Monday, August 27, 2012

Vintage Varsity Letter Pillows

varsity letter pillows

I originally posted this idea a couple of years ago.  Amy starts school next week-which for me signals the unofficial beginning of fall.  The start of the school year always make me nostalgic anyway, so in that spirit…enjoy!

Here’s a fun and fairly simple pillow project that will add some vintage charm to your autumn decor. I love autumn. When the air turns cooler, and the leaves change color, I like to dig out my 1940’s yearbooks, page through them and relive those days gone by.  This project is perfect-it’s a fun way to incorporate a bit of the spirit of past into your home, and show off your favorite monogram, too!

You’ll need a varsity letter-and these are fairly easy to find. Try thrift stores or look on the internet. You’ll also need your choice of pillow fabric-enough to cover the front and back of the pillow form you are using-and allow about an extra 10” or so for the overlap in the back. I chose plaid wool because I love it and it’s so cozy for fall.

Cut a pillow front from your fabric. What I like to do is cut my piece of fabric the same as the size of the pillow. For example, if I’m working with an 18” pillow form, I cut my pillow front section exactly 18” square. You want your finished pillow cover to be slightly smaller than your pillow form, so that your finished pillow is nice and plump.

Place your letter on your fabric where you like it best-and either pin in place or attach with a couple of drops of craft glue. The idea is to keep the letter in place while you sew it on. I recommend machine sewing-it’s quick and gives a nice finished look.

Once your letter is attached, it’s time to make the envelope-or overlap- closing for the back of the pillow. For example, if you are using an 18” form, and want the overlap to be in the middle-you will cut two pieces of fabric-EACH piece would be 9” PLUS 3” for a good overlap PLUS about 1.5 inches for the finished edges. You can vary these measurements depending on whether you want your pillow back to close in the middle or nearer the bottom edge ( in which case your numbers would be more like 12 and 6 instead of 9 and 9.) Also remember that the width measurement remains the same as the width of your front pillow cover piece.

To finish the overlap edges-turn your fabric under half and inch, and then an inch. Top stitch.


Pin the top overlap section to your pillow front, right sides together, and stitch the two pieces together. Then pin the bottom overlap section to the bottom half of your pillow front, so that it lies on top of the top overlap section, and stitch together. It’s a good idea to sew the sides again, where the top and bottom sections meet since that area takes a good deal of stress when putting the pillow form inside. Trim off the excess fabric from each corner point-so that the corners turn nicely-and then turn your new pillow cover right side out. Press if needed, and then insert your pillow form.

That’s it!  All done!

I hope you love your new pillow!


Happy Monday, dear readers!


  1. I love these! So cute!

    We were talking about things we love about fall last night at dinner. Our apples are starting to come in, which really makes me think of fall!

  2. That is so cool, Valerie!

    Thank you for the yummy tip for dinner tonight!

  3. A super cute idea.

    Fall has me feeling nostalgic this year too. Your post has inspired me to organize my next photo album.

  4. Lisa-apple picking in the fall brings back lots of great memories!

    Dawn-you are welcome! And thank you, too:)

    Tina-thanks! Fall definitely brings on the feeling of nostalgia-and I'd love for you to do a photo album post! I love looking at photos:)

  5. You are an artist through and through. I'm almost relieved that Deaglan now goes to school. Before last year, I never felt that "start" to Fall. It's just not the same when someone isn't going back to school.