Adjusting Your Stitches

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

Depending on the type of stitch you are using and the fabric you’re working with, you will need to make some basic adjustments using the different settings available on your machine. My machine’s settings are changed using numbered dials, but some newer models allow you to change the stitch settings digitally. Either way, this is what those different settings are and what they mean—plus when you’ll want to tinker with them (or not).

Stitch Length and Width

Stitch length refers to the size of the stitch itself—the higher the setting on your machine, the longer the stitch. Larger (longer) stitches are easier to remove and are often used as decorative topstitching, basting (temporary stitches used to hold slippery fabrics or layers in place) or for sewing heavier fabrics.

The stitch width setting applies only to stitches such as zigzags that require the needle to move from side to side. It determines the size of the gap between the “peaks” of the zigzag, for example. A higher setting will result in a wider zigzag, whereas a lower setting creates a narrower one.

Thread Tension

Understanding thread tension is important in creating smooth, secure stitches and ensuring that there are no puckers in your fabric. The more obvious tension setting on your machine (a dial on the top of the machine, in my case) controls the upper thread tension. The higher the number, the greater the tension.

The lower thread tension is controlled by a small screw on the bobbin case. This one is a bit tricky, because some machine service professionals will tell you never to touch the lower thread tension, but my manual lists specific instructions on adjusting it: increase the tension by turning the screw in a clockwise direction, and decrease by turning counterclockwise. Ultimately, this one’s your call, and always check your manual to see what your machine’s manufacturer recommends.

 

That’s it! Once you’ve mastered these simple settings, you’re on your way to smooth, professional-looking seams each and every time. 

Next Up: Learn How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle for Your Project

Basic Sewing Machine Maintenance

Basic Sewing Machine Maintenance | KettleandCloth.com

Your sewing machine requires little special attention, so long as you’re following the proper steps to ensure none of its parts are damaged during use. However, there are some periodic maintenance steps you’ll want to take to keep it running in tip-top shape and producing pretty projects with no hiccups.

Be sure to unplug your machine before doing the following:

Oiling

You’ll need to treat your machine periodically with sewing machine oil to ensure it is running smoothly. My manual recommends oiling the machine once per week when used for at least an hour a day, placing 2–3 drops at points including the feed dogs, area where the bobbin is held (the shuttle race), and the joints within the faceplate (where the needle is raised and lowered). Then, run the machine for a few seconds at a fast speed (without thread installed) to allow the oil to work itself into those areas.

Cleaning the Feed Dogs and Shuttle Race

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

As you sew, bits of fiber and dust will accumulate around the feed dogs beneath the needle plate (the removable plate covering the dogs, usually metal, that is marked with the guides you’ll follow to maintain your seam allowance. Use a coin or screwdriver to remove the plate, and then clean out any debris with a small brush.

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

The same goes for the shuttle race, where fibers like to accumulate behind the bobbin case and shuttle hook. Raise the needle to its highest position to get it out of the way, and follow your manual’s instructions to remove the bobbin case, retaining ring, and shuttle hook. Here is how mine comes out:

Then, use a brush to remove any debris from each of these parts, and follow by wiping the shuttle race and hook clean of lint with an oiled cloth. You can also use a can of compressed air intended for keyboard cleaning to really get into the small nooks and crannies of your machine, blowing away tiny particles that may be hiding there.

Yearly Servicing

It’s a good idea to take your machine to a service center once a year to check the timing and make sure everything is running smoothly. Following all these maintenance steps may sound like a lot, but it requires only a little bit of time and can not only improve the overall look of your sewing, but it can also significantly prolong the life of your machine.

 

That’s it! These are the basics to owning and operating a sewing machine. Do you have any additional tips for keeping a machine running smoothly? Let me know in the comments!

How to Use a Sewing Machine

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

Maybe you’re looking to purchase your first sewing machine, and you’re doing some research to find the one that’s best for you. Or maybe, like myself and most of my sewing friends, you inherited a machine from a family member or rescued a vintage workhorse from a thrift store (I’ve done both) and you’re trying to learn the ropes. Not to worry—while there are countless options currently on the market with more and more special features and snazzy attachments, the basics are pretty universal. Here are the main parts of a typical sewing machine. Please note: All machines are different, so please consult your manual for specifics and instructions on operating your model!

