Gift Pillowcase Sewing Project & Sofa Pillows His and Hers Pillow Covers
One more gift done! Family member requested for she and boyfriend to which I replied, “OK, but SOFA pillow covers.” However, I actually DID make them to be regular bed pillow cases with just the snip of a few slipstitches, should this relationship come to the fulfillment of marriage.:)
These pillowcase directions are well-known, but I feel confident that this version, with my added directions and this focal split heart ‘His and Hers’ appliqué might be a welcome addition. My directions include techniques I used when using these pillowcases to teach my young 3rd grade and up students in my Camp WannaSew. I’ll appreciate your sharing this Blog Post around the sewing social media world…Thanks in advance.
Fabric Requirements for TWO Pillowcases
Body: 1.50 yards (1 1/2 yards) main cotton print 41″ wide f (27″ x 41″ per pillowcase body)
Band: .625 yards (5/8 yard) large bottom band (10″ x 41″ per pillowcase)
Accent Strip and bias for Fabric Fur heart edge trim: 1 yard accent band (3″ x 41″ per pillowcase) – remaining for the 3/4″ bias cut strips for the Fabric Fur trim (3 layers of bias) around the hearts. For the best ‘Fabric Fur’, select a yarn-dyed fabric like chambray. I did find this wonderful new fabric at my local quilt shop – Farm Ridge Quilt Shop in Savoy, IL. It is by Marshall Dry Goods, called Dream Cotton 1944. Regular quilting cotton that is printed will NOT make very good Fabric Fur. Another favorite of mine is iridescent silk duping (and yes, it will wash just fine!) Even cheap lining fabric can work for this. If your Fabric Fur bias strips need to be of another fabric, you’ll only need 1/4 yard for BOTH pillowcases as you just need a 3″ wide strip the width of the fabric for the Accent Strip.
Heart Fabric: .5 yard (1/2 yard) 44″ wide fabric
Notions: matching thread, monogramming rayon or polyester embroidery thread, paper-backed fusing tape (Vilene or Steam a Seam), pattern tissue paper for making heart pattern shapes as desired, decorative yarn for center of Fabric Fur (optional), other regular sewing supplies. Two 20″ pillow forms for sofa pillows. Font for letters – look online for a font you like. Frixion or water-soluble marker for sketching on the letter monograms.
Cut two of each of the above pieces for the two pillowcase set. The smaller measurements are measured along the selvage edge with the larger measurements along the width of the fabric. You will have a bit of excess width left over since most cotton fabrics are 44-45″ wide.
Press Accent strips in half lengthwise wrong sides together so that they are now each 1.5″(1/2″) x 41″
Press Band strips in half lengthwise wrong sides together so that they are now each 5″ x 41″
The following directions are complete for one pillowcase. Repeat for 2nd, but with the mirror image heart and opposite letters.
Lay the raw edge of the Accent Strip along the 27″ side of the right side of the Body and stitch with a scant .5″ (1/2″) seam allowance. Note in the photo below, that I have moved my needle a bit to the right so that, guiding along a 1/2″ guide on my throat plate, I’ll be stitching a SCANT 1/2″ seam.
Open up the Band and lay one long edge right side down on top of the Accent Strip you just stitched onto the body. Pin in place. Turn it over so that you can see the stitching you accomplished in Step 2 (the lighter color stitching in the 2nd photo below) and stitch just a smidgen to the LEFT of that stitching. See the darker thread in the 2nd photo below.
Right side up, press the Accent Strip up towards the largest part of the pillowcase, and the BAND down as it will lay. Turn over and press the Band back into it’s half width so you can ‘see’ how the pillowcase is going to look once the long 41″ plus Band is sewn. In the photo below, the batik with the arcs is the Body and the batik with the branches and leaves is the Band.
The photo below shows the scale, shape and positioning of the half heart on the pillowcase. Duplicate this for your project using the tissue paper. I sell and love Medical Pattern Paper (tissue on a roll) for this type of work. Cut 2 half hearts out of the Heart Fabric, laying one aside for the remaining pillowcase. Fuse paper-backed fusible web to the outermost edges of the heart. I love the very lightweight Vilene or Steam-A-Seam 2 for this. I decided NOT to fuse the entire heart shape down since I felt that would make it ‘stiff’ when actually used as a pillowcase for sleeping.
Do a small zigzag around the outer edge of the heart. This is not a filled-in appliqué stitch, because I decided to add the texture rich Fabric Fur – see Step 6.
