Friday, October 5, 2012

Bit by a Bug

A decor bug that is.

My front porch has been bothering me so much because of how much of an eyesore it is to our curb appeal. We did score a free rattan couch off Craigslist (thank you again Brenna), but the cushions that came with it were heinous. And since it is October and random strangers are soon going to be coming to my porch in adorable costumes in less than a month, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to kill two ravens birds with one stone.

Start the Tim Burton music, it's time for a Halloween Porch Makeover.

 These were my rules:

1.) It must be Halloweenie. (obviously)
2.) It must be FREE using only things already in the house.
3.) It must be something that isn't permanent.
4.) It must be something non-committal (something I can keep adding to over the years)

So, since I used to have a thing with cutesie black fabric, and I've been hoarding it for the last 8 years, I thought upholstering the lower cushions and using some random pillow forms I had around the house would add some sass. However, I did not have any zippers in the house and it would break rules 2-4 to either go buy some or to stitch the pillow cases onto the forms I decided that envelope enclosures were my best bet.

Cue cute and descriptive image and obnoxiously long post.

But before we get there, let me show you the motivation for this project. So you can pity me.

Well, I mean, you don't have to pity me too much since I got it for free, but you can see why I had to fix it. I don't know what the previous owner did with this, but it was horrid.

So let's travel back in time. I, Emma Wagner, used to look like this.

I was completely obsessed with pink, black, fishnet, lace, skulls, System of a Down and well...myspace pictures. While the majority of those are still true (and it's definitely not the myspace...), I handle myself much more like someone who is an Office Manager for an IT company, or so called "socially appropriate". I'm not embarrassed by my youthful self because if it was socially appropriate I would totally still have purple and pink hair and wear pink pleated skirts with combat boots everywhere I go.

Luckily for me, during that stage in my life, my mom spoiled me rotten with more Halloween discount fabric than one little seamstress could possibly know what to do with. Because I still secretly love all that stuff I have been hoarding all of it waiting for either a day I had something to use it for, or a day where I could make a cute dress out of all of it. The criteria for the project was that it had to be free, so those and my extra pillow forms came down with me to turn into my new front porch.

For those of you who don't care what the process of the project was, here is one of the "after" pictures.

Now for the how to on these envelope pillows.

Step 1:

Select your fabric and fold it hot dog style. This is folding it towards the salvage edge. This will be the part of the fabric that usually has a white strip at the edge with the brand name of the fabric.

2. Trim the fabric down to the size of the pillow long ways. Leave the excess on the bottom.

3. Finish all edges. I do this by folding the edge over about 1/4 inch and doing a straight stitch. Then fold it over again and sew that down. This makes it near impossible for your fabric to fray inside of a seam. Make sure you do this towards the wrong side of the fabric.

4. Once your edges are finished, put your pretty rectangle with the wrong side up and your pillow all the way to one side.

5. Take the rest and fold it snugly over your pillow. You should have excess.

6. Take the excess and fold it back onto itself leaving a slight over hang. at this point you should be seeing the wrong side of the fabric folded over the right side.

7. Take some pins to mark the fold and remove it from the pillow form.

8. Straight stitch the fold in place on the wrong side of the fabric. I do this with my zipper foot cruising along the edge of the fabric. If you're following along, if you open your fabric up on the right side there should be a seam and on the inside there should be a little fold of fabric sewn into place.

9. Fold your fabric in half at your new seam. You should be looking at the wrong side with your fold inside. Pin and sew around your two other edges. Make sure you sew the flap into the seam. Don't sew your pillow shut!

10. Turn your pillow right side out. You should see that your fold is the wrong side of the fabric. Insert your pillow form.

11. Fold over your flap to close your pillow. Your pillows may all have different size flaps. That's fine. Mine did too. This isn't an exact art. If your pillow fits in your form I consider it a win for you! I always make mine snug because I like my pillows to look more full.

Your pillow should be happily tucked inside! Enjoy your new pillow!

Since this tactic doesn't require a zipper it is a super affordable way to make seasonal pillows. When you're done with them, slip them off, fold them up and change them out. Just a heads up, if you want to wash them, make sure you prewash your fabric before cutting it so it doesn't shrink/not fit your pillow!

Yay! Happy Happy Sewing.

Now as for me, I repeated this process 5 more times (I already had two pillows from the back deck) with different size pillows and total it took me about 20 minutes or less per case (once stella got her sewing groove back) and after I'd finish I'd throw them over the loveseat where a sleeping Nate was snuggling them.

They are Seamus approved.

Then I went outside, stripped the couch of all the ugly cushions, threw them on the curb (with a craigslist ad) and started nesting!

I added some already owned Halloween decor...

I accomplished everything on my list and I couldn't be happier with the result! I still have some nesting to do out there but at least now it doesn't look like a crap shack.

Total Cost of Front Porch Makeover: $0 or F-R-E-E

What have you done for Halloween?


  1. LOVE IT! Halloween is my most favorite :). We secretly haveit in our house year round:

    Ahem... and perhaps I had purple hair and wore bowling shoes everyday at one point in time. Whatever. It happens.

    1. haha- Halloween is important to us too. Nate proposed to me while I was in my Halloween costume so we both get giddy about it. And you know....sometimes purple hair just happens! ;)

  2. Can't say I ever had purple hair, but I definitely had ice-blue hair for a significant amount of time in my youth.

    Your porch looks like a dream! Nice work putting it together for the big goose egg! I'm jelly. I don't have one ounce of Halloween decor :-/ That will be changing this weekend though.

    1. Can't wait to see what you do New Best Friend!

  3. I absolutely love it. Can't wait for your Halloween party!

    I am so glad to see those pillows gone.

    1. I'm so excited to have you for a few days!

  4. Nice makeover! I wish I were handy with sewing. My aunts are masters, but my mother never learned and neither did I. That's something for me to change in the future, perhaps. Making stuff is just too cool.

    At the moment my Halloween decorations consist of a carved wooden owl and a carved wooden pumpkin on the mantel. This post is making me want to dig through the bin of decorations and see what else I can do for now.

    With that orange vase thing on the porch, do you have some black flowers or a deadish branch of twigs to stick in there? Might look neat. :)

    1. You read my mind Erika! Have you seen those adorbs black sparkly twigs for sale for like a zillion dollars at target? I'm thinking a trip to the park is in my future :)

  5. ooh, those look great! I think that might be a sewing project that even I could do...straight lines and all (if I can remember how to thread the sewing machine). I'm excited to see the seasonal pillow transformations after Halloween :)

    1. If you can do a straight stich you can do this! I have faith in you! Give it a shot and send me pictures :)

  6. That was my favorite hair color from that era. It was marvelous. Porch looks amazing. Just the right touch of fun but not too scary. Better start buying candy. Your house is going to be a fav.

    1. Mine too, Mom. Thanks! I'm super excited about it. Thank you for indulging my eccentricity :)

  7. There is a way to do no-zipper pillows where the flap is in the middle of the back. I have been know to put it together without even stitching the flap seams as they are inside. If I can figure out how to describe it easily, I'll get you some pics.
    Love your stash of cute fabric!

    1. I think I know how to do those...I guess those just didn't occur to me! lol Way to show me up Mom2.


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