September 29, 2010

diy - outdoor pillow covers

This happens to be my 3rd set of pillow covers. I've been making them to change up my front porch decor on a seasonal basis. They are quite simple to construct and a very inexpensive way to give your porch entryway a little sparkle each season! I like to change things with the seasons and if you're like I am, you need to do this on a budget. It will cost about $8 - $10 a yard for outdoor canvas plus the cost of thread and ribbon you can cover two 16.5" x 17" pillows. Now I don't know about you but that is a huge cost savings for me compared to the $30 + per pillow at some of my favorite shops.

Here's where you start...
Grab some pillows that you've got lying around that need some freshening up!

Decide on a color scheme based on your decor or the season. You can get even more in vogue and visit this site to see what's on trend in fashion for the upcoming seasons.

Measure the width and height of your pillows from seam to seam to figure out how much yardage you will need. 1 yd. is sufficient for the size pillows I've been covering.

Head to your local fabric store and choose your fabric, thread and ribbon. If you shop like I do you'll have a wallet full of coupons to use if the items are not on sale already.

When you get home you're first step is to lay your fabric out and get ready to cut. Here's where a large cutting mat, rotary cutter and large clear ruler come in handy. You will thank me for giving you a heads up on this. I wish someone would have told me when I took on my first sewing project. It was baby bedding and I was trying to use my measuring tape, a regular ruler and a pair of scissors to get straight cuts on large pieces of fabric. Needless to say I was talking to a fabric store employee about my frustrations and she pointed me in the direction of those three tools. It was a GOD SEND!!!

Once you've got your measurements add 5/8" (.625") all the way around. So a 16.5" x 17" pillow cover done in this manner needs a 17.75" x 18.25" back piece cut and then the front needs 2 pieces of fabric cut large enough so they overlap when the pillow is completed. The width remains the same but the height will change to 11.25". Now remember you need two pieces cut 11.25 x 18.25". Cut the decorative ribbon that you'll be using to embellish the front to the same width as the fabric. You'll also need ribbon for the ties if you want that detail so make sure you purchase enough.

The last step before you can begin sewing is to fold the bottom half of the top flap and the top half of the bottom flap over 5/8",  iron those folds into place in preparation for top-stitching one of your ribbon choices to the face of the top pillow flap. The top flap is the only one that gets the ribbon embellishments on this particular style.

1. Shows all the cut pieces that go into making this type of pillow cover

2. Wide ribbon pinned to the underside of the top flap in preparation for top-stitching

3. Top-stitching in progress

4. Once the top-stitching has been completed using the wide ribbon, pin the two thin pieces of ribbon into place being careful to keep the ribbon straight. Using a ruler on this step can be helpful. After completing the top flat go ahead and do the top-stitching on the bottom flap. It is actually hidden under the top flap when the cover is complete so adding the ribbon underlay would be a waste.

5. If you are going to attach ribbon ties this is when you'd want to baste them into place. Cut the ribbon to a length that would be sufficient to go around whatever you'd be attaching your pillows to. My ribbon ties needed to be roughly 16". Now measure 3" in from the top two corners of the top flap. Align the ribbon with the top half of the flap and pin. Baste them into place so they don't move when you're sewing the front and back together.

6. Right side of fabric needs to be facing each other. Make sure the top flap is put down first and then the bottom flap. Be careful that the ribbon ties that you basted into place are tucked down into the pillow and aren't in the way of your stitching path. Pin the entire pillow together and then sew around the edges using the 5/8" mark on your machine as your guide.

7. When that's complete clip each of the 4 corners on a diagonal being careful not to cut into your stitches. This step will give your pillow a nice sharp corner when turned right side out.

Voila!!!! You've got yourself a beautiful pillow that won't get blown all over your front porch when the autumn winds a gustin' because you were clever and thought ahead. Your pillow is tied in place with fancy-schmancy, grosgrain ribbon!

I just had to post this last photo. Can you find the hidden picture?

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!!!

Happy Sewing!!!

Jenny K.


  1. Haha! I love the pixie in the window! Why do I imagine myself dusting off one of my sewing machines after reading this? ;)

  2. Love the blog! Jenny, you are such the domestic diva...Your projects are so inspiring! I might actually get brave enough to try and tackle a project or two--possibly even bake. Keep the creative posts coming!

  3. Wow! Gorgeous pillow covers Jenny! Thanks for the inspiration!


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