Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Holiday Decor that Doesn't Take Up Space!

If you live in an RV or camper or even just camp a lot, you know how hard it is to try to store and carry holiday decor. This week's post is a special Holiday article by a guest author with a great idea for space-saving Holiday decor! This idea is great no matter where you live - easy holiday decor!

(Don't worry, if you don't sew or don't have your machine with you, I have a solution at the end of the post)

Here's Karis to tell you how she did it -

Hi! I'm Karis. I am 27 and full-time RV living with my boyfriend while he travels for work welding pipeline. I keep myself busy doing small projects that don’t take up much space (heaven forbid we take up some space for decorations LOL). I love sewing and my machine is one thing I knew I needed while traveling. I also love finding new ways to decorate to make our trailer feel like home, while we’re on the road!

Pillow Cover Instructions

Let’s just start out by saying living in a camper full time can put a damper on decorating, especially during the holiday season, when you don’t have extra space for storage. I am an AVID decorator and love everything Halloween, Fall/Thanksgiving, and Christmas related. I have had to get creative with decorations, and one thing I came up with is pillow covers. Storing them takes up next to no space after being folded (which is a win from my man who hates clutter/stuff that isn’t used daily.) Here are the steps I used to make these pillow covers. These steps are for a zipper closure, but I am including pictures of a Velcro closure I have also used – Enjoy!


  • Pillow(s)
  • Fabric of choice measured out to your pillow size
  • Flexible Tape Measure
  • Sewing Machine (Can sew by hand with needle and thread but I would not recommend sewing the zipper by hand.)
  • Thread to match pillow cover
  • Zipper closure (In the length needed and color of your choice)
  • Pins

Step 1: Measure your pillow/pillows

The pillows I used are 18in. x 18in. These are the pillows that came with our camper, so I did not buy any special pillow stuffing or inserts. Again, less is more around here so I am using what I already had. When measuring my pillows, I used a flexible measuring tape and laid it across my pillow, flat. If I just measured the length it was 16 in. but you can see the pillow has some bulk, so to make sure my cover would fit I made sure to add that bulk into my measurement.

Your amount of fabric should fit in accordance to your pillow size. My fabric is from Hobby Lobby (I died at the Christmas campers – so cute!) I got 5/8 yd. of each, which was too much for my pillow size but this is why you measure your pillows beforehand (:

Step 2: Cutting your fabric

When cutting your fabric to fit, I added ½ inch to my measurement so that when sewing each side, it gave me ¼ in. of sewing space around the cover. Cut along the side of the fabric, and across the bottom to fit the measurement of your pillow with the added ½ in. My fabric after cutting it measured 18.5 in. x 18.5in. *Make sure the pattern of your fabric fits the way you want your pillow to sit. You essentially want your fabric pattern to be vertical with the closure on the bottom*

 Step 3: Pin the first side of the zipper

If you are doing a zipper closure, the zipper needs to be pinned first. I have sewn a few zippers, but I learned from watching tutorials on YouTube. If you have never sewn a zipper before, I suggest watching a few tutorials before sewing your zipper in. I am using a YKK All-Purpose Zipper 16 in. in black, also from Hobby Lobby. I needed an 18 in., but again, measure beforehand (: When pinning your zipper first have your fabric with the good side facing out. Flip your zipper upside down and have the bottom of the zipper match up with the bottom side of your first piece of fabric and pin into place (see step 3 picture)

Step 4: Pin the second side of the zipper

Place your other piece of fabric on top of the initial piece of fabric, good side down, and pin to the other side of the zipper. This part may be confusing so again, I would suggest watching a video tutorial on sewing zippers.

Step 5: Pin the fabric

Now that your zipper is pinned, step 5 would be pinning the rest of your fabric together. I pinned about 1.5 inches away from the edge, just to give myself enough from between the presser foot on my sewing machine and the pins (see step 6 picture for an example of pinning).

Step 6: Stitch the top and right side of the cover

I started sewing at the top left corner of my pillow cover, with the zipper at the bottom. I did a straight stitch across the top of the cover, and then down the right side until I got to the bottom where the zipper is pinned

Step 7 (If needed): Sew the Corner

Once I got to the bottom, since my zipper was too short, I did an inch-long straight stitch in between the arrows shown on the step 7 picture. This stitch would not be needed if your zipper was the correct length of the pillow (:

Step 8: Sew the first half of the zipper

Here is where I began sewing my zipper. It does not matter which side of the zipper you do first, but I prefer the excess fabric to be on the left of my sewing machine instead of bunched up on the right. I started at where I ended in step 7 and did a straight stitch half-way down the zipper.

Step 9: Sew the second half of the zipper

Once you’re halfway, open the slider of the zipper past the presser foot. This makes it easier to sew the remainder of the zipper so that you aren’t trying to sew over the bulky slider. (I can’t stress enough to watch a video tutorial on zippers, this helped me so much my first time sewing with a zipper.) Sew to the edge of where your zipper ends, I had a little extra fabric at the end this is okay if you do as well, and then flip over repeating steps 8-9 for the other side of your zipper.

Step 10: Sew the last side

At this time, I went back to the top left corner and did a straight stitch from the top left corner to the bottom left corner where the zipper is now sewn into. I did the same step to this corner as I did in step 7 to make sure my zipper fit.

I had to close my zipper in order to get it sewn correctly at the bottom corner, but after doing that I realized it would be best if I had left it open to be able to turn the pillow right side out. This is what my cover looked like after finishing the last stitch and before turning it right side out.

After turning it right side out, I closed the zipper just so the finished product can be seen. You can see that the raw edges are folded under where the zipper is sewn. You could iron this down, but since this is the bottom of my pillow cover, I didn’t find it necessary.

Here is the finished product with the pillow inside.

Instead of a zipper, you could easily sew in Velcro. 

I used Velcro on my first cover, leaving the bottom of my pillow cover unsewn to sew in the Velcro after. I prefer the look of the zipper, but this works just as well to keep the pillow cover on your pillow and can be easier than sewing in a zipper. If you are having trouble with any closure, you can leave a little extra fabric at the bottom and fold it under your pillow where you want it to sit. This will act as its own closure.

Thank you so much Karis for this fun project! 

If you don't sew or you don't have your machine with you, check out these pillow covers - already made!

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I just bought this - it's 2x as effective, super quiet, lightweight. It's doing a great job! It has made a noticeable difference in the comfort level of our rv.

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