Okay I could not resist the alliteration in the title, but I really am here today to show you how to make pretty piped pillows. If you have been successful with the easy two-seam envelope pillows, then you should have no problem pulling these off. They only require a few extra, but still easy, steps.
When I chose the suzani print fabric for the euro pillows in the master bedroom, I knew I wanted to add black piping to them for a nice, tailored look. I also still wanted to make an envelope style pillow, because I hate sewing in zippers.
There are two main differences when making an envelope pillow with piped seams:
1. You have to add piping (obvious, right?)
2. Because you want piping on all four sides, you cannot use one continuous piece of fabric. Instead, you need a pillow front and two pieces of fabric to make the overlapping pillow back.
I made these late at night, but I managed to take a few pictures to better explain my process. Here is the complete step by step:
1. Cut out the front of your pillow. Take your fabric pattern into account when cutting your pillow front. I centered the largest medallion on my suzani print in the center of the pillow front. I always cut my pillow pieces the same dimensions as the pillow, without any seam allowance. This keeps the pillow cover nice and tight, and allows the pillow form to really fill out the cover for a plump look.
2. For easy corners, make them round. Use a small round object to trace a rounded corner. Round corners are much easier with piping.
3. Pin the piping around the pillow front on the right side of the fabric. The part with the cord should be towards the inside and the edge should line up with the fabric edge. Start in the center of the bottom edge and go all the way around the pillow. Put a few extra pins around the corners to make the turn. When you get to the end, overlap the two ends of the piping in an “x”. Once it is all sewn up, you will hardly notice where the piping overlaps.
4. Baste the piping in place by sewing along the fabric edge. Basting is a longer stitch, not meant to be structural. It is meant to hold something in place temporarily. When basting on a sewing machine, set your stitch to the longest length and don’t do any back-stitching at the start or stop of your seam.
5. Cut the pillow back pieces. You will need two pieces. Each piece should be the same width as your pillow front. The pieces should overlap at least 2″. I prefer a wider overlap and on these large euro pillows I went with a 4″ overlap. If you overlap is not big enough, your pillow will pucker out the back. (See what my back pieces look like below, to get the opening toward the bottom of the pillow)
6. Just like in Step 2, round the corners on your pillow back pieces. You will round the top corners on one piece and the bottom corners on the other piece. Make sure your fabric pattern is going in the same direction on both pieces.
7. Hem the straight edge of both back pieces. Fold over the edge 1/4″ to the wrong side. Then fold it over again 1/4″ and pin. Stitch a straight line along the fold to create the hem.
8. Lay down your pillow front right side up. Lay your back pieces on top right side down, lining up the rounded corners with the front. Make sure to lay the top back piece down first, because that is the flap that will be on the outside of the finished pillow. Pin the back pieces to the front piece.
9. Use an invisible zipper foot to stitch around the pillow cover. Guide the fabric so the foot is pushed right up against the cord in the piping. Stitching as close as possible to the cord will ensure a nice finished look. In the picture, the right side of the cord is next to the presser foot and my middle finger is guiding along the left side of the cord.
10. Flip your pillow inside out and stuff a pillow insert inside.
My complete pretty piped pillows fit right in with the rest of the bedding in my modern Moroccan master retreat.
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