During the decorating phase of our deck project I wanted to incorporate some textured pillow. I’ll be making them a on a budget. One day when I was at Hancock Fabric I was wandering around in the drapery section, and found Drapery Pencil Pleat Tape.
Bingo – this would provide me the look I was after! Texture, unique and budget friendly!
See the texture, I love it, and they were not difficult to make.
How to make a 18×18″ envelope pillow…
Step 1 – I made the pillow out of drapery lining fabric (had on hand). It was used for both the front (attach pencil pleat tape) and back. A local Jo-Ann’s had a going out of business (loss their lease) sale and I picked up the fabric on sale for 2.99 (make all my drapes/curtains) so stock piled about 30 yards) usually $6.99 a yard. Yeah!
Notions you’ll need: scissors, measuring tape, pins, fabric marker, thread and 3″ drapery pencil tape. I’m have a tendency to over calculate the yardage needed for a project. Bought 5 yards, and I think I ended up using 3 yards. The drapery pencil tape is 2.99 a yard and I used a 50% off coupon.
Step 2 – True up your fabric!
Before you use any fabric, an IMPORTANT step before cutting/sewing is to “true” up your material. DON’T freak out, it’s just a sewing term used to make sure your material is on grain (square).
Have you ever bought a pair of pants, and a leg runs inward (or outward – could be a sleeve too). It doesn’t sit right on your leg, and feels funny? Your pant can turn inward or outward. Looking down at your pant leg (when you have them on) you can see the seam isn’t running straight down your leg, it curves.
Why? The fabric was not “true” (squared) before cutting/sewing the pants – the material is off grain causing it to turn in or out.
Most books recommend “folding your fabric selvage (finished edge) to selvage, smooth the fabric out and cut method. But this can often result in a somewhat off grain cut.
I’m a ripper! Yep, a ripper. To me this is the best way to true up the fabric. It’s quick, easy and gives great results.
Just take a snip 1/4 to 1/2″ (mine is 1 1/2″ because this fabric was really uneven) and RIP! It’s fun, really! There’s something cool about hearing the fabric ripping (no I’m not weird).
See how the fabric is ripping straight (some fabric will not rip, you’ll know right away, if this happens use the selvage to selvage method).
The ripped edge will be distorted and wavy, but to me, this is the best way, in my opinion. You can rip your fabric width and length wide, then just press it flat out.
Step 3 – Measure out 19″ (for a 18″ pillow form). Take a snip and RIP!
The fabric is now 19″ wide. Next rip the fabric 19″ high. Oops forgot to take a picture – just rip the length to 19″. Making a 19×19″ square.
Step 4 – Iron the 19″ square fabric flat. Then fold fabric in half and iron, forming a crease (crease is center line). When taking the photos my camera was not focusing – I’m thinking it’s having trouble taking a “white” picture – so added this pillow case?)
Step 5 – Take the pleating tape and line up the center of the pleating tape to the crease (center of pillow).
Place the center of the pleating tape over the front lining center of pillow (cease) – pin in place. I extended the pleating at the top so it does extend over a little. If the tape extends over the edges a little don’t worry. You’ll be trimming it back later on.
*** Note: see how all my pins are facing the same (except 1, forgot to remove). The pin heads are facing downward, toward you, as you are sitting/sewing. Facing them downward will make removing the pins much easier as you sew.
Step 6 – Once the 1st section is secured start adding another section of tape working out to the the left. To KEEP the patten even, lap the next section of tape over the first tape section. Look at the 1st section of tape, see the pattern from right – string, texture section, string, texture section texture and so on. To duplicate this pattern place the next section (string over string) over the left side of the 1st tape section.
As I started pinning the second pleat section I noticed something was off? Do you see it?
I didn’t match both fabric repeats. Look at the spots by both my fingers, see how the horizontal pattern doesn’t line up. The pattern by my index finger is higher than my third finger.
I removed all the pins, realigned, and repined in place. Look at the row by the blue marker pen. It was hard to get a good picture, but you should be able to see the pattern is now aligned.
Step 7 – For the 19″ fabric I added 1 more section of the tape (total of 3, center & 2 more) to the left of center). How many you use is dependent on the size you are making.
Step 8 – The left section of the center is secured. Next, place/pin pleating tape to the right side of the center, the same way. Pin, and add 2 more tape sections (like left side).