 

Threading the Machine

The first step toward getting your machine ready to go is loading it up with thread and a bobbin. You’ll want to find the correct type of bobbin for your machine, as there are a few slightly different shapes and sizes that are compatible with different brands of machines. Begin unwinding your chosen spool of thread, and place it on the spool pin/holder. My machine’s bobbin winder is threaded this way:

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

I put the thread through one of the small holes in the bobbin, holding onto the end so it doesn’t fall out. I then place the bobbin onto the winder shaft and slide it to the right, and then flip a switch on the balance wheel (the knob on the side that raises and lowers the needle) to switch from sewing to bobbin-winding mode. Still holding the thread, I gently press the pedal to begin winding. I pause once I feel the thread is secure in the bobbin and clip the tail so it doesn’t get tangled, and then I continue to wind the bobbin until I’ve loaded it with as much thread as I think I’ll need.

Note here that you don’t want to put too much thread on the bobbin for a couple of reasons. First, overloading it makes it easier for the thread to become tangled, potentially getting snagged inside the bobbin casing and damaging your machine, or at the very least messing up your stitches. Second, you may end up with a bunch of leftover thread on a bobbin in a specific color you’re unlikely to use again.

Clip the bobbin, leaving about a 3-inch tail. Remove the bobbin casing from the bottom of your machine and insert the bobbin, then replace the casing, being sure to line up the small arm in the notch to secure it. Close up the door to the bobbin compartment, depending on your machine. Now that the bobbin is ready to go, thread the needle.

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

Now, some of the newer, snazzier machines are self-threading. If yours has this option, great! But for those of of us operating on machines that are voting age or older, here’s how it’s done. Grab the tail of your thread you cut the bobbin from, and wind it through your machine as the instructions recommend. Here is how mine is threaded:

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.comHow to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

Carefully put the thread through the eye of your needle. Done!

Speaking of needles: Always make sure you are using the correct type of needle, in the correct size, for your fabric. Never, ever use a bent or otherwise damaged needle, as it can mess up the timing on your machine and overall performance. At the very least, I’ve had almost imperceptibly bent needle points affect my bobbin to the point that I couldn’t sew a single decent stitch until I realized what was wrong. You should change needles after each project for the best results.

There are a few different kinds of needles you can use, but you’ll likely be starting out with a plain ole universal needle. Read more about choosing the right needle here.

 

Adjusting Your Stitches

At first, you will probably be using a straight stitch most frequently in your sewing. This is the basic stitch used when sewing pieces of woven fabrics together (more on fabric types here). However, your machine probably comes equipped with numerous stitch patterns to choose from, either by turning a knob (mine is the smaller one on the bottom right side of the machine) or selecting a stitch number on newer digital machines. These patterns include various decorative borders, hem and joining stitches, zigzag and other stretch stitches as well as the overlock stitch I will describe in future posts on finishing techniques and sewing with stretch fabrics. Play around with these different types of stitches, and always consult your machine’s manual if you’re unsure what type of stitch is best suited to your fabric.

How to Adjust Sewing Machine Stitches

Other settings on your machine should include stitch length, stitch width, and upper tension. These should be adjusted according to the type of fabric you’re working with and the kind of stitch you’re using, and I detail how to do that – and when – here.

Always test the above settings on scraps of the fabric you’re using for your project before you dive into sewing the real thing!

 

Other Odds and Ends

Presser Foot

How to Use a Sewing Machine | KettleandCloth.com

The presser foot is the standard foot on most machines. You’ll lower it using a lever near the shaft before you begin making stitches, and it will apply a slight amount of pressure to hold the fabric steady while you sew.

Feed Dogs

The feed dogs are the serrated, moving parts beneath the presser foot that help to “feed” the fabric as you sew. Thanks to the feed dogs and presser foot, you need only hold the fabric lightly as you sew to guide the seams—you never want to try to push it through or apply any force at all, as this will cause your stitches to be uneven and your fabric to stretch.  

Reverse Sewing Button

Sewing Machine Reverse Stitch

Pressing this causes the machine to sew in reverse, feeding the fabric in the opposite direction. This is how you’ll secure your stitches when beginning and ending a seam. Sew a couple of stitches normally, then tack over them by pressing this button and sewing two or three stitches in reverse. Release the button, and continue sewing your seam. When you’re finished, sew a couple of stitches in reverse at the end, then sew a couple more normally. This will prevent those hard-worked stitches from trying to come undone.

That’s it—you’re ready to sew! Take your time, and don’t push yourself when you get tired. Nobody ever became an expert sewist overnight!

 

Does your machine have any special features besides these that you just love? Let me know in the comments!

