Seasonal Pillow Covers with Cutting Edge Stencils

I have to admit, it’s a lot different crafting for Christmas right now, when I don’t have to worry about shopping and shoveling and attending family functions.  It’s a ton of fun to have time to craft without that extra Christmas pressure!  
Today I’m going to show you a quick and easy way to dress up your living room for any holiday.  When Cutting Edge Stencils found out I was doing Christmas in July, they sent me a set of Snowflake Stencils to review, and they are also sponsoring a free stencil (up to $50 value) in this week’s big giveaway!  So I was given free product for today’s post (merry Christmas to me!) to tell you what I think of it.  A girl could get used to being showered in gifts of craft supplies, I tell ya. ;)

Because I focus on quick crafts here, I went small with my stencils.  You can definitely do some really amazing things with the all-over stencils and wall stencils.  I LOVE the amazing room and furniture transformations I see using stencils, but you can also add some really cool touches to a room without touching the walls or furniture, too!

I thought I’d try my hand at stenciling on fabric, by making a pillow cover and using some acrylic paints.

What you will need:
  • The stencil of your choice.  Cutting Edge has so many stencil designs to choose from, and they can scale them to just about any size you need for your project.
  • 44″ x 19″ fabric of your choice for a 18″ square pillow
  • 18″ pillow form – or use your existing pillows (you will need to adjust your measurements for other sizes of pillows)
  • Acrylic paints in your room’s color scheme
  • Textile medium (available right next to the acrylic paints)
  • Paintbrush
  • Iron
  • Basic sewing supplies

You can either start by stenciling your fabric and then sewing it, or make your pillow cover first.  I made my pillow cover first.  Because, you know, I’m destined to do everything the hard way.  :P
In all seriousness, though – the flatter and smoother your fabric, the easier job you will have at stenciling.  When I got started, I decided to do the pillow cover first because I was more interested in the exact placement of the snowflakes on the finished pillow… which I promptly changed my mind about once I got painting and was better able to envision it.  So in yet another learn-from-me-moment, I’d recommend stenciling first.
Either way you start, measure the pillows you plan to cover so that you know how much fabric to buy/raid your stash for.  Make sure you use a flexible ruler (mine bends) or tape measure to measure from one seam to the other.  Add 1″ of fabric width to that number.  My pillow was 18″ – so I needed a width of fabric 19″.  
The good news is that if your pillow is close to 16″ – 18″, you will be able to use the 44″ width of fabric off the bolt without cutting or sewing any additional length.  I’m going to give you the measurements assuming you’re using an 18″ pillow which is a pretty standard size, but if your pillows are different, you’ll need to make adjustments (or buy a 18″ pillow form just for swapping covers seasonally).

Because you should really stencil first, I’m going to show you the stenciling first – though you’ll notice my pillow cover is already finished.  Cutting Edge has a You Tube Channel to show you the techniques for working on all kinds of surfaces, so check that out first if this is your first time.  I will point out a few things I learned as I worked (including why a nice flat piece of fabric is important) – but I’m going to send you over to the tutorial for stenciling on fabric at the Cutting Edge Stencils blog.  Gabi does a fantastic job explaining how to use your stencil on fabric – so there’s no point in me repeating it all here!

What I will mention is that this is why getting your fabric and stencil as flat as possible is important: any bumps (like seams) won’t allow your stencil to lie flat.  If it’s not flat, you will need to hold the stencil down firmly while you work, so you don’t risk getting paint bleed underneath.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised about how easy it was to work with these stencils.  The detail on the snowflake had me worried I was in over my head.  They also washed off really well too, and they are made of a heavy duty plastic, so I will be able to re-use them over and over again for anything I want to look a little frosty for winter. ;)
Now, once you have your fabric stenciled to your liking and it’s fully dry, then you can make it into your pillow cover.  And I DO have a tutorial for you to accomplish that today!
Place your fabric stenciled-side down.  Fold the selvedge down, and turn it down once more.  Pin it.  You can cut the selvedge off completely if you want to (the selvedge is that raw edge along the width of the fabric, that is a lot of time printed with the name and designer of the fabric).  I didn’t bother to cut it off, I just made sure the raw edge was completely covered with the narrow hem.
Stitch a hem along each edge.  Then, we will be folding it up to make our pillow cover.

