I'm sure many of you are not thrilled with my choice of starting with a cotton fabric but I do have a reason. This fabric will be the easiest for you to see fabric grain, bias and learn to sew on. So if you don't want one like this in your living room, think about kids that you know or a bedroom accessory.
Learn more about cotton fabrics from Cotton Information
You will only need a half yard for a pillow. Almost any local source will have this type of fabric. Many will call it their "calico wall", or quilting section. There are also many on line sources. For this project you may even find a cotton and polyester blend that feels about the same to the hand. This will work for this project. Please aviod plaids and one way designs. These designs will complicate matters and you probably will not be pleased with the resuls.
Sources to order fabric on line:Cotton Fabric Sources, Clearance And Bargain Fabric Sources, and Fabric Shopping Tips
When you go shopping you want to look for your color choice of coarse, but here are a few more things to keep in mind. Take a look at the cut edge of the fabric, give that cut edge a little twist with your fingers, do the threads start to fray? Do the colors stay aligned with the original print? Try to find one that is fairly tightly woven to prevent problems later. Once you have gotten the feel of 100% cotton woven fabric, you may find something very similar in a bargain part of the store that has some polyester content. This will also work for this project and lesson. But please do not purchase corduroy as it has nap (something else to learn) on a knit fabric. These fabrics will complicate this learning experience.
Recommended book for understanding fabric:
Fabric Savvy By Sandra Betzina
This book is fantastic for learning about fabrics. The book details sewing information for every imaginable type of fabric, as well as what the various fabrics are suitable for.
A Must Read: Preparing Fabric for Use
You will want to wash this pillow cover sometime in the future and you want it to be the same item you made. Please be sure you have read Preparing Fabric for Use. Shrinkage is the main reason for pre-shrinking but not the only one! Many times fabric is not color fast and you will want to know this before you join it to other fabrics.