Easy Project, Big Statement–How to Make a Pillow (from fabric or a child’s dress)


A toddlers dress becomes a great pillow for a little girl's bed--

When I teach people to sew I always start with pillows.  Pillows are super-easy, just 4 seams really.  The creative options are endless and they’re always on display (for bragging rights)

Here how to make a great pillow–

Start with fabric that makes a statement.  Yes, you can go to the fabric store, but thrift stores and flea markets are also great fabric sources.  There’s also lots of great vintage fabrics on the internet (check out etsy.com for a great selection)  And don’t forget to shop your own closet.  If you loved it enough to wear it out, you’d probably love it as a pillow. 

For the pillow I’m making today, I’m using my friends daughter’s dress.  It will go on the little girl’s bed, reminding her of  fun  vacations with family especially the grandfather who chucked down all the $$s for this  Lilly Pulitzer shift. 

Make two squares.  You fabric and vision with often dictate the size , but don’t go to small.  Try to cut your squares at least 13x 13 inches which will give you a 12 inch pillow.  But bigger makes a bigger statement, of course.  Just remember to add an inch to your finished pillow size for seam allowances (that’s 1/2 in on each side)

To get the most fabric out of the size 3 T dress, I ripped out the hem and side seams using my handy seam ripper.  This is a fun thing to do in front of the TV.  I usually have a pile of ripping that I can sit down and work through. 

Surprisingly well-made, this child's dress still came apart in minutes with the help of my seam ripper and sissors. I opened the side seam and hems, cut the shoulders, ripped out the zipper, reseamed the hole and pressed.

Your squares need to be square.  I have a nice cutting mat and rotary cutter for this, but if you are just starting out and don’t have the tools, use a yard stick or ruler and a large book to square the corners.  Mark your cutting lines on the fabric.  (They make lots of fabric marking pens and pencils– After trying most of them, I still prefer school teacher chalk and/or a good pencil to mark fabric)

If you don't have a carpenter's square or cutting mat, use a ruler, chalk or pencil and a book to make sure you are a cutting a true square.

Pin RIGHT SIDES Together, leaving an opening and sew.  Make sure the opening is large enough to get your hand or a pillow form though.  And  if you haven’t done a lot of sewing, here’s a video I made with my friend Melissa about sewing a straight seam.  It’s quick and helpful (over 4 thousand views and lots of good feed back) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2snSTLSznA

Sewing though pins is a bad idea--so I mark my pillow opening with upright pins. They remind me to STOP.

When you come to a corner,stop,  raise the presser foot, pivot, lower and sew the next seam.  Continue back to the far edge of your opening.  Use some big pins here as stopping points so you won’t forget and sew on around. 

Press.  Yes, press.  The iron is your friend.  

Clip corners closely, but not through stitching and turn your pillow. right side out. 

Clipping is important. First go across the corner--them trim each side. Otherwise there's too much excess fabric in the corner. It will make an ugly lump. After turning to the right side, I use a wooden chopstick with a blunt end to gently push out my corners.

Now stuff with a pillow form, or lose poly stuffing.  Then whip stitch (our next video, I hope) the opening closed.   

You’re done.  Start bragging.  And planning your next pillow.

I like to make pillows  and other creations out of vintage, found and inherited fabrics.  To see more of my work check out my ETSY shop, www.kikisrewinddesigns.etsy.com   or go to my web site www.kikisrewinddesigns.com

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