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Beginner and budget friendly DIY farmhouse pillow cases.
For the last year I’ve wanted to get some pretty tie closure pillow covers for my bedroom, but I’ve never found any that were within my price range.
So this week I did what any normal, balanced, sane person would do: I downed three very strong cups of coffee, mustered some unwarranted confidence in my sewing abilities, and tried to sew my own budget-friendly tie-closure pillow covers.
The first step was deciding on what fabric to use. I really wanted the look of linen, but two pillows made using real linen would have cost me $34 in fabric alone – a bit outside of my tiny budget.
Instead, I decided to use painter’s drop cloth, which I bought from a local hardware store for a few dollars a metre (here’s a similarly priced drop cloth from Amazon, which works out to be a few dollars a metre and would allow you to make 4 pillows with fabric leftover). I then spent a dollar on the cheapest-of-the-cheap bleach, which I used to bleach the drop cloth slightly. This brought the cost down to $5 per pillow, which was much more reasonable.
The next step was deciding what to use for the ribbon tie-closures.
Unlike my tie closure cushion cover, I wanted the ties to be the same fabric as the pillow cover itself. While cutting the fabric for the pillows, I realised I could use the pre-hemmed edges of my drop cloth as tie closures (here’s a photo of what I mean).
With my fabric and ties sorted, and a few extra heart palpitations from the excess coffee, I finally got to work on my tie closure pillow covers. And they were actually surprisingly easy to make, even for a novice seamstress like me.
So today I’d like to share how I made the pillow cases in the hope that it might help someone else.
The supplies list below is for one pillow case. It assumes a pillow size of roughly 20″×26″ inches. If you have a larger pillow, you’ll need to cut a larger piece of fabric.
- A 42″ x 27.5″ rectangle of drop cloth (approx). I use 100% cotton drop cloth (I’ve heard this one is 100% cotton) because, unlike polyester drop cloth, it softens up nicely in the wash.
- Thread, fabric scissors, pins, and a sewing machine.
- An iron.
- For the ties: I simply used the pre-hemmed edge of my drop cloth to make the ties (picture here). You will need four ties per pillow, approximately 15″ long each.
The fabric ties
As I mentioned, I simply used the pre-hemmed edge of my drop cloth to make the ties. However, if your drop cloth doesn’t have such edges, you can make ties from the drop cloth itself. Here’s a diagram explaining how.
An easier option would be to use ribbon or twill tape, but this will obviously increase the price a little.
Measuring the fabric needed
To figure out how much fabric you’ll need for your tie-closure pillow covers:
- Measure the length of your pillow, then add two inches.
- Measure the width of your pillow. Double the measurement, then add two inches.
For example: Let’s say your pillow is 24″ long and 18″ wide. You will need a piece of fabric 26″ long (24″ + 2″) and 38″ wide (18″ + 18″ + 2″).
The first step is to hem your ribbon ties so that they do not fray. To do this, fold the top edge of each tie over itself and sew a straight line across the fold.
Next, pin your ribbon ties along the wide edge of your drop cloth rectangle, approximately 1/2″ from the top, at the following points:
- First ribbon: 5″
- Second ribbon: 15″
- Third ribbon: 25″
- Fourth ribbon: 35″
Your ribbon ties should be facing toward you (not up away from you).
Fold the top edge of the fabric down to create a hem. This will cover the top of the ribbon ties. Press the hem with your iron, then sew along the length of the hem, as per the diagram below.
Next, fold your ribbon ties up over the hem you just sewed, so that they’re facing upwards/pointing away from you. Sew along the top edge of your fabric to secure the ribbon ties, as per the diagram. Repeat with an additional line of stitching to keep everything nice and secure.
Whew. The complicated part is now finished. The final two steps are much less confusing, promise.
Fold your drop cloth in half. Sew along the two remaining edges, leaving a 1/4″ – 1/2″ hem.
Finally, use scissors to trim the fabric as close as possible to the two lines of stitching you just completed. This will help reduce fraying. Alternatively, if you have an overlocker, you can overlock these edges instead of trimming them.
Turn your pillow inside-out and you’re finished!
If you have any questions about this project, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below.