How to sew a silk pillowcase from a scarf
Cutting contrast fabric for a pillow back?
You will not have to cut your silk scarf at all for this project.
If you are using a square scarf, cut a second piece of fabric the same size as your scarf. This piece is for the pillow’s back.
To keep the look of the silk scarf, I would choose another silky feeling print, though it need not be silk. I’m using a polyester peachskin, though linen would be really nice too. Try to use a fabric that’s a similar weight as the scarf.
For rectangular scarves, you won’t need to cut anything because you’ll be able to fold the scarf over on itself to make the pillow. Super easy!
Adding interfacing to the scarf and backing
For the next step, you’ll need to interface the wrong side of your scarf. Why would you do this? Because scarves are not really strong enough to be cushions, we’re cheating a little here. The interfacing will add some strength to the fabric as well as stabilize it to make it easier to sew.
After you have your fabric ready, cut 2 pieces of tricot knit interfacing the size of your scarf. If you’re using a rectangular scarf, cut 1 piece of interfacing.
Lay the interfacing with the glue side down on the wrong side of your scarf. On top of that, lay over your organza press cloth. Fuse the interfacing to the scarf with a low heat. Hold the iron in place for 10-15 seconds, lift, then move it to another area. Be careful not to move the iron in a smoothing motion.
Repeat the fusing process for the contrast fabric.
Prep your invisible zipper
Next it’s time to press your invisible zipper. Unzip the zipper and cover it with your silk organza press cloth.
With the zipper on the wrong side, press through the press cloth. Really roll the teeth towards the center of the zipper and press with steam. This will help flatten out the zipper and make your seam really get that “invisible” look.
Make sure that your zipper is a couple inches shorter than one side of your scarf. This will make it easier to get a clean seam later when you go to sew the pillowcase together.
Do this to both sides of the coil. Since there’s already interfacing on the wrong side of your fabric, there’s no need to add a stabilizing tape as you would usually for sewing an invisible zipper. Time to sew that zipper.
Now that everything is prepped, it’s time to learn how to sew a silk pillowcase.
Sew the first side of the invisible zipper
First, unzip the zipper. Use binder clips or Wonder clips to pin one side of the zipper to one side of the scarf, matching right side of the zipper to right side of the scarf. Align the top of the zipper stop so that it’s 1/2″ from the top edge of your scarf’s side.
Using your invisible zipper foot, stitch from the top of the zipper down towards the stop. Be sure to let the zipper’s coil run through the left groove in the foot. Sew as close to the zipper’s pull as you can get. Backstitch when you can’t sew any further.
Baste the second side of the invisible zipper
Grab the second piece of your fabric. Bring the right side of the contrast fabric to the right side of the second part of the zipper.
If you’re using a rectangular scarf, fold the scarf over on itself so that the right side of the unsewn part of the zipper is facing the right side of the matching edge of the scarf.
Line up the zipper so that it’s top stop is 1/2″ from the top edge just like you did with the first side. Pin below this point just to hold things in place.
From here, use a long straight stitch to baste the top of this second side in place. Only sew about 1″.
Flip over your work and zip up the zipper. Check the alignment. The top edges of your zipper should be even.
If you missed, pull out the few basting stitches and try again.
Finish sewing the second side of the invisible zipper
When the alignment looks good, flip your work back over. Sew down the second side of the zipper, letting the coil pass through the right groove in the foot.
Sew as close to the bottom as you can, backstitching at the bottom.
Lightly press the zipper, using a press cloth to protect the teeth.
Finishing off the zipper
Fold the zipper right sides together on itself and sew the fabric below the zipper together with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Move the ends of the zipper tape out of the way as you sew so that you can stitch right up to the last stitches on the zipper.
At this point, the ends of the zipper tape will be flopping around. Let’s pretty them up by first pressing open the seam you just sewed.
With a regular zipper foot, stitch the zipper tape to the seam allowances close to the zipper tape edge.
How to sew a silk pillowcase together
We’re almost done!
First unzip the zipper. Fold the fabric right sides together. Stitch around the other 3 sides of the silk pillowcase.
Turn the pillowcase to the right side and lightly press.
Pop your DIY pillow form inside your freshly sewn silk scarf pillowcase and enjoy your new statement cushion.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.