" ". The Smiling Cat: Quick Santa or Holiday Printed Panel Pillow Cover~

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quick Santa or Holiday Printed Panel Pillow Cover~

  The same thing happens every year-I wonder where another year has gone!  After Thanksgiving- ‘poof’ it’s Christmas & New Years again.  Time to finish Holiday projects is running out.  I’m always looking for a few quick, last minute gifts to make. 
My sewing circle regularly swaps scrap fabrics, and I particularly like exchanging Holiday themed prints.  Angels, snowmen, Christmas trees & stars, and Santa-I love them all!  These are some of the fabrics I received:   

I usually don’t use printed panels, they’re a little too cutesy.  But this Santa has such a great expression, I love the twinkle in his eyes, so I decided to use it.  Since there isn’t much time-a simple 18” pillow cover.

Since my son is grown now, I don’t decorate as much for the Holidays.  Just a wreath & my little ceramic tree.  But, I have several friends who go all out decorating for Christmas.  I thought a Santa pillow cover would be a fun gift for this year and for the years to follow…….   and certainly easy to make.
I started by trimming the Santa panel to 10-1/2”x13-1/2” trying to make it as square as possible, but that didn’t leave much seam allowance on the sides.  I cut 1-1/2” & 2” strips from the Debbie Mum snowflake fabric and 3” & 5” strips from the light blue.  I like using the blue fabric, getting away from the Christmas “red & green” theme.

I first sewed the wider 2” ‘snowflake’ fabric strips to the sides, then the 1-1/2” strips to the top and bottom using 1/4” seams.  Again, trying to make it as square as possible.  Pressing all seams toward the outside edges. 

Then sewed the wider 5” blue strips to each side, and the other two 3” strips to the top and bottom.  Again, I pressed the seams toward the outside edges, and trimmed the finished piece to a 18-1/2” square.  Layered it with light-weight batting and just plain white cotton for backing.  I started by stitching in the ditch on both sides of the snowflake border. 

Now, the fun begins!  I’ve never done free-motion quilting-honestly, it scares me a little.  I decided to experiment with my open-toe foot, to see how curvy I could quilt with out the free-motion foot.  I first outlined his eye brows….


and his moustaches.  I went slowly and stopped to turn between stitches, but I managed to make some nice curves.

Then stitched a few lines across his cap and around the pom-pom on his cap.  Still happy with the look of the quilting, so I started on his beard.

I managed to sew a few nice curves-I might give the free motion quilting a try.  I’ve let myself get stuck in a rut with the stitch-in-the-ditch & straight line quilting.  Any way, happy with the front of the cover, it’s time to make the back.
I cut a piece of the snowflake fabric 18-1/2”x24”, then measured 6-1/2” up from the bottom, and cut the back in to two pieces.  I cut it this way so that I could keep the fabric pattern straight.
Next, I put a 18” covered zipper in between the top & bottom pieces of backing fabric that I just cut.  This sounds a little confusing, but just follow one step at a time.  I zig zagged  across both cut edges to prevent fraying.  I pressed the zig zaged top of the smaller bottom piece under 1”.

Presentation zipper

Then, I pinned the bottom of the zipper across the folded under edge.

With my sewing machine’s zipper foot on, I sewed the zipper in place.  First with the zipper half-way open, to avoid having to sew around the zipper pull, I sewed to the zipper pull at the middle,


then pulled the zipper closed and continued  sewing the zipper in place.  Now I pressed under 2” of the top piece’s bottom, zig zaged the edge, and positioned the top edge of the zipper onto the pressed under edge.  The extra inch of fold will cover the zipper. 

Line the bottom zipper edge with the zig zaged edge as shown in the picture above.  I know this sounds complicated, but just take it one step at a time. 


Again, start sewing with the zipper open, then pull zipper closed so that you aren’t sewing around the zipper pull.

Be sure to keep the fabric’s pattern lined up straight while putting in the zipper.

Now, trim both the front & back to 18-1/2” square, and place front & back together with right sides facing each other.  First baste both ends of the zipper in place on the seam lines.  Make sure everything is lined up straight & square.

Sew front to back.   Be sure to leave the zipper open so that you can turn the cover right side out after sewing sides together.  Before turning it right side out, finish by zig zaging the raw edges all the way around.

This what the pillow looked like at first.  I wasn’t too happy with the pointy ends, so I went back and rounded off the corners a bit.


Much better!  The zipper in the back is almost hidden-

And that’s it- all done!  Use it to cover an old pillow, or an 18" pillow form.
Blogger Labels: Quick,Santa,pillow cover,Christmas time,gifts,holidays,easy,simple,project,decorating,gift,fabric panel,sewing,Debbie Mum,fabric,theme,last-minute,cotton,quilted,,machine quilting,afternoon project,fabrics,panels,pieces,snowflake


  1. where can I purchase this panel of fabric?

  2. Hi- I made this project a few years ago, so I don't think this fabric panel is available any longer. It is getting close to Christmas and just about all of the fabric stores will have similar holiday fabrics. Just search online for "Santa, Christmas, fabric panel" and see what pops up. Have fun...!