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Make a Throw Pillow with Piped Edging: Part 5

At this point, your pillow is complete. It should work well as is. Just put the pillow insert through the opening, fluff up and adjust, and show it to your friends and family. You can turn the pillow up a notch by adding a button and buttonhole closure to the back.  

Step 9:  Create a buttonhole

Use a ruler to mark a halfway point on the top backing piece. If you're using a one-inch diameter button, draw a half-inch line on either side of the halfway point. Use a chalk pencil or air-soluble marker (aka disappearing felt-tip ink marker) to do the job. See figure 13.

 Figure 13

Figure 13

Follow the instructions for your sewing machine to create a one-inch buttonhole, or go old school and make a buttonhole by hand.

Step 10:  Add a button

Open the buttonhole carefully with snips, a seam ripper, or craft knife. (You want a tool that is sharp and precise.) Check your button size by passing the button through the hole. See figure 14.

 Figure 14

Figure 14

Lay the pillow cover flat, front side down. Line up the back pieces so that they are centered. Using the air-soluble marker, make a dot through the buttonhole onto the bottom backing piece. This dot will mark the spot where the button must go. Sew on the button either by hand or by machine. See figure 15.

 Figure 15

Figure 15

Step 11:  Enjoy your pillow, and plan to make more!

Insert your pillow form, and you are done. Show your friends and family what you made. Plan to make more for other holidays, special occasions, or any occasion. Try making a few covers from fabric scraps.  Look at how creative you are!

 Completed front of pillow

Completed front of pillow

 Completed back of pillow

Completed back of pillow

Make a Throw Pillow with Piped Edging Part 4

Step 6:  Sew front and back together

Place the front of the pillow, right side up, on your work surface.  Take the two back pieces and lay them right side down on the pillow front.  The pieces will overlap.  If your fabric pattern follows a specific direction, as the examples in this project do, make sure you arrange the pieces accordingly. Adjust the pieces until you are satisfied with the layout. Make sure you have enough seam allowance over and around the piping cord. Starting with the overlapped areas on the backing, clip or pin the pieces together. See figure 10.

 Figure 10

Figure 10

Step 7:  Sew the front to the back of the pillow

Use either a zipper foot or a cording/piping foot to sew the front to the back of the pillow. Place the needle as far left as possible to get close to the cording. Start sewing at one of the overlapped back pieces. Slowly sew around corners, close to the piping. 

The zipper foot may leave some gaps but it will work.  Even better is a cording or piping foot. With my machine, I use a pintuck foot. The goal is to have a raised area on the foot under which the piping can travel. A standard presser foot will not work for this project.  See figure 11; the piping is layered between the front and back, but the indentation of the cording is visible. You may "feel" the piping to ensure a straight stitch.

 Figure 11

Figure 11

Step 8:  Turn the pillow right side out

Once you complete sewing the front to the back pieces, turn the pillow right side out. Examine all the seams. Note any areas that leave gaps or cover too much of the piping. Restitch sections as necessary.  When satisfied, trim the excess fabric and piping to 1/8 inch. Leave the project right side out. See figure 12.

 Figure 12

Figure 12

Make a Throw Pillow with Piped Edging Part 3

Step 4: Attach piping to the front square of the pillow.

Remove the piping from the package. Near the center of one side, begin lining up the open edge of the piping to the right side of the fabric. Attach in a counterclockwise direction; this direction will follow your machine stitching later. The open edge should be flush with the edge of the front square. Use pins or clips to attach the piping. (I use binder clips purchased from an office supply store.  They work well and are quite versatile in my sewing room.) See figure 4.

 Figure 4

Figure 4

When you reach a corner, make two or three perpendicular cuts into the bias strip of the piping to make it bend to fit the corner. Take care to only cut the bias section, not the actual piping. See figure 5.

 Figure 5

Figure 5

Once you reach your starting point, leave a 2 - 3 inch "tail." Make sure you have at least an inch of overlap with both ends.  Leave a little more to be on the safe side. Cut away the extra piping.  See figure 6.

 Figure 6

Figure 6

Step 5:  Connect the ends of the piping

Use a seam ripper or snips to remove the seam on one end of the piping.  Remove the stitches. Pull back the bias fabric. Cut about an inch of the white piping. Tuck the beginning segment of the piping into the end section. Check the fit. Carefully cut more white piping until both ends are touching inside the bias covering. When the fit is right, fold under a half inch of the bias fabric from the end; this segment should be the one from which you cut the piping cord. Tuck the piping from the beginning inside the end. Adjust to fit.  Clip the overlapped section to secure it to the fabric. See figure 7.

 Figure 7

Figure 7

Step 6:  Baste the piping to the front square

Use a zipper foot with the needle position set to the far left.  Use a basting stitch to attach the piping to the front.  See figure 8. Take care as you go around corners (figure 9).  With basting, your goal is to secure the piping for the final sewing so stitching need not be flush with the piping.  

 Figure 8

Figure 8

 Figure 9

Figure 9

Make a Throw Pillow with Piped Edging Part 2

Once you have all of your material, notions, and supplies, let's begin making a throw pillow.

Step 1:  Wash your fabric

I sew a zig-zag stitch along the two cut edges of the fabric, then wash to reduce further shrinking. The zig-zag edge prevents fraying during the washing process.

Step 2: Cut your fabric

Press the washed fabric with a steam iron to remove wrinkles. 

 Figure 1

Figure 1

Before cutting your fabric, take note of the fabric pattern direction.  Does the pattern go in one direction, two (half of the images are upside down), four directions, or any direction?  Make sure you cut your fabric and lay out your pieces accordingly.

For my pillow, the pinwheels go in one direction from fabric selvage to selvage.  Had this pattern been of flowers instead of pinwheels with stick handles, I could cut and position fabric in any direction.  I want to take care that the fabric in front and back are in the same direction with the visible stick handle pointing downward.

For a  14 X 14 inch pillow form, cut one 15 1/2 X 15 1/2 inch square of the fabric. Then cut two 15 1/2 x 11 1/2 inch rectangles. If you have one-half yard of fabric that is 44 - 45 inches wide,  you will cut the 11 1/2 lengths along the width of the fabric; otherwise, you will not have enough fabric for your project. Plus, the fabric grain for front and back should be aligned in the same direction. (Figure 1)

Step 3:  Prepare the back pieces

Lay the two back pieces, right side up, on your work surface in the direction that matches your front piece.  For the piece on the left, fold the right edge under 1/2 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric. Press.  For the piece on the right, fold the left edge under 1/2 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric. (See Figure 2.) Press with an iron. Sew at least a 2.5 length stitch near the fabric edge of the folded side. You may use a basting stitch if you want to remove these securing stitches later.

 Figure 2

Figure 2

Fold the sewn edge of the back pieces toward the wrong side of the fabric again by two inches. Press with an iron. Topstitch the folded edge and the hemmed edge (the edge closer to the middle of the fabric pieces) close to each edge as shown in Figure 3.

 Figure 3

Figure 3