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A Romantic Bedroom Retreat with Rowan & FreeSpirit Fabrics: Pillow Jacket

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Pillow Jackets are a S4H exclusive: a plain base pillow with a changeable sleeve. Like pillow paper dolls, they make décor swap-outs a snap! The jacket slips over a complimentary fabric-covered pillow to create a unique, layered look – a new outfit for your pillow. For our Romantic Bedroom Retreat series with Rowan and FreeSpirit, the Pillow Jacket was a great opportunity to bring together fabrics from two different collections into one lovely combination: Amy Butler's Cameo in Forget Me Not for the inside along with Tula Pink's The Birds & The Bees in Tree of Life for the outside. And... who can resist those romantic black velvet bows? 

Want to learn more about how we brought together four different collections into a cohesive design? Take a look at our tutorial: A Romantic Bedroom Retreat with Rowan & FreeSpirit Fabrics: How to Mix and Match Designer Fabric Collections. The Pillow Jacket is a great project to practice using your new-found tools, inspiration and confidence to mix and match designers, fabrics and substrates. One simple toss pillow has the flexibility to morph into a virtually endless variety of combinations. The resulting blend can create a special kind of beauty. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

Getting Started

  1. From the fabric for the inside pillow (Forget Me Not in Olive from Cameo in our sample), cut TWO 13" high x 23" wide rectangles.
  2. From the fabric for the pillow jacket (Tree of Life in Pool from The Birds & The Bees in our sample) fussy cut TWO 25" high x 23" wide rectangles.
  3. Cut the ribbon into FOUR 18" lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Base pillow

  1. Find the two 13" x 23" inside pillow rectangles. 
  2. Center the invisible zipper along what will be the bottom 23" side of each inside pillow rectangle. 
  3. Pin and stitch in place, using a Concealed Zipper foot. 
    NOTE: If you are new to inserting invisible zippers, we have a great tutorial: Invisible Zippers Are Your Friends.
  4. With the zipper open, pin and stitch the side and top seams, using a ½" seam allowance. 
  5. Clip the corners.
  6. Turn the pillow right side out through the open zipper. Push out all the corners with a long, blunt end tool (a chopstick or knitting needle works well) so they are nice and sharp
  7. Insert the pillow form and zip closed. Set aside.
    NOTE: If you think you'll be keeping the base fabric consistent, won't need to do more than spot clean the pillow, and will only be changing out the pillow jacket; you could skip the invisible zipper. Instead, simply leave an opening in one seam, turn the pillow cover right side, insert the pillow form, and hand stitch the opening closed.

Pillow jacket

  1. Find the two 25" x 23" pillow jacket rectangles.
  2. Fold each rectangle in half, aligning the 23" sides. Pin in place.
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch both seams. You now have two tubes. 
  4. Press the seams open and flat.
  5. Turn ONE tube right side out. 
  6. On the right side, measure and mark the center of each side of each end opening. 
  7. Find the four lengths of ribbon. Pin one end of each ribbon at each of the four center marks. The ribbon and the fabric should be right sides together.
  8. Machine baste each ribbon in place, staying about ¼" from the raw edges.
  9. Tie the ends of the loose ribbons tails together or pin them together. You simply want to keep them in the center, out of the way of the seams.
  10. Find the other tube, which should still be wrong side out. This is the lining tube.
  11. Slip the first tube, with the ribbons in place (the exterior tube), inside this second tube (the lining tube), so the two tubes are now right sides together and the ribbons are sandwiched in between the layers.
  12. Match up the seams and align the position of the ribbons on ONE end only. Pin in place.
  13. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around this one end. 
  14. Turn right side out through the open end, folding the lining through to the inside so the two tubes are now wrong sides together. Unpin or untie the ribbon ends and pull the sewn ribbon tails out. 
  15. Press well. Be careful to not press directly on the velvet ribbon unless you use a pressing cloth and low heat. 
  16. Edgestitch around the sewn end.
  17. On the open end, pull the ribbon tails free. 
  18. Fold back the raw edge of both the exterior layer and the lining layer ½" all the way around. Press well.
  19. Pin the folded and pressed edges together, keeping the folds flush with one another. 
  20. Edgestitch all the way around.
  21. Slip the base pillow inside the pillow jacket and center it side to side. 
  22. Tie the ribbons into a pretty bow on each end. 


