A few weekends ago, my wonderful baby sister Anna came to visit. Anna is in college, and next year, for the first time, she’s going to have her very own room in an apartment she’s sharing with a couple room mates.
She’s super excited to have her own room, and I offered to help her come up with some inexpensive DIY projects to make the place really special and homey. Obviously, as a college student, she’s on a budget of effectively $0 for this room makeover, so we’re trying to do some cute little projects for absolutely as little money as possible. For the first project, we used some fabric scraps I had laying around to make a super cute patchwork accent pillow! Making this kind of patchwork pillow cover is pretty basic and easy as long as you have a basic understanding of how to use a sewing machine to sew a straight line, and it comes out so cute! The photo above also shows that you can use this same method to come up with pillows that give off pretty different vibes, just based on your fabric selection.
For this project, I used a fabric sample pack that I got for free that I had been saving for… something (I do not advocate hanging onto things for no particular reason actually… I only saved this because I knew that I actually, really, for real could and WOULD use it for something). Since Anna’s apartment is going to be pretty much a basic white box, and she’s not going to be living there long enough for it to be worth addressing anything at all about the bones of the room, we knew that we wanted to use a bunch of different pillows and textiles to bring in some color and energy. This colorful fabric seemed great, even though the fabric itself was a little thick to use for patchwork. Ideally, you’d use some kind of thin cotton quilting fabric (like the other patchwork pillow in the first picture).
To begin, cut out your pieces, and lay them out however you would like the front of your pillow to look. Remember that you will lose some of each piece of fabric to seam allowance.
Once you have all your pieces laid out how you like, begin by sewing each “column” of pieces together, so that you end up with a bunch of long skinny strips.
Once you have your strips all sewing together, use an iron to press open all the seams. Try to get everything to lay as flat and tidy as possible. With fabric as thick as ours was, this was pretty challenging, but we did our best!
Now you’ll want to sew all your strips together, and press open all the new seams.
If the edges are uneven, go ahead and trim them down. Iron it some more if you need to, to make sure everything is as flat as possible!
Now for the back of the pillow, you can get all fancy and do a zipper and everything, but I didn’t have any zippers on hand, so we just went with a basic envelope back. An envelope back is where you have two pieces of fabric that overlap. We chose a yellow fabric that was a pretty similar weight as the front of the pillow. If you’re using quilting cotton for the front, use something similar for the back. If you’re using heavy fabric for the front, use a heavy fabric for the back. Your pillow can turn out a little weird if you’re using 2 very different fabrics for the front and back! You’ll want to cut the pieces for the back of the pillow to the same height as the front, but they should be wider so that they can overlap to hold the pillow in. We had probably 2-3” of overlap. Once you have your two pieces for the back prepared, do a little roll over hem on the edges that will be visible. Then pin all your pieces together (right sides together) and sew up the edges! This picture is when I had the first piece of the back pinned to the front.
And you’re done! Turn your pillow cover right side out, put in your pillow insert, and boom! Pure pillow sexiness.