Thursday, October 10, 2013

DIY Throw Pillow Tutorial

Disclaimer:  This post is a BEAST!  There are a lot of pictures...most of them not great quality...I'm lazy and use the iPhone most of the time. :)  Please don't become overwhelmed by the amount of is not as much work as it seems!  Just 4 basic steps...with a lot of detail in between.

Ok, let's get started!!  If you missed out on the supply can be found here.

No. 1:  Cut front and back pieces.

Take measurements of your pillow.  (As a reminder, this tutorial is strictly for down pillows)  My pillow measures 34.5" x 19.5".

Subtract 1/2" from width and 1/2" from height to figure out measurement of both the front and back panel of fabric.  For example, my fabric will be cut 34" x 19".

For my pillow I will be using a gold velvet on the front and a patterned compliment on the back.

Using your large ruler and cutting mat, cut front and back panels.

Obviously the goal here is to have nice straight lines, but this is not a precision project.  If the ruler slips a tiny bit or your edge ends up a tad crooked, it will be ok.  You can compensate for most things when you put the seams together.

With the "right" sides together, I folded lengthwise.  Then, using my folded edge as a straight edge I lined up the fold with a line on the cutting board and cut both edges of the width first.

Next, I folded the two cut edges together and again using my fold as my straight edge I cut both sides of my height.

That all sounds way more difficult than it is.  Trust me.

No. 2:  Install cording.  If you missed my tutorial on how to make your own cording, you can find it here.

While looking at your fabric, decide which edge will be the bottom edge of your pillow.  If you have a fabric with a pattern, usually this is obvious.  If your fabric is a solid, just pick what you like best.  The cording will be sewn to the right side of the pillow...line up the raw edges of the cording and pillow front starting in the middle-ish of the bottom edge of the pillow.

Begin sewing with a longish stitch (3.5-4) leaving about 1.5 inches unsewn at the beginning.  No need to backstitch.   

Use a light tension against the cording with the zipper foot.  Sew until you near the first corner by about 2.5 inches.  Then, take scissors and clip in the seam allowance in intervals of approx 1/4" for about 3 inches...enough for the cording to bend around the corner.  I'll then line it up around the corner and begin to sew.  Take your time and go slowly around the corners...makes it easier.

Continue sewing on straight edge and repeat process until you near where you began.  Leave about 2-3 inches.

Trim cording with an overhang of about 1.5 inches.

Now, with the help of a seam ripper if needed, gently peel open about 2 inches of the cording sleeve.

Trim cording at the place where the cording would meet if it were one continuous's always best for it to be a hair longer than necessary here than short.  You can always trim more off if need be.

Fold over end of cording sleeve

Now, lining up with beginning end of cording... place the beginning edge in the sleeve.

Fold over and straighten.

Now stitch.  You can kind of straighten and tighten as you go here if you feel it is a little loose.  When you pass where you began stitching to begin with, backstitch a few stitches.  Clip threads and you're done with cording!

Here is where I'm going to show you just how crooked the edge can be sometimes.

I show this to encourage my fellow perfectionists out there that this is fine.  It will NOT be noticeable in the final product, so don't stress.

No. 3:  Next up, the zipper!

With the backside of the fabric in front of you, identify which edge is the bottom.  The zipper will be placed on the bottom edge of the fabric, approximately in the center, face down.  The zipper I used for this project was an upholstery zipper that was actually a little longer than I would normally use.  I recommend sticking to the polyester zipper listed on the supply list...much easier to use.

Pin in a few places.

Starting at the end of the zipper, begin stitching (length 2-3) so your needle is a 1/8th or so away from the zipper teeth.

As you approach the end with the zipper head, stop with your needle still puncturing through the zipper and fabric.  You may need to lift the foot, but slide the zipper head behind the foot to ease sewing to the top edge.

When this is finished, you will have something that looks like this:

Line up both bottoms of your pillow with right sides facing together.  Place a pin in the general middle where your zipper will be sewing to your cording.

Unzip zipper and pin every few inches.  These pins are just a guideline.  I guarantee you won't sew exactly where you pinned, but they help hold things in the general vacinity.

You want to sew as close to the teeth as possible without interfering with them.

As you near the end, close the zipper a short distance so it's easier to finish.  Backstitch at the end.

As you can see, it's a big tricky to get close to the teeth and my stitches are little jagged.

So, close the zipper and flip your project over.

Now, make stitch a pass over the nearest stitching line to your cording below.  You can kind of feel based on the bulk where you should be stitching.

When you are finished and you lay out your project, it should look something like this.

However, we want to hide the teeth of the zipper for our final product, so we are going to make a casing to hide them.  This is a little hard to explain, but with your project laid out as above, pull the back fabric down and pin to cover zipper.  It will create a fold that meets at the cording.

Then, starting at the edge with the cording to the left of the zipper, begin sewing (2-3 length) a straight line catching only the back fabric and the zipper below.  This will create the flap to hide the zipper.

As you sew down the row, pull pins as you go.  There may be a more technical way to do this, but I just eyeball my measurement...keeping the line running parallel to the cording.

When you get to the end, raise the zipper foot, keeping the needle in the fabric.

Turn the fabric 90 degrees, put zipper foot back down, and stitch across zipper to meet cording.  Backstitch this a couple times.

Then, go back to the other end and stitch across zipper from cording to flap stitching, making sure zipper head is underneath flap section.  Backstitch a couple times here as well.

Zipper done!! Check!

No. 4:  Sew around edges.  

Home stretch!! 

With zipper at the bottom and right sides together, begin pinning on the top, in the center.  Continue pinning top edge working from the center to sides.  Some fabrics are stretchier than others, so keep a light tension to keep fabric from puckering when you sew them together.

Depending on the fabrics used, when sewing cording to the front face fabric it may have "shrunk".  This is why it's a good idea to pin from the center working out.  You have a little more control easing the excess fabric out at the corners.  

View of my excess fabric
After top is pinned, continue onto sides.  Follow the same procedure pinning the center first and working to edges.  

At the corner by the zipper closure, make sure fabric will lay nicely next to cording.

With fabric laying as smooth as possible, wedge zipper foot back as close to zipper closure as possible and begin sewing front and back pieces together.  It is not necessary to get the zipper foot up super tight to cording.  And a basting stitch (4ish) may be used for this pass.

When you finish stitching the two layers together all the way around, flip project over and stitch on the other side.  This time, stitch as closely to the cording as you can...using your previous stitching lines as a guide.

When you finish going clear around the pillow, slip fingers in the zipper opening and open it all the way.  Flip pillow right side out!

I usually do a quick check of my cording all the way around, just to make sure than no stitching is showing and no sections got caught accidentally or something.  My seam-ripper is always handy! :)

If everything looks good, flip back inside out and trim seam allowances around corners.  This just allows corners to lay a little nicer.



Flip back right side out!  Stuff with your pillow!

Congratulations!!! You did it! Time to marvel at your work!


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