Next Up: Learn How to Fine-Tune Your Stitches

Choosing the Right Sewing Machine Needle

Choosing the Right Sewing Machine Needle | KettleandCloth

Please note that the below post includes affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure policy here.

All sewing machine needles are not created equal! It is important to use the correct type and size of needle for your given project, lest you run into snagged fabric, skipped stitches, or a host of other problems that can ruin your fabric—or even your machine.

Needle sizing systems vary depending on where you live. According to Singer’s website: “The European metric sizing system for sewing machine needles is numbered from 60 to 110. The American sizing system is numbered from 8 to 18.” While needle packages typically display both, the important thing to know is this: The lower the number, the finer the needle, and a higher number indicates a wider needle. When using a lighter fabric, you’ll want to use a smaller needle size, whereas heavier sizes require larger needles to pierce thick seams.

Below are some of the most common needles available, along with their ideal uses.

Note: It’s important to change your needle after completing each project, so be sure to stock up on the type you’ll be using most often! Using a dull or damaged needle can seriously damage your machine and affect the timing, resulting in pricey repairs and less-than-stellar seam quality. 

Sewing Machine Needle Types | KettleandCloth.com

Universal Needles

This is your run-of-the-mill needle for most projects. You’ll still want to pay attention to size here, as using a too-thick needle on a delicate fabric can result in some ugly pulls and tears, while a needle that’s too thin for a heavier fabric is likely to break, running the risk of sending a broken needle tip flying at your face (ouch) or damaging your machine.

 

Ball-Point Needles

Also known as jersey needles, these have slightly more rounded tips (you can’t really tell with the naked eye) for sewing stretchy knit fabrics. This allows the needle to penetrate the loops of knit fabrics, rather than piercing the individual fibers and causing runs in the fabric.

 

Stretch Needles

Wait, isn’t this what ball-point needles are for? Not exactly—these needles are best for highly elastic materials and feature a specially-shaped eye to prevent skipped stitches.

 

Twin Needles

As the name suggests, a twin needle consists of two standard needles sharing one shank, allowing you to sew with two strands of thread at once. The double row of stitching it creates mimics a coverstitch and is perfect for making neat hems on knit garments, as it allows the fabric to stretch. These are available in several different widths as well, so you can choose to sew a chunky, wide-set row of stitches on heavier fabrics or go with a more delicate finish for items like knit baby clothing. 

 

Jean Needles

As you might expect, needles intended for jeans are heftier in size for sewing thick fabrics like denim. The blade is often reinforced to prevent breakage and to avoid skipped stitches—something absolutely no one wants, especially when using for something like decorative topstitching on jeans. 

 

These are just a few of the many types of needles available, but getting to know these basics will set you up for success in just about any beginner project! To learn more about the anatomy of a sewing needle, the color coding system that helps you identify needle types and sizes, as well as the many other types of needles available, check out this handy guide from Schmetz.

 

Next Up: Basic Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Machine in Good Working Order

 

Reality Check: Fun with Fiber… and Fibro

When I first started this little sewing and knitting blog a while ago, I never imagined getting particularly personal on it. I figured blogging would serve as a fun way to showcase the things I was working on and meet other makers who love to celebrate their own handmade wardrobes, sharing the occasional funny anecdote here and there among the pictures of prized garments fresh off the machine/needles. But here’s the reality: I’ve managed to create and photograph fewer things than I would have liked in the time since I bought this domain, and that’s okay. I’ve made quite a few big discoveries about myself along the way—some pleasant, and others… not so much.

In the summer of 2018, I had been at my kitchen table working on a garment (a little yellow romper that never got photographed or posted, by the way, because frankly I sort of hated the finished product—also okay!) when I began to feel a lot of discomfort in my left shoulder, which soon escalated to weird tingling and numbness in my entire left arm, which then gave way to a wave of exhaustion followed by pain in my chest. You’re probably thinking what I was thinking at the time, and, after I came very close to fainting when I tried to walk and expressed shortness of breath, my husband rushed me to the emergency room, both of us convinced I was having a heart attack.

To summarize a very long, agonizing night at the ER (8 p.m. to about 7 a.m., during which the hospital was actually locked down due to an active shooter in the general vicinity): It wasn’t a heart attack. In fact, nothing was wrong with my heart, or anything else, so far as the doctors and nurses could tell. I was poked, prodded, and tested, and the best solution everyone could come up with was that it was anxiety. As someone prone to panic attacks and who has been treated for anxiety for years, I was skeptical that this alarming episode was caused by garden variety anxiety. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t just anxiety.

