We sew a square pillow cover but the finished pillow is not square at all! It could look like this…
What’s wrong with these pillows? The sides curve in toward the center, changing the original shape of the pillow; the pillow insert will not be able to fill completely the corners. The result – floppy corners, known as “dog ears”.
Sometimes the issue is not so pronounced and you don’t have to do anything, but other times action is needed! Actually, last week I had to redo a pillow cover and apply a trick, because after I inserted the pillow insert, the shape was really odd!
So how to keep the square shape of a pillow? By altering the square shape of the panels of your pillow. Strange, right? But it works!
The trick? Tapering the corners, by trimming a wedge of fabric from each corner of the pillow panels.
Here is a quilted panel for my pillow (pattern on how to achieve this rainbow panel here). Isn’t amazing what you can do with a few strips of multicolor fabrics?
The piece measures 21”. Here is how the tapering technique works:
For square pillow up to 24”, mark 1/2” inward from the corner; repeat for all the corners.
For oversize pillows (larger than 24”), mark 1” in from the corners.
For small pillows (10” – 12”), mark 1/4” in from the corners.
Divide the edges of the pillow panel in thirds. Mark each third on fabric as shown below. Do this for all the four edges of the panel.
My panel measures 21”, so you see here marks at 7” and 14” (or 7” from each corner).
On some pillows I divided the edge into quarters and this works too.
Using a ruler, connect the corner dot with the mark on the edges as shown below. Do this for all four corners.
Cut on the marking lines (or cut directly with ruler and rotary cutter, without marking).
All four corners trimmed.
The back of the pillow must have the same shape, but you don’t have to repeat the above steps. Just place a bigger fabric (I used an envelope closure for my pillow, there are actually two pieces of fabric overlapped at center) under the front panel of the pillow, right sides together, pin to keep the layers in place and stitch at 3/8” from the edges of the top panel. Trim the backing following the edge of the top piece.
Trim the seam allowance at corners as shown below. Finish the raw edges with a zig zag stitch.
Here is my finished pillow cover. Strange shape, right?? But the pillow insert will fill better the corners of the pillow.
And here is my stuffed pillow. Not a PERFECT square, but definitely an improved shape!
It is not a hard technique and it does not require much time. Still, you don’t have to do it all the time! Maybe when working on important projects.
Edited to add, after the remark of a reader – thank you!
You can do even more to achieve less pointy corners: sew a couple of stitches across the corner, as in the picture below. The number of stitches depends on the weight of the fabric: more stitches for heavyweight fabric, just a few for lightweight fabric. Haven’t tried this yet.
PIN FOR LATER REFERENCE