DIY Project: Throw Pillow Covers

*Note from the future: This is an old post from before I really knew how to do proper tutorials. If you have any questions or want any step clarified, feel free to drop me a line at vanduinenstudio@gmail.com!*

Originally published April 10, 2017

The closing date for our new house is (tentatively) set for April 28, (Edit: 2017) which means I’ve been packing and cleaning and sorting like a madwoman for a couple of weeks now. It’s causing me to look at all of our belongings with a very critical eye, meaning the local Goodwill has gotten a couple of large donations recently and will likely get at least one more before we’re outta here. (When did we get so much stuff?!)

This past weekend, I took a good, solid look at the throw pillows we’ve had on our couch since college. I’d made the covers, but I did not think ahead and make them removable. A dog, a cat, a baby, and five years’ general wear and tear had them looking…not fresh. Oh well, that’s an easy change to make. One trip to the fabric store, two yards of fabric, and a couple hours solved that problem.

I’ve been noticing a cool design trend lately: fabrics with watercolor-like prints in varying levels of saturation. The latest Better Homes & Gardens magazine featured throw pillows from bunglo.co, so I checked them out and came across this beauty. Sadly, I don’t have that kind of money for pillow covers, plus I already have inserts, so that added an unnecessary expense. An Etsy search landed a few options closer to the affordable range (like this cute bird and large abstract floral), but once I factored in shipping and everything, I knew I could make something just as pretty and cheaper. Here’s Elmo relaxing against the final result:

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I used this pattern as my inspiration, except I did sew the fold-over bits to prevent raveling long-term, and I added some handmade bias tape in a coordinating cotton fabric to the edge underneath to give it some further holding power. Hopefully, that’ll keep these covers on even with a kid and a dog jumping on them!

I did one cover at night after Olivia went to bed, and I made the second cover the next day while she was napping. I don’t know if I was just extra tired that first night or what, but the first cover took 2 hours, while the second one only took 20 minutes (including ironing and pinning). Oh well, at least I have the technique down now. My next pair will be so easy. And, in my defense, I had some impediments that first night (and a brother willing to capture the fun on camera):

The next day, piecing everything together went like clockwork.

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I’m really happy with how they turned out! This is by far my most professional pillow cover job to date. The fold-over back looks really nice:

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And once again, the finished project:

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Practice makes perfect! And nothing beats the personal touch of choosing your own fabric. I’m so excited for the fresh start in our new house. 🙂

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