Fast forward a year later. I began experiencing similar pains, plus chronic fatigue, plus a weird variety of additional symptoms (scalp hurting too badly to wear a ponytail or even style my hair with hot tools, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, inability to so much as hold a conversation at times due to “fibro fog,” the term coined for the cognitive difficulty that plagues those of us with this delightful condition). I described what was happening to my mom one day when she visited from out of state, and she responded with a grim tone, “That sounds all too familiar.”

I knew my mom had fibromyalgia, but since she was diagnosed (after many years of seeking medical help and being dismissed because doctors are only just starting to acknowledge this very real condition) once I was living in a different city, I didn’t really know exactly what fibro was or how it affected the mind and body, other than it caused aches and pains. I’m glad she recognized my symptoms, though, because sure enough – following a series of tests to rule out some other scary things – I was referred to a neurologist who confirmed that good old fibromyalgia had blessed me with its presence.

During all this, I was doing physical therapy and had preemptively started a new medication used to treat both anxiety and fibro pain, both of which took some getting used to. Between not being able to keep my eyes open once I got home and being physically exhausted from doing what were not objectively difficult exercises, suffice it to say I was not exactly cranking out handmade garments at my sewing machine left and right. And you know what, that is okay.

What I was able to do was get a bit of easy knitting in from time to time, given that my obnoxious hand tremors allowed it. It proved to be a lifesaver during long waits to see various doctors and on bleary-eyed nights when I was too tired to function but still couldn’t sleep due to pain or insomnia (thanks for that, too, fibro). I wasn’t making any elaborate garments or things I was particularly pumped to share online, but it kept my hands moving and gave me a sense of accomplishment when I could barely manage to get in and out of a shower or drive to and from work. Plus, it gave me a sense of calm in the midst of getting accustomed to this isolating and, frankly, often somewhat soul-crushing disorder.

So, how does any of this relate to sewing or building a homemade wardrobe? The point is, when I took on the challenge of making my own clothing, I was pretty hard on myself. I’d fret over my cutting mat or fight with my machine late into the night and, honestly, drive myself (and my husband—sorry, Zach!) crazy trying to get everything just the way I wanted it or to meet impossible deadlines I’d created for myself. I overlooked the concept I’d initially embraced that makes building one’s own wardrobe so appealing: the mindful joy of slow fashion, of piecing together garments with care and thoughtfully crafting items meant to bring calm and a sense of accomplishment to the wearer while enjoying each moment for what it is worth—not to impress others or to mimic the wardrobes of “influencers” who can afford to buy piles of clothing en masse.

If you take nothing else from this (lengthy) post, leave with this cautionary tale: I let flawed motivations take the joy of a longtime hobby of mine, and it took a debilitating illness for me to get it back. I also sacrificed time with friends and family to chase after goals that were not serving me, and I beat myself up in the process until my body forced me to slow down and get myself back to a place where I could consider what mattered most to me, and what I could realistically accomplish. 

To those of you who are also battling chronic illness, you’re not alone! Let’s be friends and get through this together. The same for those of you who aren’t dealing with constant pain, etc., because sharing in this community of amazing makers is far more important than the ideas of “productivity” that insist we must be creating something tangible every second of every day. Let’s all slow down and remember that love for fiber that has brought us all here!

 

Are you stopping by for the first time? Do you also have to schedule time for beloved hobbies around a chronic condition? In any case, introduce yourself and tell me about your blog below – I’d be happy to check it out! – or drop me a DM on Instagram. I look forward to chatting with you!

Seersucker Sweetness with McCall’s 7889

Please note that the below post includes affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure policy here.

Handmade Seersucker Dress | KettleandCloth.com

This year has been chock full of milestones for our little family. Back in April, we set about purchasing our very first house, and then Zach graduated from law school in early May. Due to the timing, we felt it only appropriate that we host a joint housewarming/graduation party, and the gathering, of course, had to be Kentucky Derby themed. Now, any good Southerner knows that a Derby party requires seersucker attire, and I unfortunately found myself fresh out of seersucker. That meant this slightly crazed new homeowner had to take a little trip to Joann, unpack the ole Brother machine, and clear out her new sewing room enough to whip up a brand spankin’ new dress for the occasion.

