Last week I stopped in at the Steinmart store in Asheville and while I was perusing the home decor, I saw the cutest and most cheerful springy pillow. I snapped this photo in the store.
After leaving the store, I made a quick stop at Joann Fabrics to pick up a few supplies so I could make my own cute spring pillow covers based on the inspiration one I saw at Steinmart. I picked up a piece of teal blue felt ($.49) , a fat quarter of a floral print fabric ($1.49), 1/2 yard of Wonder Under ($1.50), a package of teal piping ($1.99), and fabric markers in brown ($3.49) and fine point black ($3.49). I had coupons for 40% off one item and 20% off my entire purchase, so my whole purchase cost less than $10. I already had some fabric on hand so I didn’t need to purchase the main fabric for the pillow covers. I also had a zipper that I could use. I prefer sewn, zippered pillow covers, but I also made a couple of no-sew versions.
In this rather lengthy post I detail the steps I followed to make each of three versions of this pillow.
Version # 1: This version is a pillow cover for a 12″ x 16″ pillow insert and is sewn on a sewing machine.
- Cut out the front panel, a rectangle 13 1/2″ x 17 1/2 “. Zigzag stitch around the rectangle 1/4″ from the edge to prevent raveling. (Note: my sewing machine is more than 30 years old, so I don’t have lots of the newer options. Zigzag stitching is my best option to prevent fabric raveling.) Sketch a branch on the front panel using the brown fabric marker. Pin the cord piping along the seam line (5/8 ” from the edge). Make sure the piping is toward the center of the piece and the other edge is toward the outside edge of the fabric.
- To join the two ends of the piping: Cut the piping with approximately a one inch overlap. Open the stitching on one end and cut the piping cord inside to the correct length to butt up against the piping in the other side. Fold under 1/2″ of the raw edge on the 1 inch tape overlap and pin down.
- Machine baste along the 5/8″ seam line all the way around the front panel. Snip the piping at each corner as shown to allow the piping to lay flat inside the seam.
- Set the front panel aside. Cut a piece of the Wonder Under with paper backing the same size as the piece of felt and one the same size as the fat quarter. Follow manufacturer directions to use an iron and a pressing cloth to adhere the rough side of the Wonder Under to the wrong sides of the felt and fabric.
- Use a pattern to cut out three felt birds and one fabric bird. The pattern can be flipped over depending on the direction you want the bird to face. Pay attention to the direction of each bird before cutting it out. Once the birds are cut out, they can’t be flipped over because the Wonder Under side must be the back. (My scanner is kaput, so I was unable to scan the patterns I used. Instead I made a document with several other bird silhouettes. Download the pattern document HERE: Bird Silhouettes)
- With the black fabric marker, draw an eye on each bird. Arrange the birds on the front panel. Pin each bird to hold in place. Take everything to the iron.
- Unpin one bird and remove the paper backing. Position it on the front panel with the Wonder Under side down and cover with a damp pressing cloth. Iron approximately 15-20 seconds to attach the bird to the front panel. Repeat with each bird.
- Cut out two panels for the back of the pillow. One back panel should be 7 1/2″ x 17 1/2″. Zigzag around the panel. Fold under 3/4″ toward the wrong side and press. The second panel should be 9 1/2″ x 17 1/2″. Fold under 1 3/4″ toward the wrong side. Turn fabric to the right side. Pin and then stitch the right side of a 16 ” zipper (facing up) to the first (smaller) panel with the left side extended beyond the panel. Lay the other panel on top right side up overlapping one inch. Pin each end to hold. Flip the fabric and zipper over and pin the zipper to the wrong side of the second panel. Then stitch the second side of the zipper.
- Now the back panels should look approximately like this. (Note: I didn’t have a 16 inch zipper, so I had to use a longer one and my zipper extends beyond the panels in the photo.)
- Open the zipper at least half way (VERY IMPORTANT). Lay the front and back panels right sides together.. Pin along the seam line.
- Stitch along the seam line. Trim the corners on the diagonal. Turn the pillow cover to the right side. Press.
- Use the black marker to outline the fabric bird and to add a “stitching line” to the felt birds.
- Fill with the pillow insert. Ta da!
Here are the one I saw at Steinmart and my version.
Version # 2: This version is a no sew pillow cover for a 12″ x 16″ pillow insert.
- Cut a rectangle of fabric 28″ x 17″. Fold under 1/4″ on each end and press with an iron. Fold under again 3/4″ on each end and press.
- Cut a piece of 1/2 inch wide Stitch Witchery hemming tape 17″ long.
- Place the tape under the fold on one end of the fabric and press with an iron to adhere. Repeat on the other end.
- Fold one end up 8 inches (wrong sides together) and press.
- Fold the other end up 5 3/4″ (wrong sides together) and press.
- Unfold pressed fabric and turn wrong side out. Fold up the 8 inch end. Cut 2 pieces of the Stitch Witchery hemming tape and place on each end. Press to adhere. Repeat with the other end. Turn pillow cover right side out and press.
- Turn the pillow cover right side out.
- Tear a piece of waxed paper and insert inside the pillow cover to prevent the marker ink from getting on the back side.
- Draw a branch on the pillow cover using the brown fabric marker.
- Cut out birds and attach as in Steps 4-7 of Version 1 above.
- Add outlining detail as in Step 12 of Version 1 above. Here is the final product.
Version # 3: This version is a no sew pillow cover for a 16″ square pillow insert.
Using a pre-made pillow cover, I followed similar steps to both the other pillows to sketch the branch and to cut out and attach the bird appliques. However, due to the larger size, I decided to add a fifth bird.
So there we are…three versions of my inspiration pillow. Although I prefer the sewn version with the piping and the zipper, I wanted to show the other two options for those who don’t sew to see that you can get a similar look without sewing.
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