Pillows are the perfect way to try out art quilting or surface design ideas – your basic pillow is a large flat square with room to show off either special fabric you made or purchased. You can really let the fabric shine! When you sew a pillow, it can be as simple (a non-removeable sewn square) to as complex (a removable cover with an invisible zipper, maybe even with piping and box pleats) as you want.
This post is the first of three covering a myriad of ways you can sew a basic knife edge pillow, or at least my favorite ways. Once you have the pesky details of how to finish your pillow out of the way, you can dye, paint, print, applique or embellish a piece of fabric of any size and easily turn it into a decorative pillow with a removable cover without needing a pattern or set of specific directions.
These are the ways I would make a basic knife edged pillow and they fall into three main categories:
- Basic Pillow with hand sewn closure (see below)
- Envelope pillows (part 2)
- Deep overlap
- Shallow overlap with ties
- Shallow overlap with velcro
- Shallow overlap with buttons
- Zipper Pillows (part 3)
- Zipper in Seam
- Invisible zipper in seam
I sewed up seven 10 inch pillow samples for this post, using white cotton muslin and black thread. Usually, I would match the thread closely to the fabric when sewing a pillow. The contrast is merely for illustration of the techniques.
First up, the basic pillow:
Basic Pillow – not removable
To start, the easiest pillow to sew is a one with a non-removeable cover. Pros: Simplest and quickest to sew, perfect for a beginner. Cons: You need to do a bit of handstitching (not necessarily a con, but worth noting) and you can’t remove this one to swap out covers.
All you need for this is your two squares of fabric – a front and a back. For this sample and all samples in this post, I am using 11 inch squares of white quilting cotton with a 1/2 inch seam allowance for my pillow.
Pin the two squares right sides together, leaving at least a 4 inch gap on one side.
Sew around the edge of the pillow, backstitching at the beginning and end of your 4 inch gap. Clip your corners to remove extra fabric bulk.
Turn inside out, being sure to push out your corner. I always use my set of sewing chopsticks for this! 🙂
When you sew a basic knife edge pillow like this, sometimes the corners can look a little too pointy when stuffed, like this. Sometimes, I taper in my corners, so that they lay flatter and more in line with the rest of the seam. You can do this as you sew the pillow, not necessary to do so after the fact, as I have in this photo above.
Stuff your pillow and blind stitch it closed. Blind stitch will give you an invisible seam. For a detailed tutorial of blind stitch, check out this post on Positively Splendid.
And that is it. The pillow is done!
But what if you want to be able to remove the cover? Find the rest of the pillow posts here: