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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)

Nan Claypool said:
Nan Claypool's picture

For those of us in really hot climates-- the coverlet is just hemmed and trimmed without the quilting.....

Kristin Perret-Gentil said:
Kristin Perret-Gentil's picture

I love the velvet bows on the end, it makes the pillow so elegant!

weaving heather said:
 weaving heather's picture

Wow it would be fun to win 12 yards of this gorgeous fabric. Some would be coll in clothes and some would be great for the bedroom project. The patterns and prints are so gorgeous

Connie Douty said:
Connie Douty's picture

Pillow jackets all around make me feel so lady like.  My daughter and granddaughter deserve some made from the beautiful fabric.  There is no excuse not to get busy making many pillow jackets for your tutorial is excellent.  Thanks for the beauty.  Makes me thankful to be a sewing lady.

Kirsty H said:
Kirsty H's picture

So happy to have discovered your website - what amazing ideas! Thank you! :)

Sharon in Florida said:
Sharon in Florida's picture

I love the Tree of Life print. The colors are beautiful and the pillow is lovely.

duff said:
duff's picture

I would not have chosen black fo rhte side ties but wow! they are just perfect. I love the way they make the blue pop out. 

p.s. the invisible zipper tutorial was fabulous! I'm going to see if there's a foot for my machine.

carol d said:
carol d's picture

Thanks for both the stimulating fabric designs and interesting ways to use them!

jmp0801 said:
jmp0801's picture

I love the Tree of Life print and the pillow is beautiful.  Thanks for the tutorial.

Haslina Mohd Salleh said:
Haslina Mohd Salleh's picture

Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous! With the right colour and print...can definitely brighten  up any upholstery...thanks for the tutorial

Georgia J said:
Georgia J's picture

Love the fabric. I like that you have detailed direction on how to sew what you show. I absolutely love the romantic theme.


Samina said:
Samina's picture

Gorgeous fabrics & yet another tutorial to add to my queue of projects!

ccamp said:
ccamp's picture

This is a great idea.  Once agaon very good tutorial.  Thank you.

Brenda C said:
Brenda C's picture

Great combinations!  Wonderful ideas!  Can't wait to finish mine.....thanks!

Sandra Heath said:
Sandra Heath's picture

Pretty fabrics, I will be looking for them, and I would like to make the pillow jacket.

MarciaFlorida said:
MarciaFlorida's picture

These fabrics together are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the tutorial on how to make this creative project.

JoyceLM said:
JoyceLM's picture

This is a great idea to change up my bedroom.  Thanks for the tutorial.