Lay out your fabric, stenciled side up.  Then fold one side toward the center, and then the other side, adjusting your folds so that you end up with a width of 18″ like the photo below.  Your stencils should all be on the inside.  It doesn’t have to be precisely centered – but do make sure your flaps are closer to the center rather than closer to the edge.  (If you didn’t heed my advice and haven’t painted your fabric yet, or are using a printed fabric, just make sure your ugly hems are facing up here, and the finished side of your fabric is all on the inside.)
Pin it along your raw edges, and then stitch along each side, like below.  You should be left with what looks like an inside-out pillow cover (because it is an inside-out pillow cover).
Now, just open the flap, reach in, and turn it right side out.
It should look much more like a real pillow cover now. ;) Flatten it out, and smooth the edges (especially the corners).  Once you have it nice and smooth, iron the edges to get them nice and crisp.
Now, topstitch very close to the edge, all the way around.  I usually use the edge of my presser foot as a guide.  All you’re doing it stitching through the whole cover, all the way around.  Again, you’ll be looking at your stenciled pattern while you’re doing this part, if you took my advice to stencil first.
This reinforces your original stitching, and also gives you a nice finished look.

Then, just put it on your pillow!  If you want to get fancy, you could add a button and buttonhole to the back to keep it closed, but for pillows 18″ and smaller, you should have enough overlap that your pillow will stay covered on the back side.

You could do this to add a pop of color or a holiday touch depending on the occasion, and switch your covers up as often as you want – because a pillow cover stores in a much smaller space than an entire pillow – and the DIY-factor is always a plus.  Yes, I made this, thank you. ;)

If you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, be sure to drop by!  There are prize packs worth over $100 each for SIX lucky Happy Hour readers!

Disclosure – I received a stencil and supplies from Cutting Edge Stencils for the purpose of this review.  The opinions in this post are my own.

I link up to these great parties!


  1. Cathy Kennedy says

    Cool idea! I like stuff like this, but frequently find myself admiring others' work and not actually doing any of the DIY myself. ^.^

  2. Terry says

    I love the colours that you chose for this project and agree that it must be nicer to do Christmas crafts without the surrounding craziness, lol.

  3. Heather says

    I love these easy pillows with the envelope closing – makes it so much easier to change things up,

  4. Dot says

    Such a beautiful pillow!! I bet it is nicer to work on Christmas things now than when there is so much craziness going on later. The snow shoveling, family get-togethers, shopping, etc.

  5. Kadie says

    I LOVE your pillow!! I always love snowflakes because we don't get many of them here!!:) I really like the colors and the stencil does look easy to use. How fun!

  6. Heather says

    Thanks for sharing this great project on the All Star Block Party!! And your tree necklace too. Still trying to figure out what project I have that you would like so we can swap.

  7. Full Circle Creations says

    I adore snowflakes. Your pillow turned out great. Thanks so much for sharing at the All Star Block Party.


  8. Danni Baird says

    That is one good looking pillow! If only I didn't stink at stenciling! You do a great job of it though!

  9. Jessi Wohlwend says

    Way cool! I love the way you overlapped some of the snowflakes; they look fantastic! I just bought my first stencil and have plans to use it soon, I'm so excited :-) Thanks so much for sharing this at The Fun In Functional!

  10. Nicole Buckingham says

    Okay so YOU really, really ROCK!!!

    Stopping by from My turn for us to say hi. Oooh, ooh, ooh and this and every Friday we host the ALOHA Friday HOP where the sweetest of bloggers link up and help each other to grow, grow, grow… come join us if you please.

    Happy Day,

  11. Evelyn says

    Such cute pillows and great colors:) Makes me wish to try stenciling again. Thank you so much for sharing at Freedom Fridays.

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