” with a top stitch around the entire pillow or if I just wanted to leave it the way it was.
I chose to go for it with the top stitch. I was so scared I was going to ruin the entire pillow because I cannot sew in a straight line very well. I just lined up the existing edge with the edge of the presser foot (that’s the little flat piece that the fabric sits under as it feeds through the machine) and focused on keeping the edge in place as it went through the machine. This way, even if the line wasn’t straight, it would still line up evenly all the way around. I like to call it, consistently incorrect 🙂
I like it much better this way don’t you?
So, I finished it, but of course it isn’t perfect.
Here is the first side I put together.
Great! Totally lined up perfectly.
Now here’s the second piece.
My envelope closure came out good. Not perfectly lined up, but close enough.
Here are some newbie tips:
- Pins are your friend. Use them.
- Get a kick ass pair of scissors.
- Sewing and ironing go together. You can’t have one without the other or things get a little wacky and don’t end up where they should be.
- This may be the most important piece of advise I can give you…take it one step at a time. Honestly, you have to have the finished picture in your head but please oh please read directions and take it one seam at a time and the finished product will be great. It can get overwhelming if you read step 10 without completing 1-9.
- Read Jill’s blog. She has been sewing forever and she knows what she is doing. She is also super sweet. I have another project of hers that I will be doing soon so stay tuned.
- Now that your pillow is finished, scream from the rooftops that you actually sewed something!!!!!!!
This simple pillow has opened up so many possibilities to me for things I want to make because it is either cheaper or I can’t find exactly what I want in the store. Now that I can sew, my next project will be some custom roman shade for my dining room project that is currently underway. Is there a tutorial for that one Jill?