Monday, 22 October 2012

Gift Idea: Decorative Pillow Case

I wanted to make my little sister something special for her birthday as she is leaving home to go and live in another state. I decided on a decorative pillow case as she can have it with her to think of home while she is away!

-30 cm of fabric in 4 colours
-1 m white fabric (for back)
-sewing thread
-embroidery thread

Pretty prints in cotton

Pink flowers on yellow!


1. I started by measuring an old pillow case to get an idea of the size and amount of material needed. The measurements came back as 72 cm long, 48 cm wide. Using a 1 cm seam allowance, the cut pieces needed to be 74 cm x 50 cm. I cut out the back piece of the pillow case and another white piece for the lining of the patchwork section. I then cut a piece 50 cm x 25 cm for the flap that closes over the end of the pillow. 

2. I then created the pattern pieces for my patchwork squares. I decided to do a kind of crazy patchwork with pieces of all different sizes, so I cut some large and small squares and two different sized rectangles. These were measured carefully so that when pieced together they would match for 1 cm seam allowances. The measurements of these pieces were:

Layout of pillow case
Pattern pieces

Small square: 12 cm x 12 cm (for a 10 cm square)
Large square: 22 cm x 22 cm (for a 20 cm square)
Small rectangle: 22 cm x 12 cm (for a 20 x 10 cm rectangle)
Large rectangle: 32 cm x 12 cm (for a 30 x 10 cm rectangle)

I then carefully worked out a layout of the pattern so that I could sew each seam easily with no complicated corners (this is very important!) and counted the amount of each type I should cut out.

3. I cut out the fabric and laid it out so that I could make sure no same colour was directly next to another piece of that colour. This part was rather tricky and took a lot of rearranging until I was happy with the final arrangement.

My final arrangement

4. Starting with the bottom corner, I began sewing the pieces together, making sure that the order in which I sewed always made it possible to join them to another piece. For example, matching pieces of same length together such as the green and flowered pieces in the bottom left corner above. You cannot match the purple and green in the top left corner without first sewing the small flowered and purple squares to the large green square first. after sewing each seam I pressed the seam open at the back to create a neat, flat reverse side.

Pressed seams

Final product front view

Final product back view

5. After finishing the patchwork, I stitched the lining section to the front and ran some quilting stitches down down of the seam lines to hold the lining and front together.

6. Using some white embroidery thread, I stitched some words and shapes onto some of the empty quilt squares to personalise the pillow case. I used the words faith, hope and love and stitched some hearts. I then used the decorative stitch functions of my sewing machine and ran some cute stitches down some of the larger empty squares of the quilting.

7. After finishing the decorating, I stitched the pillow cover strip to the right side of the pillow case front. As I have no overlocker or serger, I use a seam technique (french seam) that completely hides the frayed edges, but uses a little extra fabric in the seam. For french seams, first sew the seam wrong sides together, and then trim. Them turn the fabric right sides together and sew the seam again, completely encasing the previous seam. Try this link for better instruction on french seams! Sew the pillow case front and back together now, using the same french seam technique.

8. Press and you have a beautiful, decorative pillow case!

No comments:

Post a Comment