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild



Comments (83)

Taja said:
Taja's picture

Love the pillow jacket! I live in a small space, so everything I use for seasonal decorating or general updating has to be stored flat and in minimal space. This is an idea that will be very easy to incorporate!

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

The Tree of Life fabric is to die for!  I have 2 couch pillows that are in desperate need of a new cover (too comfy to buy new pillows) so this tutorial will come in handy.  I love that I can make a customized pillow cover that I can wash, that's definitely important to a mom of a 6 year old!

lynaeve said:
lynaeve's picture

I actually need to do this. We have these super ugly pillows I never use.

gibbylet said:
gibbylet's picture

That's really interesting, I love that Tula Pink collection and got most of it, but I wasn't sure about how large that Amy Butler print was, so its really nice to see it against something I own so I can get a better idea of it.

I'm now fed up wtih my boring old pillows and need to try this, it certainly does seem more romantic!

jane @rickrackandpolkadots.com said:
jane @rickrackandpolkadots.com's picture

Love this idea; very clever...  Thank you!

asdrexler said:
asdrexler's picture

this is a great size for a pillow- esp. for the bed reader, like me!

Sonja Andrews said:
Sonja Andrews's picture

Very cute ... and gives me some great ideas for my own room :)

luvdafroggy said:
luvdafroggy's picture

So many fantastic ideas!  Love Free Spirit fabrics; can't wait to get to my sewing machine!  Thanks.  =)

newsew11 said:
newsew11's picture

Beautiful fabric!  And I like the idea of having a coordinating fabric "peeking" out of the side.

J. Botelho said:
J. Botelho's picture

The Quilt and matching pillows make the room look so relaxing, a place to go relax after you finish a sewing project

Barbara Johnson said:
Barbara Johnson's picture

I love the idea that you can switch out the covers to match your mood, the season, or whatever else strikes your fancy!  

Debbie Baierh said:
Debbie Baierh's picture

Your tutorials are so well done and the fabric choices are inspired. Thanks for sharing such great information.

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

I really like the idea of the pillow jacket, and what a great tutorial.  Love the fabrics.

savitarsiberians@netzero.net said:
savitarsiberians@netzero.net's picture

Have seen these pillow jackets in many places, and plan on making some soon.

sarahkate said:
sarahkate's picture

First of all, I LOVE this Tula Pink fabric, I love all her designs but this one is gorgeous! I also love how perfectly it pairs with the Amy Butler fabric, which I love too! Then add the velvet bows, this project is awesome! 

TikiChic said:
TikiChic's picture

I love Tula Pink, but it was this picture that made me fall in love with this new line - I have to go order some!! (Though it would be even more grand to win some, wink-wink!)

deede said:
deede's picture

I LOVE this; I haven't seen something like this before! Now I'll have to decide which fabric to use to make this for my bedroom. Thanks for a great post!

Catherine Sylvester said:
Catherine Sylvester's picture

I love the quick change idea.  It is so pretty.  I will be making a few.

Cheryl Johnson said:
Cheryl Johnson's picture

Can't wait to try the pillow . Great tips . Hope I  win the fabric give away


mcruppe said:
mcruppe's picture

Agreed! The ribbon is perfect and the idea is very slick-makes changing looks easy and affordable

Dena Abella said:
Dena Abella's picture

What a beautiful idea.  The fabrics are to die for and I can't wait to check back with your site to get more ideas.  Thanks!

Cathryn Hepburn said:
Cathryn Hepburn's picture

How fun is this? Decorating lessons as well as the possibility of winning new fabric to do the decorating. I like the idea.

Carol fiorella said:
Carol fiorella's picture

Love all these fabric, that pillow with the velvet  ribbon is beautiful

Mary Snyder said:
Mary Snyder's picture

What a neat idea, thanks for the instructions.  I have some large prints that "what do I do with this" comes to mind.

Janet Pierce said:
Janet Pierce's picture

Am looking forward to changing up my bedroom.  Thanks for the tutorials.  Also, love the fabrics and thanks for the giveaway.