I’m really proud of this project. This has been my most popular post EVER so I’ve touched it up and am posting it again.
I didn’t care for the prices of nursing pillow covers, especially since I wasn’t a huge fan of the prints that were available. So I made my own!
Just an Afternoon
I made this cover by hand during one of Angel Baby’s naps, doing the finishing touches while she watched “Fish Movie” that afternoon. That does not include the time it took me to drive to town, pick out the patterned flannel at JoAnn’s, drive home, then wash, dry, and iron the fabric. That was all done before I started taking these pictures for this lovely tutorial for you.
But seriously, with my lack of sewing machine, I managed to make this Boppy* cover in less than three hours. Woot!
Start with What You Know
Or, if you don’t know, go to Pinterest. That’s how I found this no-zipper, no-snap, no-fastener cover “pattern” by Between 3 Sisters. It is a very simple idea, using overlapping pieces of fabric to hold the pillow in place. I think we’ve all seen this style of pillow cover before, but I hadn’t seen it used on a nursing pillow.
I did have a couple Boppy covers to go on the pillows I own, so I used one of them as my template. Between 3 Sisters drew out a pattern on paper first, but I skipped that step. If you’ve read my other DIY posts and any of my recipes, you know I’m a big fan of winging it and just HATE to follow directions.
What I Did
I took my 1-and-1/4 yard of fabric and laid it out, reverse side up, on my dining room table. Then I put the commercial Boppy cover, inside out, on the flannel and pinned it in place. Using a pen (because my pencil wasn’t marking on the flannel), I traced the cover on my fabric. I went beyond the Boppy cover by about ½” all the way around to give myself some room for error. This is how I got the solid side (as opposed to the gapped side I’m about to tell you how to make).
Next, I chose to cut it out at this point, to make sure I didn’t accidentally trace the other side or cut into it in any way.
I folded the cover in half and laid it on the reverse side of the fabric then pinned it. I guesstimated about 3” extra from the center point and drew a straight line to mark where I would cut. The extra 3” for each side will make the overlapping gap through which I’ll be stuffing the pillow.
Then I drew around the cover with the extra ½” like I mentioned above. I unpinned the cover, cut out along my lines, flipped it over, maneuvering it to get the best fit, and repeated the pinning and drawing.
Once all the pieces were cut out, I took the two halves of the “back” side and pinned the excess to make thick, sturdy flaps**. This is where I’ll be stuffing my pillow so I want these to not only look nice when they overlap but not pull or tear when I take the cover on and off. I sewed these seams by hand.
I placed the fronts of the fabric together, lined up the pieces, and pinned them into place. Now it looks like an inside-out Boppy cover. I sewed around the edges, giving roughly ½” margin. I know, I know, this will make it a little bigger than the commercial cover I was copying, but I want that… I’m not a professional and I’m doing this by hand so a margin for error is kind of a necessity.
Then, I turned the whole thing right-side out. Voila! A Boppy cover! I stuffed my pillow through the gap I made. This illustrated to me a handful of things.
- Thank God I gave myself the excess, the margin of error, because this wound up the perfect tightness on my pillow. Not too much extra to make it sloppy and baggy (because that could be a hazard with small babies), just enough to easily get the cover on and off and still fit the pillow.
- The gap needed slightly reinforced along the inside curve. It wasn’t tearing but I could see how the tension could create issues down the road.
- I really am awesome and can do just about any little project I decide I want to do. In fact, I whipped out this bad boy in record time AND for a fraction of the price. Get your coupons before you go to the store, go when the store has a sale on its “nursery fabrics”, and you end up spending under $10 for a Boppy cover that is the fabric and print of your choice.
Your Turn! Tell me how you did…
*The nursing pillows I own are actually Boppy brand. In this tutorial, I use the term “Boppy” as the generic name as well, kinda like how I call tissues “Kleenax” and cotton swabs “Q tips”.
**I really hope my photos make sense because I don’t think my words do at this point. Then again, I’m typing this a couple weeks after doing the project and am now rocking the brain and belly of 35 weeks. Woot woot!