Usually I choose quick, beginner’s level sewing projects because I am impatient. For the August Pinterest Challenge, hosted by Erlene from My Pinterventures, I decided to challenge myself with some more-complicated-than-my-usual DIY Hello Fall Pillow Covers. By combining general sewing skills, applique, and some hand painting, I truly stretched the seamstress inside myself. Although each skill is not difficult, the project gets long when you’re adding more steps. At the end of the day, I was proud of my project.
The Autumn Leaves Pillow tutorial from fleecefun.com was right up my alley. They used fleece for the leaves, twill for the pillow, and some fabric paint to write the word “autumn.” I used flannel for the stems, leaves and pumpkins (oh so soft!), Waverly upholstery material for the pillow covers, and some yellow gingham fabric for the pumpkin flowers. I mixed Licorice Folk Art paint with textile medium to paint the words “hello” and “fall.” I used the same envelope pillow pattern from my DIY Beach Towel Pillow Cover.
- basic sewing supplies
- the following lengths of fabric to make 2 throw pillows:
- (2) 20″x 20″
- (2) 15 5/8 x 20″
- (2) 11 5/8′ by 20″
- fabric scraps for the stems, leaves, and pumpkin flowers
- (2) 18″ pillow forms, or 18″ throw pillows
- textile medium
- Folk Art Licorice Multi-surface paint
- small angled paint brush
- iron and ironing board
- Sharpie marker
- ink pen
First, cut the fabric pieces. Using a tape measure, I marked off each piece with a Sharpie marker, then cut each piece.
Next, cut your stems, leaves, and pumpkin flowers from your fabric scraps. I free-handed mine with ink (I looked at pictures of real stems, leaves, and pumpkin flowers on the internet), then cut them out. If you don’t want to draw them, print a free pattern template from your computer. You can pin the paper pattern to your fabric and cut it that way.
The flannel pumpkin was cut using a regular ole’ stoneware dinner plate as a pattern. Then, I drew a little wavy line at the bottom, so that my circle would look more like a pumpkin. Fold the pumpkin in half, then draw the line. Cut on the line. This method ensures both sides of the pumpkin will look the same.
Now, pin it all together and see how it looks.
It’s time to paint hello and fall. I printed a pattern on Microsoft Word using the 200 font size and AR Christy font. I found the center of my pumpkin by folding it in half twice, then placing a pin in the bottom corner. I used that pin as a reference to center the words on my pumpkin. After that, I put the printed word pattern above my work space, and looked at the pattern while free-handing the words on the flannel pumpkins with a pencil. I tried to trace it using the chalk method, but it didn’t show up on the fabric.
Mix the textile medium with the Licorice paint. Use a small angled brush to paint the letters, then use a blow dryer to dry. It’s a good idea to place cardboard under your project while painting. The fabric is porous, and will allow the paint to soak through.
Fold the 20″ x 20″ fabric section in half twice. Do the same with the pumpkin (do not remove the pinned-on stem, leaf, and flower). Place a pin in the bottom corner of the folded pumpkin and the folded fabric. These are your centers. Pin the center of the pumpkin to the center of the fabric. Pin everything together, all the way around.
Okay, let’s applique. Put your machine on the applique stitch. It’s stitch #11 on my Brother machine. Sew around the outside of the pumpkin, stem, leaf, and flower. Once the outside is sewn on well you can go back and finish sewing the part of the the flower, leaf, and stem that are on the inside of the pumpkin. Go back over any missed areas. Left alone they will fray and make you look like a careless seamstress.
The hard part is over! Fold one 20″ edge of each panel over two times, and iron. Sew the seam down with a straight stitch (#7 on the Brother). You will be doing this on one side of all four of the remaining pieces. You should have two 15 5/8″ x 20″ pieces, and two 11 5/8″ x 20″ pieces. These pieces create the “envelope” look in the back, kind of like a pillow sham. The 5/8 part is the seam you’re folding under. Always allow an extra 5/8 when you’re sewing a seam. Those old-time sewers knew what they were talking about when they said to allow 5/8” of fabric for a seam. If you actually measure your folded-over seam, you will see that it’s nearly always about 5/8″.
Pin the right side of the 20″ x 20″ panel to the right sides of the smaller panels. The panel seams should be facing the center. They will overlap.
Sew all around the outside, using the straight stitch (#7). DO NOT sew the center. This is the place where you’re going to insert your pillow form. Trim the edges, then turn it out. Stuff it with a pillow, and you’re done!