DIY Stamped Throw Pillows
I have a major addiction that I was swept away with when I was only 13 years old...Ikea. Oh sweet, sweet Ikea, how I love you so with your affordable prices and your Swedish charm. I remember the first time I laid eyes on my first Ikea catalog, and the long nights of exploring every, (and I literally mean every), inch of the Ikea website, memorizing every product down to the candlestick holders. My stomach would turn with pure delight in a similar way that it would when we would go to Disneyland, upon entering that royal blue building, grabbing our tiny pencils and brochure map, and riding that escalator up to the second floor. And when we would return home with a car full of dressers, nightstands, and lamps, I could not wait to pull out my tools, open up the packages full of screws and fasteners, and get to assembling. It is pure love you guys!
And after getting to know these wonderful products, with their wonderful designs, and dealing with the random cravings I tend to get for Swedish meatballs, I feel our relationship has developed enough for me to know that Ikea is not perfect. There are a couple areas that I really gave an open-minded shot at, and was just let down time and time again. One of those areas is their throw pillow designs. I have bought SO many pillow covers from them, and I never was fully satisfied. I think when it comes down to it, we just have different taste in textiles. But now I’m left with many pillows stuffed in a bag, cover-less, and thinking that I could use these for something. Why throw away a perfectly good pillow?
I’ve wanted to create pillow covers for them for a while now—something that could match with the seasons. Then, I could just unzip them, fold them up, store them away, and continue to interchange them throughout the year. Brilliant, right? And the best part is, I could create my own textiles that can match my own aesthetics. That’s kind of the ongoing motto of my life—“If you can’t find what you’re looking for, make it yourself…because you can. You’re one awesome, capable lady, so why not?” Something like that; it needs some work.
This DIY is great if you’re new to the sewing game. Pillows are super duper easy! The zipper may be an intimidating part of it, but it’s not as scary as it…seams. Ha! Get it? I did promise jokes. Also, there’s nothing like some very, very poor humor to get past those nerves. Sew…let’s get started!
Here’s what you need:
Cotton fabric (you need enough to not only cover your pillow, but an additional ½” on all sides. Example: my pillows were 20x20” and 19”x12” so I needed two pieces of the black cotton that measured 21x21” and two pieces of the white cotton that measured 20x13”)
Zipper to match color of cotton (length depends on length of pillow. I recommend something that’s 4 - 6” short than your pillow length. Example: A 20” length pillow should use a zipper that’s 14 – 16” long.)
Iron and ironing board
Foam sheets with adhesive back
Cardboard or wood block scrap
Scissors and/or rotary cutter
Multi-surface paint/fabric paint
Foam brush and/or foam roller
Flat scrap of plastic
Ruler or measuring tape (optional)
Zipper Pressure Foot
Thread to match cotton
Here’s what you do:
1. CUT FABRIC: Measure pillow length and widths and add an additional ½” to all sides. (Example: my pillows were 20x20” and 19”x12” so I needed two pieces of the black cotton that measured 21x21” and two pieces of the white cotton that measured 20x13”.) Cut front and back pieces out with scissors or rotary cutter.
2. MAKE STAMP: Cut a shape or pattern out with your adhesive foam. Stick the piece(s) onto the crap piece of cardboard or wooden block to create a stamp.
3. CREATE PATTERN ON FABRIC: Put just a small amount of paint on your flat scrap of plastic and use the foam roller or foam brush to spread out the paint, creating a thin, even layer on the plastic. This will help prevent excessive paint on your stamp that can smear on your fabric. Go ahead and apply the paint to your stamp in another even layer, and make sure there is no excessive paint on the sides of your stamp, and press the stamp onto your fabric. Use a ruler if you’d like a more consistent pattern, or just “eye-ball” it if you’re fine with a more “raw” look.
4. SEW ZIPPER ON
a) Once the paint has dried on your fabric, lay your pieces on top of each other with the front sides facing each other. Pin these sides together. Center the zipper on this pinned-edge. Then, use your fabric pencil to make a mark on the fabric just above and slightly past the stopper on the pull end, and another mark on the fabric above the pull on the opposite end.
b) Stitch these pieces together with a straight stitch, ½” away from the edge. Do a back stitch right when you begin as well. Stop sewing once you get to your first mark, and create another back stitch. You’ll then change the settings on your machine to a basting stitch (or change your stitch length to as long as your machine will allow itself.) Continue sewing ½” away from the edge until you reach your second mark. Change your machine back to its original stitch settings, back stitch, and finish sewing together the remaining side. Don’t forget to back stitch again before finishing.
c) Use an iron to press this seam open and lay the zipper face-down on this seam, aligning the metal stoppers up with marks you made on your fabric. Pin the zipper in place parallel to the zipper, and make sure the heads of your pins are facing you in accordance to the direction you’re sewing so it’s easer to remove the pins as you sew the zipper on.
d) Change your pressure foot out for the zipper foot and make sure place it in the left slot on the zipper foot.
e) Start sewing on the right side of the bottom end of the zipper (not the pull side of the zipper). Back stitch, and continue sewing down, removing the pins as you go.
f) When you get close towards the zipper pull, put your needle down into the fabric, lift your pressure foot up, and pull the zipper down, (unzipping it), and out of the way of your pressure foot and needle, making the fabric flat again. Put your pressure food back down and finish sewing up this side. Stop right when you get past the metal stopper.
g) Put your needle down into the fabric, lift your pressure foot, and turn the fabric 90 degrees. Put your pressure foot back down, and sew across your zipper. Stop when you get to the other side, needle down, pressure foot up, turn another 90 degrees, pressure foot back down, and begin sewing again.
h) When you get close to the zipper pull again, put your needle down, pressure foot up, and use your seam ripper to reach down, and hook onto the zipper pull. Pull it up past your need and pressure foot again so it’s out of the way and your fabric lays flat.
i) Finish sewing down this side of the zipper, and stop once you get past the metal zipper again. Needle down, pressure foot up, turn 90 degrees, and sew across your zipper. Back stitch once you meet your starting point again.
5. TEST ZIPPER: Use your steam ripper to rip open your basting stitch that you made before, above your zipper. Pull the thread scraps out, and give your zipper a test run. If it gets caught somewhere, you most likely sewed on top of the teeth of your zipper and you’ll have removed those stitches, and re-stitch that part. If you do need to do this, don’t forget to backstitch when you start and finish.
6. FINISH SEWING PILLOW SEAMS: Leave your zipper unzipped, and lay your fabric back on top of each other, font sides facing. Pin the remaining three sides together with the heads of your pins facing you in accordance to the direction you’ll be sewing. Start with one of the sides that run perpendicular to the side with the zipper, and begin sewing a straight stitch ½” away from the edge.
7. PINK EDGES: Use your pinking shears to pink the three edges of your pillow you just sewed to prevent fraying.
8. STUFF PILLOW: Turn your pillow right side out (this is why it’s important to leave your zipper unzipped). Cut off any showing loose threads, and then stuff your pillowcase with your throw pillow. This should fit pretty snug, but if you’d like your corner to be more prominent, use a chopstick to gently poke the corners out more, and then use stuffing in the corners along with your pillow to create a more defined look.