How To Make Pillows Fast!

3 outdoor pillows

Because we have a wedding in 2 months,

because my outdoor pillows and cushions are completely sunfaded,

and because I had about twenty minutes on my hands,

I decided it was time to recover them.

And I thought you’d like to come along and learn how to make pillows fast!

Heads up: There won’t be any zippers, velcro, snaps, buttons, or anything!

Are you game?

(If you’d like a pillow with a zipper, check out this post on How to Sew a Zipper Into a Pillow, the Easiest Way Ever!)

Ok, let’s talk fabric.

I know there are fabrics on the market that claim to be sun resistant, but they are $20 per yard.

So, each year, I choose fabrics that I like that are dirt cheap and on sale.

And each year I have to recover them because the indirect sun bleaches the tar out of them.

So, my advice is: pick what you like, taking into consideration your budget, the location of the pillows, the durability factor and the colors you like.

Here’s a photo of one of the old faded pillow covers..

I’ve folded the front back a little so you can see the difference between the front and back:

fading from sun on fabric, pillows fast, 1253

Basically, I make what they call envelope pillows.

There are probably a bunch of other names for these as well.

I buy pillow forms (or you can make them) in the sizes I want from Joann Fabrics.

Ikea has some really great forms for even less money than your local fabric store.

Then, I just create a pattern that will fit the pillow.

The idea is to make the finished cover a little smaller in dimensions, than the pillow form, all the way around, so they fit nicely and not too loosely.

You can make a pillow with one fabric. That would be the easiest way. I’ll cover that later in this post.

For now, I want to start with making the first pillow using a very basic patchwork look.

It might look harder than it is.

Here’s the beginning of the first cover:

pieced piece of outdoor asian pillow, 1264

As you can see, I cut out a square of the flowery fabric. Then I sewed borders to the sides and then borders to the top and bottom edges.

(The finished cut dimensions are supposed to be about a half inch less all around than the pillow form.

Then, we will use a half inch seam allowance, making the cover about an inch smaller (overall) than the form.)

Here’s how the back looks:

back side of pieced outdoor pillow, 1265

The white strip is the selvedge of the fabric.

Sorry, that is lame, but it was because I was under a time crunch and too lazy to trim it off.

Next, I lay out the fabric that I will use for a backing:

front pieced pillow outdoor pillow, 1266

See how I cut it even with the front on 3 sides?

That fourth side needs to extend about half of what the length of the pillow is.

SO, if this pillow is 12″, add about 6 more inches.

I just eyeball it. Don’t worry about it. You’ll be close enough.

Pull the front of the pillow away.

Now, cut the backing into two separate pieces, (they should not be equal in size). One should be longer than the other.

Offset it a bit.

The picture below shows how I cut mine:

2 pieces of fabric back for outdoor pillow, 1267

Serge or zig zag the edges of each fabric piece, if you like, to keep them from unravelling.

Now, fold back one cut edge of the backing fabric and lay it down over the front of the pillow, right sides facing each other. Be sure to line up the 3 edges around the sides and bottom of the pillow fabric:

one piece of back of outdoor pillow, 1268

Next, lay the other backing piece over the top lining up the top edges and pin it all, right sides facing each other. The pieces should overlap in the middle area:

back pieces over the front piece of outdoor pillow, 1269

Pin the edges together and sew all the way around the pillow with a one half inch seam allowance:

stitching fabrics pillows fast, 1270

Turn the pillow right side out and stick in your pillow form.

That one is finished.

Solid One-Piece Pillow:

Let’s make a simpler pillow next.

This one is made with one long continuous piece of fabric. You can make it by cutting out your fabric across the width of the fabric.

I lay the original old pillow cover on my new fabric. You can also just use the pillow form if you like.

folding fabric in thirds to figure out size of outdoor pillow, 1257

I fold the new fabric in thirds. Do you see how the white selvedges don’t line up and they overlap? That’s what you want.

Again, you can cut off the selvedges if you want.

You may need to cut them off if you are making a smaller pillow than I am here.

Because it’s one long piece of fabric, all you have to do is fold that fabric in thirds, just like in the photo above and pin it on the sides:

stitching right sides together outdoor pillow, 1259

On this pillow cover, you only have to stitch down the two sides (because the other two sides are folded edges).

Use a half inch seam allowance again.

Turn the cover right side out.

Do you see how the one edge covers the other?

back side of outdoor pillow, 1260

Insert the pillow form.

pillow form going inside outdoor pillow, 1261

How long did this last one take you?

Six minutes?

Isn’t that awesome?

Make a few more and you’ll be set for the summer!

3 outdoor pillows fast, 1271