As you get to the last pleat tape section you’ll see that it extends beyond the edges. Just made a snip, and cut the drapery tape even with the outside edge of lining fabric underneath. Don’t worry about it if it isn’t exactly straight. It will be hidden within the seam.
Step 9 – OK, we placed 5 1/2 sections of pleat tape to cover the 19″ square completely. Secure with enough pins to hold in place.
In this photo I had already cut 3 sides even with lining underneath. See top edges are uneven – sorry didn’t take photo of the uncut other edges. Just do you best to cut all the edges even with the fabric underneath.
Step 10 – Once all the edges are cut we will start sewing along all 4 outside edges, securing the tape to the underneath lining.
BEFORE sewing – MAKE sure the draw strings are taunt.
Pull the strings, and put a drop of fabric glue underneath to hold taunt.
Notice how taunt.
Step 11 – sew about 1/2″ in around all 4 outside edges. This secures the pleating tape to lining underneath, and secures the drawing strings (if you didn’t before add a drop of fabric glue at each tape string.).
For this stitching I used a very short stitch (1.8) to make sure the string was caught by the needle and secured down.
Step 12 – After the outside edges are stitched, start sewing vertically down each pleat tape section to secure.
Stitch down each tape section just to the left side of the strings. Continue stitching vertically down each section until all strips have been stitched/secured.
Entire 19″ square sewn and all the pins removed.
Step 13 -Next, I want to cut the 19″ square down the pillow form size – 18″. On the left side I cut along the outside edge where measuring tape is, using it as my guide.
Measured 18″ to the right, and cut the right side at the 18″ mark.
The fabric is now a 18″ square.
Why did I do it this way? My pillow form is 18″, the pleat tape was stitched to a 19″ square.
I like my pillows taunt, so I cut the fabric to the size of the form (i.e 18″ square) and sew the seams at a 1/2″ (a little less) from the edges. This way my seam allowances won’t need to be trimmed later.
Don’t want to do it this way – then don’t cut fabric down – leave at 19″ – sew a 1″ seam allowance all the way around. After sewing the seams on all 4 sides you’ll need to trim your seam allowances down to 1/2″. 1″ is too much fabric to leave at the seams.
Step 14 – Now we need to cut the material for the pillow’s back side. I like things easy, I don’t want to have to look up a formula to figure out how to make the back side of an envelope pillow.
Front – 18″ square; Back – 18″ high, length = 26″.
How did I figure 26″, so EASY. Use pillow form size, 18″. Divide by 2 = 9 (18 ÷2). Add 4″ =13″ (9 + 4=13). 4″ is added for the overlap in the back.
If you want you cut 2 – 18×13″ pieces for the back. Remember, I like to do the easy way – don’t want to measure out 2 – 18 x 13″ sections. So I just measure and cut out 1 piece. Instead of cutting 2 pieces of 18×13, just cut one total length. Following? Rip 1 piece 18″ by 26 (13+13) length.
Next press the piece of material, then fold the length (long side) in half, press creating a crease.
Snip and RIP the material at the crease.
Both pieces will will measure 18×13″
On the 13″ side of material, turn under 1/4′, press, then turn under 1/4″ again. Press.
Do this to both pieces, head on over to the sewing machine and top stitch.
Step 16 – Next we are going to attach the front and back sections together. Place front section (drapery pleat tape) right (good) side up. Next place a 1 -18×13″ right side down (right sides facing together) on left side.
Take the other 18×13 section and place face down (right (good) sides together) to right side. Make sure the finished edges are in middle, not at outside edges.
Each section will overlap about 6″. I use a larger overlap then most because I don’t like when the backside of my pillow keeps popping out! Notice the finished seams are in the center.
Pin around all 4 edges, sew a 1/2″ (slant less) seam (*** we cut our fabric down to 18″, so don’t go larger than a 1/2″ seam, otherwise the pillow will be too taunt).
Note: I used a stitch length of 3.1 for the entire pillow EXCEPT when I reached about 1″ from each corner. This is when I reduced the stitch length to 1.8 (a very short stitch).
The shorter stitch will secure the corners so they won’t break open under stress.
Turn good side out, stuff with pillow form….
You’ll have one great looking textured pillow, if I do say so myself!
The pillow is not difficult to make, really, it took longer to put together this tutorial then it did to make the pillow.
Let me know if you make the pillow!