Last Saturday, one of my good friends asked me to help her make two couch pillows out of a shower curtain. She knows I’m fairly crafty and handy on a sewing machine, so I was more than happy to help. The curtain had a fun pattern that matched the rest of her living room, and when I finished, I was rather pleased with myself. Which got me to thinking…pillows from a shower curtain? How ingenious!
I took this inspiration home with me and that same night I made pillows of my own – all three made from fabric I found around the house. So what did I use you may wonder, and how did I make them? That is simple enough. Now, it does take a certain amount of skill to sew anything, but pillows are fundamentally easy, so don’t be leery.
Step 1. Find Fabric: I prefer to repurpose, so for two matching pillows I used fabric from a decorative bulletin board I was using to hold coupons (however, my husband found it annoyingly girly), so I cut it up. Rather a tricky process since it had glue and staples everywhere! I also used the remaining leg fabric from a pair of Express dress pants I found at Goodwill for $0.99 (I used the top of the pants to make shorts a while back – details will be in another post). Then for the black and grey pillow I used fabric leftover from a pillow sham I used on a different project (which will also be divulged in another post). And the fabulous flowers came from headbands I stopped wearing years ago.
Step 2. Determine Size and Shape: I wanted the matching pillows for my bed and the other one for the futon. To be honest, I really just sort of “winged it” with the sizes and shapes. However, if you know exact measurements (for example, the pillows I made for my friend covered existing down couch pillows) then you should measure the size you need. Try to give a little give room, better to over-estimate than make them too small. Once you know the size, measure and cut it out of the fabric. Be sure to cut to same-sized pieces (for the front and back of the pillow).
Step 3. Pin Your Fabric: Keep in mind, the outside of each piece of fabric should be turned to the inside. So in essence, your pillow will currently be inside out, with both non-patterned sides facing out. This is an important step because you want there to be enough space between the fabric edge and the pins to sew your pieces together, but you also don’t want there to be TOO much room. Determine how big your seam width should be before pinning and set the pins a little wider than this. Oh, and only pin three of the four sides – one side you leave open for stuffing and hand sewing.
Step 4. Sewing the Seams: This is probably the easiest step, and the quickest. Once you sew all three seams, taking the pins out as you go, and remembering to back-stitch, you can move to the final step. However, you should test putting this cover on your down pillows, if you have them, before stitching it all up. If by some misfortune it doesn’t fit, then you can always rip out the seams and redo them. Not fun, but better than getting to the end with a pillow covering that won’t fit. If you don’t have a down pillow, then yay, you can move on.
Step 5. Trimming, Stuffing and Hand-Sewing: Trim the excess fabric from the edges before flipping your pillow right-side out. Then, take the two bottom corners (the ones sewn) and pull them out of the top hole. Take your closed-tipped scissors and push in these corners to make them more prominent and formed. Then you can stuff the pillow, I actually repurposed and used stuffing from a different pillow that I ripped apart to turn into an apron, but any craft store or supermarket has pillow stuffing for $5-$12 per bag. Once you fill the pillow full, try to even out the stuffing so there are no lumps, then you can pin the top where you will hand sew. This time though, fold the top of each piece, about a 1/4″ or so, in so your seam will be nice and clean. Then hand sew and take out pins as you go. And VOILA, all done!
*Note: my matching pillows were quilted, or cut into smaller pieces that were sewn together before making the actual pillow form. This involves a more complicated process than a basic pillow. Let me know in the comment section if you are interested in learning more. And the flowers were simply sewn on to one piece of the pillow before steps 3-6.