Tag Archives: envelope pillow

Tree Block Patchwork Pillow

I love leftovers!  Especially fabric leftovers.

My Christmas project this year used seven leftover tree blocks from my “A Home in the Forest” wall quilt, patchwork rectangles, batting with hand quilting, and red piping to make an pillow cover.  I quilted little tree shapes on some of the patchwork squares.

Tree pillow cover with piping

Making my own piping was worth the extra steps.  I wanted to match the binding on my “A Home in the Forest” wall quilt.

Home in the Forest Quilt binding

A home in the forest quilt

I cut 1 and 1/2 inch bias strips and encased the clothesline cord using the machine’s zipper foot.

Then I moved my needle closer to the piping and sewed it to the quilted front of the pillow.  The edge of the fabric on the piping has to be clipped as you come to the corners to help the piping lie flat when you make the sharp turns.

Lastly, I put the two pieces for the envelope back face down (wrong side up) on top of the pillow front and moved my needle all the way to the left to get as close to the piping as possible.  In this step you can’t actually see the piping, but you can feel and see the raised ridge it makes.

pillow envelope back

My completed top before sewing front and back together was 14 and 1/2 inches to fit a 14 inch square pillow form. I cut the fabric for the back 20 inches long to allow for the overlap, then cut it in half and hemmed both sides.

Tree block patchwork pillow 14inch form

Tree Block Pillow on couch

In hindsight, I should have arranged the squares differently and added a tree block to the middle row so that a tree would be the focal point in the center instead of the two patchwork squares.  With the chubbiness of the pillow form the bottom trees aren’t as visible.  Oh, well.  I don’t want to take it apart. I was thinking about appliqueing a tree to the center.  Maybe I will give it a try before putting it away because I feel it needs a “fix” to be artistically pleasing. Do you agree or am I being obsessive?

Unlike most of my sewing, I was more process oriented than product oriented when making this pillow. It was fun, relaxing, and soothing to create.

The tree blocks are from Amy Smart, who writes the blog “Diary of a Quilter”.  She wrote tutorials for both a small size block and a larger size for big quilts. This is a fun block to make as the cuts to make the tree are done freehand instead of by measuring.  You can’t go wrong!

Thank you for reading along this year on my sewing and crafting journey.  I appreciate your comments and encouragement as I try to improve my sewing and write posts that are interesting for you to read.

Happy New Year!












Graphic T-Shirt into Pillow

While I may never do a “what my father wore” post, my dad did manage to inspire a sewing project.  Although Dad passed away several years ago, I have kept several of the tee shirts he wore after his retirement.  Dad wore a lot of pictorial or graphic tees, including some that were souvenirs from places he had traveled to.  As I was looking over Dad’s shirts prior to Father’s Day, one caught my eye that I liked and thought that I could repurpose so I could enjoy it instead of just storing it.

Smokey Tee Shirt

This Smokey Bear tee shirt dates from 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the popular character for an advertising campaign to educate the public about fire safety.

As a kid, I remember having the comic book “The True Story of Smokey Bear” about a orphaned cub who was found burned and clinging to a charred tree during a 1950 forest fire in New Mexico. He was rescued, named Smokey, and became the living symbol of the forest fire prevention icon. Smokey received so many letters in the 1960s that he had his own zip code, and was a popular attraction at the National Zoo in Washington D.C., where he lived for the rest of his life.

In 2001 Smokey’s slogan was changed to “Only You can prevent wildfires” broadening the safety awareness to include brush fires in populated areas of California and other western states where drought and human carelessness have led to devastating fires and the loss of life and thousands of homes.

Smokey Bear will be 70 years old this August, and now uses social media to spread his message with a Facebook page as well as Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Getting back to sewing…

Pillow Form

I decided to take the Smokey Bear shirt and make an envelope pillow cover to put over a pillow form I already had.  An envelope pillow cover has an overlapping back like a pillow sham.  I like envelope pillows for ease of making, and ability to remove the cover for cleaning or simply wanting to swap one cover for another.

After cutting out the center motif, I added fabric strips to enlarge the pillow front to fit my form.  My motif was not square and I also like the way they add a border to frame the design.   My fabric strips were from a forest green heavy napkin so I was able to use the finished edges for the two back pieces. The envelope back can also be made from the rest of the tee shirt.

My front piece was  15 inch by 15 inch leaving seam allowances of 1/2 inch per side to fit my 14 by 14 inch pillow form.  I cut my back piece 15 inch by 18 inch and then cut that piece in two for an overlap of 3 inches.  I would have cut the back piece 2 inches longer if I had needed to hem the 2 envelope edges. Then I put right sides together, positioned the back pieces with the overlap, pinned, and stitched around all four sides.  I clipped the corners, turned right side out, and put the pillow form inside.

Smokey Envelope Pillow Back

I thought there was too much slack so I stitched again from the right side top and bottom where the tee meets the border fabric to create a flange, and really like the way this looks.

Tee Shirt into Envelope PillowMake a Graphic Tee Shirt into an Envelope Pillow

Another idea I have for tee shirt envelope pillows is using sports teams tees which could be swapped according to the season and would look great in a den or boy’s room.

Making a pillow from a graphic tee shirt is a fantastic way to reuse tees that are too big, too small, too worn or stained, or are never worn,  but have that logo or picture that you love and want to keep.