Monday, March 8, 2010

Handmade Pillows from Martha Stewart

Finding just the right pillow to complete the look of your bedroom or living room is no easy feat, so why not make it yourself? Head over to Martha Stewart's website and you will find plenty of creative options, from modern and geometric prints to whimsical and romantic embellishments. Below are the instructions for 3 different styles of pillows, but pop over to Martha Stewart as there are 36 styles!

Color Block Pillows - Use taffeta, linen, velvet, or any other material in two colors to make this three-paneled pillow.

Throw pillows can instantly update or reinvent the color palette of a room. And by making your own, you can tailor the pillows to your own style. Martha uses taffeta in two colors to make this three-paneled pillow, but you can use linen, velvet, or virtually any material. The instructions below are for a 26-by-17-inch pillow; adjust the measurements to your desired size.

Fabric in two colors
Glass-headed pins
Sewing machine
Pinking shears
Needle and thread

Color-Block Pillows How-To

Pillow How-To
1. Cut panels of fabric: four 8-by-17 1/2-inch outer panels of one color, and two 11 1/2-by-17 1/2-inch center panels of a different color.
2. To assemble front side of pillow: With right sides together, pin the long sides of one outer panel to a center panel. Machine-sew them together, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Pin other outer panel to the opposite side of the same center panel; sew together, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Repeat this process to assemble back side of pillow.
3. Using pinking shears, trim the seam allowances, and press them open.
4. With right sides together, pin the front and back of the pillow together, making sure all seams match up. Sew together, leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance and a 16-inch opening on one long side.
5. Trim seams, and clip corners. Turn right side out, and press.
6. Insert pillow, then hand-stitch the opening closed, or insert a zipper.

Handkerchief Nursery Pillow -Use one hankie and a piece of cotton fabric to sew a decorative cover for a baby's room.


Two 7-inch-square pieces of white cotton broadcloth
7-inch square of polyester fill
One 10-inch-square plain hankie or cotton broadcloth
One 8-inch-square hankie

Pillow How-To
1. Stitch the two 7-inch cotton squares together on three sides, and turn inside out. Slip polyester fill into pouch, then tuck raw edges of opening under, and stitch to close.

2. For the cover, cut the 10-inch-square hankie in half, pin a 1/2-inch hem on each rectangle, and sew. To make an envelope opening on the back, pin one rectangle on the hankie, right sides facing with the hem in the center. Sew around outer edges. Lay the second rectangle on the other half of the hankie, and stitch in place. (The rectangles will overlap a bit in the center.) Turn inside out, and slip pillow in through opening in the back.

Knife-Edge Pillow - This knife-edge pillow can be made in two basic styles: with a cover sewn closed by hand or with a button closure in the back that allows the pillowcase to be removed for laundering.

This knife-edge pillow can be made in two basic styles: with a cover sewn closed by hand, or with a button closure in the back that allows the pillowcase to be removed for laundering.
For a closed pillow, begin with two pieces of fabric cut to identical dimensions -- the size of the final pillow cover plus 1 inch for the seam allowance.

Pillow How-To

1. To make a 16-inch-square pillow, for example, cut two 17-inch squares of fabric. Pin them together, right sides facing, with raw edges aligned. Sew the fabric together along three sides, 1/2 inch from the edges. Turn right side out, and press. Insert a 17-inch pillow (using a pillow insert that's slightly larger than the case gives a plump, overstuffed appearance). Slip-stitch the fourth side closed.

2. To make a pillowcase with a buttoned opening in back, you'll need one 17-inch-square piece for the front and two overlapping pieces for the back, each 11 3/4 inches by 17 inches.
3. Double-fold along one long side of each of the back pieces, making a 1/4-inch-wide fold and then a 2-inch-wide fold; press flat. Stitch along the fold lines. Lay the two back pieces right side up, so their hemmed edges overlap by 2 inches; pin to hold in place.
4. On both pieces, use tailor's chalk to make marks 6 1/2 inches from the top and bottom of the hems; the marks should be 4 inches apart and between 1/2 inch and 1 inch from the edge of the top piece, depending on the size of the buttons. Sew buttonholes in the top piece and buttons on the bottom. Button the pieces together.
5. Pin the buttoned back panels to the front, right sides facing and raw edges aligned. Sew around the perimeter of the pillow. Trim corners, and press seams. Turn case right side out, and insert a 17-inch-square pillow.


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