Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How to Make a Super-Easy, No-Sew Pillow Cover

One of our planned family activities over winter break was a day trip to IKEA. Everyone loves IKEA, right? I mean, surely there is nobody, whether you're a hipster or a Gen-Xer or a Millennial, who could possibly hate affordable, clean-lined, Swedish interior design.

Surely, right?

You can definitely go overboard on it--I remember a decade ago visiting the rental house of a couple of friends for the first time. I walked in, looked around, and was all, "So... you guys like IKEA, huh?"

"I KNOOOOWWWWW!!!!" Molly wailed miserably. It was... a little much. Nobody really expects to walk into an Indiana student rental and find an Icelandic living room, you know? But everyone I know has some IKEA shit in their homes, and it's all pretty awesome.

And considering that the rest of the furnishings in our own house come from 1) our local university's surplus goods store, 2) the street, or 3) our own hands, and it shows, IKEA is a major step up for us.

On a related note, Matt found this sweet vintage music cabinet thing just sitting out by a dumpster the other day! It's hanging out in our garage for two weeks to make sure it doesn't have bedbugs, but then we're totally bringing it inside. Friends, when I was in college I slept on a second-hand mattress that my friend gave me when he moved, and HE found it by a dumpster before he slept on it for four years. Do. Not. Judge. Me.

So our trip to IKEA was supposed to result in a new mattress for one kid and a new computer/schoolwork station for both kids (all of which we found and Matt and I did not divorce over sawhorse-style table legs, although it was a close thing, and I got completely disoriented approximately 30 feet into the store and never really did find my bearings again), but all *I* really wanted were wooden magazine files to hold our comic book collection--classy, I know--and a shit-ton of throw pillows to hide our ugly yet comfortable couch that we bought from our local university's surplus goods store approximately 12 years ago, and who KNOWS how long the university used it in one of their dorm lounges, or how many students sat on it and did weird things on it?

I've replaced all the cushions, but trust me: you want my janky denim slipcovers and all the throw pillows you can fit on it.

Pillows are SUPER cheap at IKEA! I bought four 20"x 20" pillows and two 12"x 24" pillows, knowing that I can go back for more if I want, and I'm totally going to go back for more! The pillow covers, now, they were NOT super cheap, but if there is one thing that I have in spades, it is the fabric in my stash to make pillow covers out of.

And the fabric that I have the most of in stash these days is fleece, leftover from the making of mermaid tails and shark blankets.

This no-sew pillow cover, made from fleece, actually takes longer to tie than it would to sew it, but the tied fringe makes it look a lot nicer than a plainly-sewn fleece pillow cover would, and it's certainly much kid-friendlier of a project. In fact, for most of it you can use my tutorial for making tied dog/cat blankets, which my Girl Scout troop did with Brownie Scouts in September.

And yes, I DID make this pillow cover while watching Season 2 of The Crown. I am also spending my free time watching a bunch of dorky documentaries on the royal family bootlegged on YouTube, so there you go.

To make this super-easy, no-sew pillow cover, all you need are fleece, scissors, and a paper cutting template that measures 1"x 3". A rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat will help you cut the fleece to size, but you could do without, if you had to.

Step #1: Put your fleece wrong sides together, two layers thick. Measure the fleece to dimensions that are 6" longer than your pillow on each side. For the 12"x 24" pillow that I'm covering in these pics, I measured my fleece out at 18"x 30". Cut out through both layers.

Step #2: Make a cutting template out of paper, dimensions 1"x 3". Use that to cut the fringes along the entire perimeter of the fleece, making sure that you cut through both layers each time. For the corners, you'll find that you naturally cut an entire 3"x 3" chunk out of each corner--that's okay! It's supposed to look like that!

Here's a gratuitous photo of Matt and Syd putting together one of the two computer workstations. Matt won the argument over what to get, and fine, they're perfect, whatever.

Step #4: While watching season 2 of The Crown, begin to tie each pair of fringes into a square knot. I give a little more detail in my tied blanket tute, but it's not hard.

Step #5: Only tie together three sides of your pillow cover. When you've got those three sides tied together, insert the pillow form and then tie the fringes on the fourth side. If you wanted to take the pillow out later, you could just untie them, but these throw pillows can be thrown entirely in the wash. 

I had meant to use all of the throw pillows that I bought for the couch, but after I made that black tied pillow cover, I realized that the Girl Scout fleece that I bought last month would be perfect for pillow covers for the 20"x 20" pillows, so I made one for each of the kids:

They use them as throw pillows on their beds, or cushions when they're hanging out on the floor, but they're also planning to use them as the pillows they take on a slumber party later this week, and I think they'd also work well for camping and summer camps.

Will liked hers so much that she made an identical one as a birthday present for a friend.

I'll show you the two pillow covers that I sewed out of faux fur another time (and why on earth I have so much faux fur in my stash pile I can't really tell you...), and when the kids and I head up to Indy to volunteer at the Children's Museum later this month, I think I'll make another trip to IKEA afterwards.

Obviously, I need to replace those three throw pillows that aren't going on the couch now, and I could use some more magazine files for my comic books...

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