Seersucker Sweetness with McCall's 7889 | Kettle + ClothSeersucker Sweetness with McCall's 7889 | Kettle + Cloth

For a summery, lightweight piece that could be dressed up or down, I chose McCall’s 7889. I love the way the yokes and sleeve and skirt bands lend themselves to switching up the pattern directions with a striped fabric. And this cotton seersucker was an absolute dream to cut and sew as well as to wear. I came straight from Zach’s graduation wearing it, prepared food for our party guests, and then wore it the rest of the night. It was so comfy—I’m talking secret pajamas-level comfy.

IMG_1092

I’m already working on an office-perfect top in another cotton, and I look forward to whipping up an additional dress or two using this pattern. I think next time I’ll keep it sleeveless for layering, and I may even get creative and add pockets to the side seams.

My Handmade Grettir Pullover

Earlier, I detailed the creation of my very first adult-sized sweater, a Brooklyn Tweed Grettir Icelandic Yoke Pullover for my husband’s birthday in December. Confession: Before I had even started on his, I was already scheming to create my own, beginning my own little stash of Patons Classic Wool Worsted skeins in nude colorways with a pop of Jade Heather to add a little interest.

I very much looked forward to having and wearing this pullover for myself, but knitting this one just didn’t go as quickly as Zach’s did, possibly because this project was missing the excitement factor of seeing his reaction to it. Theoretically, because it was smaller in size, it should have gone much faster, but alas. I still ended up with a beautiful and oh-so-warm sweater that I look forward to wearing for years to come. Plus, the blocking time was nowhere near as agonizing this time, as I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of pressing as much water as possible from the wet wool using a nice, absorbent stack of beach towels.

Women's Brooklyn Tweed Grettir

I puzzled and puzzled over how to finish the neck, as the pattern comes with the option of a rolled crew neck or turtleneck collar. In the end, I went with the rolled collar, as I loved the look—plus, since the sweater is so close to my skin color, I wanted to leave myself the option to layer a button-up shirt underneath to break up the color against my neck.

IMG_1041

A second confession: On the day this sweater was finally dried from being blocked, it was so, so cold. I may or may not have tried it on, refused to take it off, and napped in it. What can I say? This guy is doing his wooly job. (And yes, I slept so very, very cozily.)

 

Women's Brooklyn Tweed Grettir

The Gift of a Handmade Sweater: Brooklyn Tweed’s Grettir

A cutesy fact about my spouse: The man can wear a sweater. When we were still in college and getting to know each other, one of my favorite parts of the day was seeing what kind of sweater Zach would be wearing. And getting a hug from him and his wonderful, cuddly sweaters.

A gal could dream, but I never would have guessed that I’d someday be putting this guy into those wonderful sweaters, much less that I’d spend about three weeks hand-knitting one of those sweaters—with that number likely growing in the future because I am now just a little obsessed.

Handmade Sweater: Men's Brooklyn Tweed Grettir

This handmade Grettir pullover from Brooklyn Tweed was truly a labor of love, and the result was well worth the hours of colorwork and waiting for the wool to block. It’s easily the warmest sweater Zach owns, so I like to think it’s like he’s wearing a cozy hug from me whenever he has it on. It looks great layered with a button-up shirt and can easily be dressed up enough that he feels comfortable wearing it between his various classes, internships and networking events.

Handmade Sweater: Men's Brooklyn Tweed Grettir

I used Paton’s Classic Wool worsted yarn for this project, and I’m sorry to say this was my first time working with 100% wool. I’m now madly in love with the stuff—the way it feels working up, the look it takes on while soaking and blocking, and the way it wears. There is something truly magical about wool, and I’ve since accumulated quite a collection of it in the hopes of cranking out some more pieces before it becomes too warm to wear them here in Nashville, starting with my very own Grettir.

I was thrilled to learn that this is a his and hers pattern, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist stealing Zach’s if I didn’t have my own. He actually helped me choose Grettir from Brooklyn Tweed’s collection—he’d specifically requested an Icelandic yoke pullover after watching me make a baby version. And that’s the story of how my very first adult-sized sweater came to be!

The instructions in this pattern were super easy to follow, even for a near-beginner like myself. It knits from the waist up and features directions for a tubular cast on, which I’d never heard of before. I was able to get it down with just a few tries, and I now want to use this elegant technique for every project, as it creates such a clean, professional-looking edge.

Handmade Sweater: Men's Brooklyn Tweed Grettir

Now that this guy is finished, I can’t wait to make many, many more and enjoy numerous hugs from my sweater-clad sweetheart. (D’aww, we’re gross.)

