Pillows are probably the easiest tasks imaginable for the amateur sewer – following just a few simple steps: Give yourself a one-inch seam allowance. Put the two pieces of fabric together with front sides facing (inside out). Sew three sides, plus most of the fourth side with your sewing machine in no time flat. Then turn your square/rectangle right side out, stuff your stuffing through the hole and viola! – a pillow is born.
Make sure the hole is not too big. After it is completely stuffed (either with batting or pillow form), you will need to hand sew the rest of the way to close it up. Fold in that leftover inch on each side of the hole and try threading into the inseam so you can’t really see the stitch. It’s ok if it doesn’t look perfect; this can be the underside of the pillow.
I got inspired to make pillows when we moved back to San Francisco a couple of years ago. We bought new furniture for our apartment, but I couldn’t find the right pillows. The ones I loved in the design shops were out of range (I couldn’t bear to pay $200 for a throw pillow knowing that our cats might pee or puke on it at any moment). In my household, they are often known as “throw out” pillows. Wah wah….
Even though pillows are easy, I’ve challenged myself with some out-of-the-ordinary designs and materials. I made this one the other day out of a faux fur neck scarf and a dress remnant. First I cut the neck scarf in half, then sewed the two parallel sides together by hand. The jersey dress fabric (like thick t-shirt material) was super-easy to work with because it was already in a tube rectangular shape (picture a pillowcase open at both ends). So I only had to sew two sides on the machine.
I went ahead and stuffed it, closed it up, then sewed the furry front onto the jersey pillow (by hand). The furry stuff is great to work with because it hides imperfections easily. And now the pillow is reversible! Purple with fur trim on one side, all fur on the other. I just love how it turned out.
Total time: less than 2 hours. Or give an old pillow a furry face lift in less than 30 minutes!
Here are some other pillow ideas you might like:
- Memento kid’s pillow made out of extra square from Grandma’s quilt
- Silver silk zig zag pillow made from pieced-together leftover fabric
- Ribbon chevron design inspired by Jonathan Adler pillow
- Custom piano bench cushion (layer of foam wrapped in fabric, stapled to underside)
- Leather Pouf DIY-style (stuffed with old clothes)