Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Easiest Pillows You'll Ever Make (And a No-Sew Option!)

Total Cost: $9.00 with pillow vs. Pottery Barn $56 with pillow

This holiday season, you might say I'm mad for plaid.  Of course, so is Pottery Barn, my BFF (best FRENEMY forever).  I got their holiday catalog and just LOOK at these plaid pillow covers!!! 

Gah. Seriously?!  And guess how much they are? $30...FOR THE COVER.  That's right cyber-friends, that doesn't include the stupid pillow form. By the way, if you want the pillow form that fits it, that's only $26 more dollars.  No big deal.  Just $56 for a stupid pillow.  

Well, I made mine for...let's see...oh, $8.00.  Okay, $10 if you count the pillow forms and I made 2! And guess what?  I think mine are cuter.  You can make some just like mine and you don't even need to know how to sew!  You do, however, need to know how to iron.  No, sorry, you can't throw these in the dryer on the wrinkle-free setting like I do for everything I own.   Seriously these are the easiest pillows of all time.  Do this project!!!

I made two pillows with two shirts so they would be different on either side.  Feel free to only make one pillow with one shirt.  The directions here will be for what I did. 

Okay, let's get started!

2 button-up shirts
2 pillow forms
Cutting board and mat or scissors
Straight edge
Sewing machine with thread 
If no-sewing, E-Z bond tape, pictured below

(Author's Note about pillow forms:  for this project I already had pillow forms that I got at a garage sale for $1.00 each, don't worry they looked unused and I still washed and sanitized them!  I've also gotten pillows at the thrift shop (ew.) that look like they are in good condition and sanitized the crap out of them.  Another option is IKEA.  They sell great pillow forms for $3...and you don't have to worry about bed bugs which is worth a dollar in my book.)


You're going to need some plaid button-up shirts.  The local thrift shop is perfect for this because there are racks and racks of plaid shirts.  Not so cute for shirts, super cute for pillows.  You may recall these shirts...

 from our Christmas card this year:

There's really no trick to picking them out.  Just look for a pattern that makes you feel Christmas-y inside.  Also, try to find a shirt that's a Large or XL.  You want as much fabric to work with as you can get.  

STEP 1.5:

Please, for the love, wash and dry your shirts.  They are from a thrift shop.  Bed bugs live in thrift shops.  So do old lady smells.  You might consider using one of my all-time favorite laundry products, Clorox Gentle Bleach.  

Without boring you with too many details, it contains the same germ-killing ingredient of regular bleach (Clorox2 doesn't have this ingredient) just less of it so you can use it on colors. I use it in every load. I'm not getting paid for this endorsement.  Clorox really doesn't care what I have to say.  I just love this stuff that much. 


Lay your shirt out on a flat surface and smooth it out so there aren't wrinkles, especially on the bottom layer.  

Now, here you can do one of two things:  measure your pillow and then draw an outline of the pillow on the shirt accordingly OR, suppose you don't want to go find your fabric marker, just lay that sucker on the shirt and line your straight edge up and cut.  Do the same to the other shirt

*MISTAKE TO AVOID: In retrospect, I should have made my fabric cuts about 1/2" larger on each side.  I've read several pillow cover making tutorials online and was lured into believing that cutting my fabric to the exact size of my pillow form  would result in a fluffier pillow that holds it's shape better.  While that may be true, for THESE pillows, just cut the fabric 1/2" larger than your pillow otherwise, yours will look like mine, where the buttons are pulling like your Aunt Margaret's blouse.  It's not horrible but I do notice it. 

STEP 3: 

Once you have your squares cut, switch one of the layers so that each pillow has a button-up front and coordinating back.  (Pardon the light in this picture...Thank you.)


With the right sides facing each other, pin around the edges. 

STEP 5: 

Sew with about a 1/2" seam allowance ALL AROUND THE EDGES. Didn't I tell you this was the easiest pillow ever?  You don't need to leave a gap to turn the cover right side out because we're going to do that through the buttons!  Genius! 


For projects for I'm too lazy to drag the sewing machine out, I like this fusible double-stick tape: 

It's about $3 at Jo-Ann's and it's really easy to use.  Anyway, with fusible double-stick tape in hand, with one layer of your pillow form right side up, tape all the way around the edges. (By the time I thought of this option, I'd already pinned mine so just pretend the pins aren't in the picture, okay?) Remove the paper backing and stick the top layer (right side facing in, right sides of fabric together) to the bottom layer.  

STEP 7: 

Your pillow cover should be inside out.  Undo the buttons from the inside and turn the pillow cover right side out. 

STEP 8: 

Insert pillow and button up the front!  Done!  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!


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