 

Have you ever made a sweater as a gift? What are your favorite beginner-friendly patterns? Let me know in the comments!

Oversized Sweater Knit Tunic

Please note that the below post includes affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure policy here.

As I’ve shared before, I’m a little obsessed with cozy, bulky fabrics. Basically, anything that would lend itself to hermiting, I’m there for. My newly-rekindled knitting passion suits this desire just fine, but, sadly, knitting up a snuggly sweater takes a little more time to orchestrate than sitting down at the sewing machine. It was this revelation that set me on my quest to find the perfect sweater knit fabric to piece together some toasty “cheater” sweaters.

The problem? A lot of the sweater knits out there are quite thin, or they’re made in delicate lace patterns that are perfectly suited to springtime. Winter hermiting? Not so much.

Simplicity Patterns Oversized Turtleneck Sweater

I searched high and low for my ideal knit to no avail. I even prematurely snatched up Simplicity 8738 upon its release, knowing that when I found the knit I so desperately sought, I’d be prepared. And then gosh darnit if that perfect sweater knit did not find me—in the form of a thrifted blanket.

That’s right, my perfect medium was just hanging there on a sad Goodwill rack in the form of a sad, haggard little gray blanket. And now it’s an undercover blanket sweater.

I’m obsessed with this pattern, and I can’t wait to make the other versions of it. This is the Version B tunic, shortened significantly and without thumb holes (I knew I’d just fiddle with them throughout the day and get distracted). The turtleneck is the perfect fit—it’s not too tight and it drapes ever so slightly, but not enough to get drafty. The top’s boxy shape is perfect to throw on and go, and it can easily be layered over a tee for added warmth.

This is my new go-to winter staple, and I have a feeling I’ll be rummaging for unwanted blankets again to revisit this pattern again and again.

 

Have you ever sewn with sweater knits? Share your favorite patterns in the comments!

Cheery Knit Throw Pillow Covers with Lion Brand Hometown USA

Our apartment has been very, very oatmeal-colored for a while. I get that the monochromatic aesthetic is a thing right now, and I think it looks plenty lovely in other homes, sure. But I like color. A lot. I just can’t always commit to a palette, and so, you know, oatmeal prevails. Finally, I just couldn’t take it anymore and started mulling over how to make a 22″ x 22″ pillow cover for the drab throws on our couch.

Recently I’ve been hankering for a bright pop of golden yellow. I just needed it. I’d also been reading up on ways to lessen some of my anxiety, especially since I’m feeling kind of trapped indoors in the colder weather, and adding a few hints of color to a living space was a common piece of advice I encountered for making an environment friendlier to one’s overall wellbeing. A sunny pillow cover to replace the ones on the big throw pillows that came with my couch seemed like the perfect fix.

I also saw this bulky Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn and knew it needed to find a home with me. Then I remembered my pillow plight, and the rest is history. Two new soft, shiny, new pillowcases in my favorite pattern, a plush seed stitch for a touch of texture, were born. They knit up super fast for an easy and beautiful decor refresh. Here’s how to make a jumbo, 22” square pillow cover of your own.

How to Make a Pillow Cover

You’ll need:
5 skeins Lion Brand Hometown USA (I used Madison Mustard)
30” Circular Needles in US 11 (or size needed to obtain a gauge of 11 stitches = 5″ in seed stitch)
Tapestry Needle

Cast on 102 stitches using a long-tail cast on.
Note: It helps to leave a long enough tail, about 30”, to use for sewing up what will be the bottom of your pillow cover at the end, but it’s not necessary—you can just use a cut strand of yarn if you don’t feel like fooling with the loose tail while you’re knitting.  

Join in the round by slipping the first stitch on the right needle onto the left. Knit these two stitches together.

*p1 k1, repeating from * until cover measures 22” tall. Bind off, and cut yarn leaving about a 30” tail to stitch the top of your cover together using a tapestry needle. I did this by bringing the needle under and through the inner “loops” created by the bind-off and repeating for the opposite side of the opening until I reached the end—see photo below. Then, tie it off in a discreet knot underneath the stitches you just made. Weave in any loose ends from where you started a new skein on the inside of the cover. 

Insert your pillow into the cover. Repeat whichever method of stitching you chose for the bottom of the cover to close it up, and you’ve got yourself one cozy new decor piece! I personally think mine looks better with a little black cat perched on top for contrast.

What are some of your favorite DIY ways to brighten up a room? Let me know in the comments!