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29 Apr 2013


I've spent a lot of time painting a piece of furniture this past weekend and will probably continue to paint as I find time in the next few days to get more coats on.  I'm pretty excited about this piece since it is very Scandinavian, but that's all I'm going to tell you for now.  You'll have to stay tuned to find out what I've painted. :)  How's that for a little suspense/build-up?  Now, hopefully, it will turn out as fabulous as I am envisioning!

So since I am still painting, I thought I would post the pillow tutorial I shared at It's Overflowing last week.  Tech Guy's den is still high on my to-do list.  I do have some non-sewing related projects in there as well, but I seem to be sharing the sewing ones first (you can read about them here. :)  Here's the post:

Today I am sharing a tutorial on how you can make a professional looking pillow cover from a pair of napkins.  I often fall in love with the textiles that I find in the linen section of my favourite decorating stores.  Since I don't often have formal dinners with table linens, I like to repurpose the linens into something else like the two pillow covers pictured below.  They are both made from inexpensive napkins!

I found these hand-blocked chevron-isc napkins at my local fabric store and they were just the right colour for our den.  The smaller scale print also balanced the larger prints we already had going on.

I love to use invisible zippers for my pillow covers because they give a clean professional look and you have the flexibility of using either side of the pillow facing out.  This is great if you end up getting a stain on your pillow cover or if you want to use another fabric on the other side to get two different looks.

Now for the tutorial. :)

2 napkins
1 invisible zipper
coordinating thread

Step 1:  Measure napkins to calculate your seem allowance.  my napkins were 20 1/2" square and my pillow form was 20" square.  I like my pillow covers to fit tight so I took a 3/4"seam allowance which left me with a finished pillow cover size of 19 3/4".  You can always decrease the seam allowance a little for a looser fit.

Step 2:  Mark the centre of the bottom of both napkins (I used a pin in the left side picture below) and the mid point of your zipper (I used a red marker on the edges of the zipper tape).  You will also want to mark on the zipper tape where the zipper teeth start (right side of picture below).

Step 3:  Open up your zipper and pin it to the bottom of the right side of one napkin with the teeth facing into the centre of the napkin.  Match your marked centre of the napkin to the marked centre of your zipper.  Then sew your zipper starting at the mark you made to indicate the start of the zipper tape in Step 2.  Stitch as close to the zipper teeth as possible.  You can use an invisible zipper foot or a regular zipper foot.  If you use a regular zipper foot, you can iron the teeth open or open them up by rolling the zipper teeth away from the tape as you sew (like I did in the picture below).  Sew along this way until the zipper closure stops you.

Step 4:  Repeat Step 3 sewing the other side of the zipper to your other napkin.  The zipper teeth should face the middle of the napkin and you napkins should be right sides together.

Step 5:  Close your zipper and line up the corners of your napkins.  I used the blue pin below to indicate where I can start sewing.  There will be a little gap in sewing between the zipper and the rest of the pillow cover which is okay.

Step 6:  Now that you have your corners lined up you will sew around the pillow(right sides together) starting as close to the zipper as you can and ending as close to the zipper as possible.  Use your needle down option on your machine to make it easier to pivot around the corners.  **Make sure to unzip your zipper at least half way before you start sewing so that you can turn it right side out at the end.**

Step 7:  Clip your corners using pinking shears if you have them.  I couldn't find mine so I just clipped with regular scissors and then finished the raw edge with a zig zag stitch.  Pinking shears would have been easier for sure. :)  Turn your cover right side out and push the corners out with a blunt pointed object (I used a knitting needle).

And that's it!  One napkin pillow cover with a professional invisible zipper closure.

Here it is at home in our den:

I hope you liked this tutorial and has given you inspiration to repurpose some table linens.  


  1. Too cute! Love that fabric. What craft store did you pick up your napkins from?

    1. Thanks so much! The napkins were purchased from Fabricland in Canada. They were made by Tag http://tagltd.com/index.aspx. I hope that helps!

  2. How beautiful! I can't believe those were napkins! I'm just getting into sewing. I've made a pocket pillow, but no zippers yet! Maybe I'll get brave and try it soon! ;) I popped over from House of Hepworths--thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

  3. I love that you saved some steps by using napkins. The patterns are just perfect! By the way, I absolutely LOVE your couch!

    We'd love for you to share your posts with our readers at our weekly Finished Friday Link-up.

  4. It's super adorable! Love the idea, too. I'm visiting from the Sundae Scoop Link Party.. hope you'll stop by and say hello!

    -Bonnie @ Revolutionaries

  5. These are adorable! What a wonderful tutorial for the zipper too! Thanks so much for sharing at Monday Funday! Pinning! ;) Bonnie @ Uncommon Designs

  6. Great pillows. Love your design scheme.

  7. I had to laugh when I saw this post as I picked up the same napkins not too long ago on clearance and was thinking the exact same thing, PILLOWS!!!! Great post :)

    1. Haha, Great minds think alike! :)

  8. Wow, that was a great tutorial! I have read a few and you were very thorough and concise. I can't wait to make my pillows

  9. Oh, great! I would love to see your pillows when you're done. Happy Sewing!


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