A recent visit to Joann’s ETC., landed a bunch of really nice designer fabric remnant bundles at 50% off. So, I took this as a sign and a que to get started on some much needed family room pillows. Although I was hoping to work in some super fun prints I realized that not knowing what the final wall color will be for this room makes it tough to buy the fabrics of my dreams. Plus, right now I am working with a dark brown leather sofa and a recliner covered in a deeply hued tapestry of browns, black and red. Until we get new furnishings in there I decided to keep things pretty neutral. One of my finds at the fabric sale is a heavily textured camel colored velour type upholstery fabric. I thought it would look nice as a cover for our tired old bolsters. It wasn’t until later that I also discovered that I had enough of this fabric and the accent fabric I found in my stash, to make another set of pillows to go along with new bolsters. Yeah! Here is how I went about creating two ruffle-edged pillows from remnants. First I measured my old, sad looking bolster pillows to get an idea of what size the fabric needed to be, marked the fabric and cut. This is the point when I went, “aha! I can make two more pillows with the rest.”
Using the fabric cuts from the bottom half of the piece (pictured above) I set out to make two envelop style pillows with ruffled edges. In case you want to make your own, these pieces measured approximately 16.5 inches X 36 inches. First I hemmed the smaller cut end of the fabric pieces (the other end was the selvage, so it would not fray).
I set the pillow base aside and started working on the ruffle for the edge. Lucky for me I had some cotton velveteen in my stash, left over from another project. From that, I measured 4 strips at 2.25 inches X 30 inches and cut them out. Next, I folded the strips in half, wrong sides together, and ran a basting stitch by hand from one end to the other for gathering. Take your time with this part because it is tedious and if you use a fabric similar to what I used it will make a mess as you go along. To make nicely finished ends, fold the ends of the strip in about 1/4 of an inch before folding the fabric in half to start the process of gathering.
After gathering the fabric as tightly as possible, run a line of stitches along the cut edge to hold the gathers in place. This is also the time to stitch the ends closed and finish them off completely.
Again, take your time with this part. The ruffle will not want to cooperate with you at all through this stage.Once you have completed two ruffles at approximately 16 inches for each pillow it is time to pin them in place. I used an envelop style closure for this pillow cover to make removal easy. Take your base fabric and lay it out with the right side up. Holding the two shorter ends, fold them toward the center, overlapping by two inches. You should end up with a rectangle of fabric, approximately 16 inches wide X 16.5 inches long. Place your pins about 2 inches down from the open edge when pinning the base fabric for sewing. Now you will have enough room to work the ruffle in along the open, cut edges while keeping the envelop folds in place. Because the fabric I used was so stiff and bulky, this step took some work to get the ruffle into the seam evenly. Don’t forget! The ruffle goes into the seam with the nice edge tucked down and sandwiched between the right sides of the pillow base. The ugly cut edge is what you should be lining up with the cut edge of the pillow base and preparing for stitches.
After I bullied the ruffles into place, I carefully ran a straight stitch through all three layers. This took a while and I bent no less than three needles in the process! I was using super heavy fabrics, though, so if yours are lighter weight you will probably breeze right through this step. For extra strength I added a second row of stitching and because I have a serger I also bound the edges to help contain the fraying mess.
If you plan to wash your pillow covers from time to time, as I do, I recommend taking this step. If you don’t have a serger just trim the edges to clean them up as much as possible and use a zigzag stitch to bind them.
I turned this bad boy right side out, added a pillow insert and rejoiced in my little creation!
The velveteen ruffle brings in a nice sage green to the space and plays well with the tapestry fabric of our recliner. Both fabrics have a luxurious texture that has already received lots of heavy petting from the rest of my family. I’m a little worried about what they will do when they see the bolsters that are coming soon!