Monday, May 21, 2012

Sewing: Star Wars Envelope Pillow Cover

(ETA: I now have a step-by-step tutorial on making an envelope pillow cover with French seams.)

This was the next fun project I did after finishing the art smock the week before:

Yoda Jedi Master pillow cover

Making envelope pillow covers is fast and easy -- perfect for beginners. I made this pillow cover using two different Star Wars prints (purchased here) for a nephew's 5th birthday. I'd do a tutorial but there are so many good ones out there already. Here's a quick video tutorial to show you the basics of making a simple cover so you know how many steps it takes and what the project is supposed to look like during construction. (For instructions on making one with trim, see here).

The only things that I did for this pillow that required extra steps were to 1) measure and cut out my fabrics in a specific direction (in this case, both the Yoda panel and the back cover fabric had prints that worked best in one orientation, right way up) and 2) use French seams in the construction.

The size of the Yoda panel dictated the size of the pillow. Thankfully, it was almost perfect for a 16" x 16" pillow form. Given the size of the pillow form, you need to add an extra square inch to the fabric dimensions to get the correct size for the front cover. In this case, I needed to cut a 17" x 17" square of fabric. Cutting out the panel was a little dodgy because it wasn't printed on the fabric perfectly straight; if you look at the finished cover closely at the edges, you can see the unevenness and slight parallelogram shape of the whole thing. This bugged me, but I think it looks good enough and so do my critics in the house. :-)

For the back of the cover, you need two rectangular pieces. Add 5 inches to one of the dimensions to create enough overlap for the envelope, then cut the fabric in half across the longer dimension. In this case, I knew I wanted my envelope flap to cut across the pillow horizontally, so I cut a rectangular piece of fabric that was 17" wide x 22" tall -- and then I cut this in half to get two rectangular pieces that were each 17" wide x 11" tall. Then I hemmed the 17" wide raw edges that would create the envelope. Here is the wrong side of my envelope flaps, hemmed and already overlapping:

To make the French seams, I pinned the two envelope flaps to the front piece, wrong sides together and aligning the raw edges. I sewed around the whole square with a 1/4" seam allowance. I trimmed the seam allowance to 1/8", trimming diagonally at the corners without cutting into the thread to reduce the bulk when turning the corners.

I flipped the cover wrong side out and I pressed (ironed) the edges, using my fingers (or you can use a dull pencil or a bodkin if you have one) to push out the fabric along the seams and at the corners to create sharp edges. I then stitched all around the cover with a 1/4" seam allowance.

I flipped out the cover to the right side and pressed the new edges, again using my fingers to create sharp edges. I stuffed the pillow in there and voila, it was done!

Earlier, I did a practice pillow using the fabric that my kiddo picked out himself when we went to Joann's around Valentine's Day. He said he liked this better than the Star Wars pillow. Well, what does he know? He's only 4, and addicted to chocolate. It is cute, though. :-)

xo, Gladys


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