Pillow Mattress


 Materials needed:

3 yards of knit fabric (58/60″ wide) – make sure it is this wide to account for shrinkage
Thread to match
Sharp scissors
Mark-B-Gone pen
Straight pins
Sewing machine
Metal measuring tape (trust me, this works better than the typical measuring tape used for sewing)
4 standard size pillows (20″x26″)

Here we go….

The materials for this project are minimal but knits can be expensive.  This fabric was $12.99 per yard, not the cheapest of fabrics but I loved the pattern.  It cost me around $40.00 per cover.  I know I could have used cheaper fabrics, but I just couldn’t resist the owls. ;o)
You can use fleece but I don’t recommend it.  I’m not a fan of fleece, it starts to pill with the first washing and if you have pets, forget about getting out the pet hair.  Remember, these are meant for the floor and will have to be washed a lot.  Get something good quality that will last.  One last suggestion is to buy a twin sized flat sheet.  Follow the same directions for “Method II” but the folding technique of the “Method I” tutorial.

Now for the how-to.  Pre-wash your fabric, knit can shrink by as much as 10% or more.  While you really only need 82″, I’m glad I bought 3 yards for each cover.  I barely had 7″-8″ left after I cut the piece.  Mine must have shrunk by more than 10%.  After your fabric is dry, fold it in half with wrong sides together, the selvages should meet.  Iron a crease along the fold.  This will save you measuring later.

Lay your folded fabric out straight on the floor and cut one of the edges perpendicular (at a 90°angle) to the selvage. Basically you are cutting of a small portion of the length to achieve a straight edge so your length measurements will be accurate on both sides. If you need to, you can use your measuring tape to achieve a straight line.  Next, measure down the length of the fabric and mark at 82″ with your Mark-B-Gone pen.  Repeat this on the other side.

Connect the two marks and draw a line with the marking pen along the tape.  Cut along the line.

Transfer the fabric to the sewing maching.  Using the selvage as a guide, sew a 1/2″ to 5/8″ hem along both long sides.  You can iron a hem in.  However, because you are using the selvage end of knit fabric, I just turned the hem as I sewed.  I saved a lot of time doing this.  Remember, this doesn’t have to be perfect and when using knit that stretches a lot, it is very hard to be.

Once hemmed, lay the fabric out on the floor with the wrong side up.  You will be using the middle crease you ironed in at the start.  I marked my crease with the marking pen to make it show up on the picture.  Unless you are having a hard time seeing the crease, you don’t have to mark it.

Next, lay your ruler (you can also use the measuring tape) along the crease line and mark with your marking pen several marks 13″ from the crease all the way up and down the fabric.  Repeat this on the other side of the crease up and down the fabric.  Essentially you will have 26″ between the marks with the crease in the center.  These marks serve as a fold guide.

Next, fold one side over (wrong sides will meet).  Use the marks you just made as a guide to where the fold needs to go.  Again you don’t have to be perfect, it just helps you get close.  Repeat with the other side, overlapping the fabrics as pictured above.  If you notice that your edges don’t match up (which is likely because knits stretch a lot), trim until you create an even edge perpedicular to the sides.  Pin along both edges every 2″ or so.  Again, knit stretches, so the more pins the better.

Next, sew a 1″ seam down each pinned edge.  I know this may seam backwards, but I promise it will all come together in the end.  Throughout the next few stitiches, each time you get to one of the hemmed edges, backstitch over the edges to provide extra strength when going through additional layers.

Now, sew another seam, this one approximately 3/8″ to the right of the first seam.  Repeat on the other edge.

Trim fabric to within 3/8″ of the second seam.  Repeat on the other edge.

Turn the fabric inside out to expose the finished edge.  Smooth and straigten out the fabric making sure the seams are even.

Making sure the seams are smooth and the edges are straight, sew a 1″ seam along both sides.  Sew another seam, this one approximately 3/8″ to the right of the first seam, just like you did previously. Repeat on the other side.  You have just created a french seam.  This hides all raw edges. Turn inside out to have the right sides facing out.  I added another seam on both edges to add extra strength.  You can see the stitches in the finished product shots at the bottom.  Now, lay the cover on the floor and straighten out, making sure the overlaping hemmed edges are parallel to the sides.  If you are having trouble getting the folds back in the right place, take a peak at the fold marks you put on the wrong sides of the fabric.

This is probably the tricky part because the knit fabrics probably stretched a bit.  Get back out your measuring tape to get a length measurement of the cover then divide that number by 4.  You will probably get anywhere between 19-20″.  Be sure to NOT include the top and bottom seams in the measurement, you just need the measurement where the pillows will go.

Use your marking pin and mark that measurement down both edges.  For instance, if you got 20″, you will mark at 20″, 40″, & 60″.  Use your measureing tape to connect both markings and mark with your marking pen.  Pin along the marked line every 2″ to keep the fabric from slipping when sewing.  Sew along all three blue markings to create 4 separate pockets.

Slip your pillows in the sham style openings.

Flip over and you are finished!!!

Fold under one edge to create a double pillow to prop your child’s head up while lounging.

Fold for easy storage.  Use a 60″ piece of ribbon to tie together for travel.


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Pillow Mattress



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