Work the monogram stitching as you are able. Even though I have great embroidery capability on my Brother Quattro, I couldn’t find letters simple, yet this tall (___”), so I decided to free-hand stitch them. I sketched them onto my fabric hearts (my laptop computer with a font I liked displayed right were I could see it ), then set my machine for a wide zigzag, extremely short stitch length, and LOWERED the upper needle tension to ensure that the bobbin thread would NOT peek to the top along the edges. For the ‘bump’ effect at the end of each of the letter strokes, I started with the widest zigzag width, then kept my foot on the foot pedal and held my finger on the stitch width smaller key until I hit 5.5 wide – for the main part of each letter stroke.
I found it was important to ‘bury’ the threads at each end of each letter stroke stitching to keep the monogramming from unraveling. . See 2nd Photo
Create the Fabric Fur. Cut Bias Strips from remaining Accent Strip fabric, cutting them 3/4″ wide. For a GREAT way to fold fabric to cut as long of bias strips as possible quick and easily, check out my YouTube Video at this link HERE.
Layer 3 strips together and stitch down the center. If you run out of 1 strip, just lay in additional until you make plenty enough to go around TWO of the heart shapes as you may as well make enough for BOTH pillowcases at once.
Trim each side of the bias layered strips down to 1/4″ from the stitching line using a rotary cutter and ruler. I SAVE the cuttings – see my bag in the photo. I envision this wonderful ‘stuff’ caught under nylon tulle as an embellishment on something…..
ATTACK the bias edges on both sides with a Fabric Chenille Brush. Then, ‘scraping’ along each edge with my fingernails helped fur it up even more.
Attach the bias Fabric Fur around the perimeter of the heart appliqué. Top with couched yarn using monofilament in the needle, regular thread in the bobbin, upper tension lowered as shown in the photograph, using a zigzag stitch 3.0 long and just wide enough to go over the yarn. This really ‘finishes off’ the center of the Fabric Fur.
Now it is time to finish off the Band of the pillowcase. It is really easiest to do the majority of this BEFORE stitching up the other long 41+” edge of the pillowcase.
Press under 1/2″ on the inside, un-attached edge of the Band as shown in the first photo below. Then, lifting this up, press a strip of fusible web along the seam allowance as shown in the 2nd photo below, stopping 4″ short of both long pillowcase edges as that will be finished AFTER you stitch that long edge together in Step 9. Then, peel off the paper and go ahead and fuse the folded edge down. However, since you didn’t extend the fusible all the way to the edges, you’ll STOP fusing this edge down 4″ short of both long pillowcase edges.
Match the Accent Strips at the remaining side seam, pin, and stitch across the other END of the pillowcase, and down this long side, opening up the BAND to stitch it together in single layers. Having left 4″ on either side of that long seam UN-fused should easily allow for this. Serge if desired.
Flip the remaining portion of the Band up into place, the top edge down, add some fusible web in this opening and Fuse. See first photo below. This edge should then also be stitched – either by topstitching with a straight stitch, slip-stitching by hand, or use a decorative stitch as I have done (and here my young students LOVED to do a decorative stitch!). The beauty is that this Band is all fused into place, and is slightly ‘stiff’ due to the fusing. This makes for nice decorative stitching, and everything ‘in it’s place’ if you know what I mean…
Actually at this point, you are done if you’re making full pillow cases. Press for a nice finish. Do the same all over again, flipping the heart. If your Body fabric has ‘nap’ or direction to it, keep that in mind when you decide which side to place the heart on. Lay them out as you want them to look to reason this out. See my photo below. (Realize the ‘Hers’ pillowcase is ‘cut off’ in the picture at the right hand side.
To make these pillowcases into ‘Sofa Pillows’ as I did…..
Carefully insert 20″ square pillow forms in and push them all the way to the heart end. Carefully fold the excess Banded part of the pillowcase under and pin in place. See photo below. My hand inserted shows where the end of the Band is on the pillow. This is a doubled edge. Carefully pin in place along both ends and this end of the excess pillowcase and slip stitch with a double thread for strength. I think the off-center Accent Strip looks quite nice for a pillow. You could also stuff some extra fiberfill into the corners of the pillowcase to fill them out so that they are not so ‘dog-eared’. These actual pillowcases preclude my technique for trimming the corners of a pillow cover so as to eliminate those dog ears.
Have fun creating your own Pillowcases!