Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Canvas Pillow Cover

I’m showing off some of my winter projects, this week.  Yesterday was all about my cheery snowflake tablecloth that found a few new things to cover.  Did you notice the pillow that was being propped up by some of those snowflakes?
This lovely canvas number was another one of my snow day sewing projects.  I’ll be forever grateful to this pretty pillow for helping me figure out how my sewing machine works. 
I started this pillow cover with one thing in mind: ruffles.  I wanted something ruffly on this pillow, but I didn’t want it to scream, “I’M A RUFFLED PILLOW!”

Hence, the reason this ruffle is sewn down on both sides, in the center of the pillow. 
Canvas is a thick, sturdy material that is very washable.  It gets softer with each wash, so it’s a great fabric for pillow covers.  I had some leftover fabric from my slipcover project, and I knew it would be perfect for the pillow I had in mind.
Because canvas is a thick, sturdy material, though, it can be hard to gather.  I often break gathering threads when I’m working with thin cotton fabrics, so I knew that for this project, I’d have to pull out the big guns. 
I have a very savvy sister who taught me the most fail-proof way ever to gather.  It’s simple: instead of basting, you sew a zigzag stitch over dental floss.  Seriously!

Just pull the dental floss 4-6 inches beyond the edge of your fabric.  Line up the floss with the middle of your presser foot.

Adjust your sewing machine to sew a wide zigzag stitch.  Then, zigzag right over that line of dental floss. 

Trim the floss 4-6 inches past the edge of the fabric.  When you are done sewing, pull on either end of the dental floss to gather the fabric into ruffles.  The floss won’t break!

Note that I used waxed floss.  This isn’t necessary or recommended.  I was too impatient to use anything that wasn’t already on hand at my house.  I rationalized that this cover wouldn’t get washed frequently, and I could airdry it.  For a ruffly clothing project, it would be best to use unwaxed floss. 
Back to the pillow.  In the process of figuring out how to do a zigzag stitch, I actually read the manual for my machine.  I discovered that my vintage machine is actually quite a superstar!  I’ve had her for 12 years, and never knew she had the potential to do stuff like this. 
Is it just me, or is the combination of canvas, ruffles, and embroidery AWESOME? 
It reminds me of Scandinavia.  So I went ahead and added more embroidery on the back for good measure.
This strange little picture proves that what we have here is really a pillow cover.
Sewing not your thing?  Join me tomorrow when I show an easy, almost-no-sew curtain solution.


  1. These are really cute, Ruth. I love the slipcovered chair. Can I ask how you did it? I have two wing back chairs and a sofa that are screaming to be slipcovered, but I'm a big chicken. Any tips in the right direction would be lovely!

  2. Love your pillows and the slipcovered chair! The ruffle on the slipcovered chair adds such a nice touch. Beautiful!

  3. That is absolutely GORGEOUS!! I really do love it. Thanks for linking up!

  4. So beautiful! Great job. (www.rufflesandricrac.blogspot.com)

  5. I absolutely love these -- so beautiful.. I'm simply inspired.. I'm Marilyn visiting from http://theartsygirlconnection.blogspot.com -- Officially your newest follower.. Can't wait to indulge in more of your work.. Off to browse more ;)) Please stop by and visit sometime ;)) THANKS!!