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Remember those fun, red-orange pillows I made to add a little pop to the family room? The ones that spurred the Modern Americana design theme? Well, I am over them. I like (notice I did not say love) red, but I just can’t live with it. I thought I could in small doses, but it always feels out of place for me. When I have a red item I cannot help but think how much better it would be in a yummy shade of blue or green.
Thankfully pillows are easy to swap out, so that is what I did. I made some new envelope pillow covers in a gorgeous green-gold ikat fabric I found at Hobby Lobby over Christmas break. I loved it, but had no place for it at the time. I had already devised the Modern Americana plan. Once I realized I did not love the red, I realized how much I would love the green instead.
I used my two-seam envelop pillow method to create the new covers, but I thought I would re-share the tutorial with some additional pictures and tips. And afterward we will get to some lovely after shots of the new color scheme emerging in the family room.
How To Envelope Pillow Covers:
1. Cut your fabric to size. For an 18 x 18 inch pillow, cut a rectangle 18.5 inches by at least 44 inches. This will result in a 6 inch overlap for the envelope on the back of the pillow. UPDATE: When I made the red pillow covers I mentioned my preference for a larger overlap on the back of the pillow. I may an exception to that preference when the fabric was $39.99/yard. Even after 40% off, the 6 inch overlap is enough.
2. Hem both short edges of the fabric. Fold the fabric over 1/2 inch and then over again another 1/2 inch. Iron and stitch.
3. With fabric right side up, fold over one side toward the center. For the 6 inch overlap, make the fold about 12″ from the hemmed edge. For the larger 16 inch overlap, make the fold 16 inches from the hemmed edge. UPDATE: When deciding which side of the fabric to fold over first, remember it will be the hem that will show once the pillow is turned right-side out. If you have an allover pattern, select the neater looking hem. If you have a directional pattern, make sure you fold over the correct side that should appear on the back of the pillow.
4. Now fold over the other side, so the resultant folded fabric measures 18 by 18.5 inches. The easiest way I have found to do this is to use a yard stick. Lay the yard stick on the fabric and line up the 18 inch mark on the fold. Fold the other side of the fabric over the yardstick. Slide the yardstick along to make sure your fold is even.
5. Just two seams left. Sew a 1/4″ seam along each side of the folded fabric. I prefer to use my serger for the side seams, especially on a fabric like this which frays and unravels easily. You could also use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine. Or simply sew and then trim the seam with pinking shears. UPDATE: For this step, I like to pin through the overlapping layers of the pillow about 4 inches in from the side. See the yellow pinheads in the image below. This secures the layers while I am serving or sewing. Placing the pins 4 inches from the edges allows me to zip through the serger without pausing to remove pins.
7. Stuff the cover with your 18 inch pillow insert. Stuff it through the envelope opening and then push it under the inside flap. Fluff the pillow and you are done. UPDATE: Here are pictures of the stuffing process. Sometimes it is hard to envision how an envelope pillow works if you have never seen one.
Now squish it in and force it under the inner flap. It looks ugly here, but don’t worry it will look better soon. Just get that pillow form in there. You can be rough with the pillow, but be gentle with your newly stitched cover.
Lastly, tuck in and smooth our the inner flap. Ahhh, much better.
I cannot explain how lovely I think these pillows are in the family room. They feel right. Here is how the look next to their teal chevron friends:
The same weekend I made these new covers I spotted this guy at the Room & Board outlet. He was only marked down to $49.99 from $69.99, but he was calling to me. The colors were perfect to go along with the other pillows, I love a good horizontal stripe, and the navy stripe helps tie in our navy trellis rug. It was meant to be, so I looked beyond the price tag.
Altogether I feel like we finally have a cohesive look and a respectable number of pillows for this super long (101″) sofa. BONUS: The new pillows echo a similar color and pattern as the quatrefoil drum shade in the kitchen.
So, I can’t really call this Modern Americana anymore. Red is kind of key to the Americana part. I think I am going to call this “Midwest Summer”. Think fresh green leaves and sparkling lakes. How would you describe it? What is your favorite part of this look so far?