Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Half-Pillow Tutorial!

I was inspired by this sleeve pillow tutorial to make pillows for 3 nephews that are moving from rural Canada to the big city. The pillows all have a strip of rural fabric in them to remind them of their last home. I modified the pillow case and the pillow a bit, so here are the steps to getting the cutest little pillows for kids.

Preparing the Pillow

Sometimes you can find pillows on sale, but they're just too big. In that case, measure the pillow and mark a line down the center on front and back.

Cut along the line through the fabric, making sure you meet up with the cut line from the other side when you get to the pillow edge.

Tear the stuffing apart down the middle. I took some stuffing out to make closing the pillow halves easier and to get a pillow that wasn't bursting and stiff.

Push the stuffing towards the closed side of the pillow and pin the front and back fabric about 2" in from the cut edge (makes sewing the edge easier!). Holding both cut edges together, fold them over a bit more than 1/4" and pin.

Sew along folded edge. Then sew a parallel seam 1/8" next to the seam to get a double seam for a longer-lasting pillow.

Here's my new baby-pillow next to the original size.

And shortly after that, both my big pillows were turned into half-pillows and I have a whole bunch of stuffing left for other crafty projects!

Making the Pillow Case

Choose the fabrics for your pillow cases. Here are my fabric pairs for the three pillows I made:

My pillows measured about 12" by 20" so I cut the following:

(***Note: I did away with the side seams by letting my framing (green) fabric wrap around from front to back)

Front frog panel: 12" x 12.5"
Left side front and back sleeve: 18" x 12.5"
Right side front and back sleeve: 14" x 12.5"
Sleeve-strip with rural fabric: 5" x 12.5"

Lay them out in the order you want them and sew the pieces together right sides facing.

Always sew double seams - the pillow cases will last longer around kids... Press seams to the side (I pressed towards the darker fabric).

For the edges of the sleeves in the back, fold your fabric over 1/2", press, fold over 1/2" again, press again - this will give you a nice finished edge.

Sew a scant 1/8" seam along the first folded edge, i.e. once you've folded over twice, you'll have an edge fold and an 'inside' fold, sew along the inside fold so that all folds are held in place.

Lay your strip right side up, place your pillow in the middle and fold the edges over, having the edge that you want to be the outside sleeve on the final pillow underneath, i.e. next to the pillow (when the case is turned inside out later, it'll be in the right spot). In this photo, I have them the other way around! The rural fabric will be the outside sleeve in the final pillow, I just put it on top here because the green sleeve blended in with the green background.

Once you're happy with the fit of the case, pin the sleeve edges together, remove the pillow and line up the top and bottom edges of the case to pin together. Here you can see that the rural fabric sleeve is sandwiched between the front and the second pillow sleeve, so when it's turned inside out, it'll face the outside.

Once you've pinned, check that your front panel is straight and has equal amounts of green framing fabric on both sides (unless you want the front panel off-set :).
Sew along the edges with a double seam again. Backstitch at the start and end of the case to strengthen the corners. Also backstitch at the two big bumps, which are the folded over seams of the pillow sleeve - these will get a lot of strain when the pillow is stuffed into them and during subsequent removals.

Here's your pillow case, ready to be turned over, from the back and the front.

Turn it inside out.

And stuff your pillow in!

I mixed up the direction of one of the urral fabrics, but that doesn't matter! The pillows turned out adorable and I'll probably make some more of them! If you make some pillows and would like to share the results, I'd love to see a photo and get feedback!


Katie B. said...

This is a great idea!

Anne at Film and Thread said...

Good idea! Travel size pillows are SO expensive and you can buy bigger ones for a lot less, esp. after you cut them in two!

Stefanie said...

What a great money saving idea!

Thanks for sharing.

Nanci said...

You clever girl! what a great idea for Christmas! I saw pillows at Walmart for $3.88 now that's a bargain.
Very good tutorial...I think I can follow this one.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

VERY cute pillows!

Leslie said...

these are such a great idea...and a wonderful way to help make the move a little easier

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