Scrappy and Clothed

November 11, 2011   //  Posted in: Decor, DIY, Living Room   //  By: Emily   //  4 responses

Naked pillows, no more. They’re dressed to impress. At least I think so.

I had some leftover scraps from my gray felt ottoman project, and in that waste-not-slash-I’m-sorta-cheap mentality, I put every last piece to use. Adding custom cases to the “naked pillows” I referenced in my November To-Do post helps to pull the living room together without it being overwhelmingly matchy (and is way less expensive than going out and buying new cases retail). After all, I’m kind of into making the room cohesive; when I created and hung the DIY Roman shade, I purposefully opted for the warm, charcoal gray felt to coordinate with the fabric I had already used on the ottoman, so the addition of that same fabric on the couch ties into the whole look, exuding that woolen-warm feel even more. It’s a subtle heather that adds a little interest, but still acts as a neutral color and texture.

Enough with the rationale, onto the pretty:

Newbies on the couch.

I’m no stranger to making pillowcases, but it was my first experience trying real zippers. Shocker? Previously assuming that it was more complex than adding a overlapping flap or buttons to the back of the problem, I had always avoided zippers in spite how nice and seamless they make throw pillows look. Probably has something to do with the horror associated with a zipper breaking, ruining the whole shebang, like the jeans I wore last weekend that spontaneously combusted at a dinner party. Whatever. All I can say now is that zipper installation is easy. And if they break, it’ll be easy and inexpensive to replace too. And I might actually try and fix those jeans myself, whhaa? Right.

Gee, I wish they had more options for a zipper-installation-newbie to choose from.

JoAnn's zipper madness.

I came home with a set of of polyester thin-toothed zippers, selecting sizes that were 16″ in length to accomodate the 16″ down pillows. True story, I was drawn to the brand because it was cited as being strong, durable, and all purpose. Others seemed flimsy or for special use, and I wanted something robust and traditional. Two that I bought were gray, purposely similar to the felt, although a little lighter of a shade. Pretty, but with some contrast.

Light gray zippers and felt.

For the other two zippers, I opted for more contrast. I couldn’t pass up picking up Tango and Spark Gold (remind you of a certain something that’s both laughing and energetic?) even though they were only available in 14″ lengths. (The only let-down of the massive zipper selection was that not every color was available in every length, so it was a little more take-what-you-can-get than what you might expect.)

Contrasting zippers!

All four retailed between 1.99-2.29 each. So affordable. I also picked up a new spool of black thread, with a 25% off coupon off my whole order, the total bill for 4 zippering-scrap-felt-slipcovers was just $8.02.

I chose to use my scraps a few different ways so that I ended up with complementary pillows that weren’t identical. The first that I made was more complex than the others (isn’t that how it always is, big thinker?). I used a ribbing technique to texture the felt into half inch puffs. I used a flat piece of felt along the back, and installed the zipper perfectly the first try. (I’m trying not to sound smug though; I did mess up at least two times on other pillows because I was acting like a sew-it-all. Get it? Like know-it-all. Sigh, TGIF.)

Ribbed pillow, perfect zipper installation.

My second model (where I used the other gray zipper) was infinitely simplified; the most neutral of the whole set, I matched two smooth pieces together, hemmed the edges, and kept it easy. The hemming looks more like a purposeful piping along the edge, and also makes it so that the zipper isn’t visible at all; it falls within the hem crease and looks uber finished compared to the rest of the set.

First and second pillows, ornate and simple side-by-side. The third and fourth pillow cases also turned out well.

Scrappy success: the third and fourth completed pillows.

They were a little bit more patchwork-y in construction because I used my bigger pieces of felt on other pillows, but I think they turned out nicely. Side note: Those straight seams are hard to get right; I did a lot of seam removal to get them even. Could have been avoided had I owned some straight pins, so there’s my tip-of-the-day for y’all.

A little scrappier than others, the backsides of these pillows took on a more patchwork appearance.

Patchwork appearance aside, I adore the zippers. Continuing to infuse little bits of these colors into my life makes me happy.

Zippy color splash. Oohs, ahhs.

For just $8 (with existing down pillow forms) it was a quick way to add a little cozy wintertime oomph to the living room. Very comfy.

Newbies on the couch. How about you? DIY wintertime decor accents in your future?

  • Martina
    6 years ago - Reply

    Ahh! Those are super cute! I especially like the bright zippers contrasting against the dark grey felt & the pillow with the sewn wrinkles/texture is amazeballs.

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Glad you like! Soft and comfy too!

    6 years ago - Reply

    totally loving the fun pillows made from scrap! Cheap and chic! ;)

    (totally have had that same zipper issue before… but mine was a button popping off… whomp whomp…) I guess it makes for a funny story later!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Thanks Ashley! Re zipper poppin’: How about I only noticed at the end of the night when I was back home? Shoot.

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