DIY “Quilted” Pillows

So, as I have mentioned before my husband, two dogs, a soon-to-be baby, and I all live in a very small two bedroom apartment.  My husband has made it very clear that I have stuffed our apartment to the brim and I am not allowed to bring in any large DIY projects until we move.  In early pregnancy I got a very strong nesting/DIY urge, so I got a little creative…with pillows.  I have been wanting to make pillows for our bed for years now, and every time I bring it up my husband says we don’t need pillows for our bed.  Well, I guess with all the raging hormones and all he didn’t argue with me this time, and this was the result.

I wanted a “quilted” look with different fabrics that match our bedroom to bring in all the different colors.  I chose a palate of blacks, whites, greys, and blues.  The pillows are kind of country-chic and add a nice personal touch to the bedroom.

Materials:

  • Various fabrics (I bought 7 different fabrics, each a yard long (with quite a bit left over), all from Jo-Ann’s)
  • Matching thread (I bought a roll of black)
  • Matching zippers (You don’t need zippers, but it will make it easy if you want to wash them.  Get one per pillow, make sure they are long enough to fit the width of one side of the pillow.  I bought all black)
  • Pillows of various sizes (You can either use old pillows you already have or you can buy pillows that are made for decorating like I did)
  • Sewing machine, scissors, push pins, measuring tape, pencil

Directions:

  1. Buy all materials you need above.  I bought everything at Jo-Ann’s (except the last bullet I already had).
  2. Pick one sized pillow you want to start with.  Measure the dimensions.
  3. Figure out what type of pattern or design you want for your fabric.  I made a different pattern for each size pillow.  I realized the bigger the pillow the more fabrics you could have, smaller pillows only stick to a few so it doesn’t get too busy.  First, I drew out patterns I liked on paper, and then I folded my yards of fabric and placed them in designs to see what I liked and didn’t like.

    Folded fabrics to find a good design
    Folded fabrics to find a good design
  4. Once you know what pattern you want, it is time to cut your fabric.  I wanted to give myself a lot of wiggle room for sewing and cutting, so whatever the dimensions of the pillow are I added an inch total (half inch for each side).  You could get away with adding half an inch if you are a better cutter and sew straighter than I do.
  5. Lay out the pieces of fabric how you want them on your pillow, it makes it easier to sew the pieces together later.  Remember, you need a front and a back.   You can either do the same thing on both sides or do what I did and do each side differently.

    Laying out the fabric
    Laying out the fabric
  6. Pick two pieces you want to start with.  Place the front of the fabric touching each other, with the backs facing outward.  Pin the pieces in place.  Sew the pieces together leaving a 1/2 inch edge (or whatever size you originally left).
  7. Continue doing this process with all your pieces, so eventually you have the entire front of the pillow sewn together. (Helpful hint:  If your fabric has a top and a bottom, make sure you are sewing them in place properly, there were a few I had to re-do because the birds were upside down!)

    Sewing the front pieces together
    Sewing the front pieces together
  8. Do the same thing with the back pieces.  You should have your front and back sides sewn.  Then, place the front and the back together, again with the front of the fabric touching and the back facing outward.
  9. Sew the front and the back pieces together.  Make sure to leave one side open to put the pillow in.  I wanted the zipper at the bottom so I left the bottom of the pillow open.  I sewed the top of the pillow first, then went down both sides.  Again, first I pinned them in place and laid the seams open to make a flatter finish.  Once three sides are sewn together you can turn the pillow right side out and see your almost finished product!

    Pillow turned right side out
    Pillow turned right side out
  10. If you are not going to use a zipper, stuff your pillow into the case and then sew the bottom closed.  If you are using a zipper, it is zipper time.  Even though I stink at zippers and they drive me insane, I still think it was worth it.  Now I can easily take the case off and wash them if needed (let’s be honest, WHEN needed).  I will be the first to admit I am no good at zippers.  I know there is a setting on my sewing machine for zippers that will probably make my life easier, too bad I am too lazy to learn how to use it and would rather fumble through my awkward method.  If you know how to put in a zipper, please ignore the next steps.  If you don’t, I suggest reading your manual and figuring out the real way to do it, then ignore my next steps.  If you want to be really lazy like me, do the following method.
  11. Fold the inside seam down 1/2inch and pin in place.  Then unzip the zipper and pin the zipper in place around the edge.

    Pinning the zipper in place
    Pinning the zipper in place
  12. Sew the zipper in place, making sure when you do it you include both the zipper and the folded material.  The place I make the biggest mistake is when my sewing machine can’t go around the actual zipper.  Then I just leave a hole and hand-sew the rest.  I usually only have to hand-sew about an inch, but again I know I am doing it wrong and am too stubborn to figure out the right way.

    Zipper sewn in
    Zipper sewn in
  13. Shove the pillow into the case, making sure all the seams line up and everything is square.  Then zip up the bottom and you are done!!

    Finished Pillow
    Finished Pillow
  14. Now go take a nap with your new awesome pillow, you deserve it after all your hard work.  🙂

I threw all the pillows on our bed to get a picture of them all.  I made a TON of pillows, and I don’t think I would regularly put this many pillows on the bed.  I made this many so when we have an actual house with actual chairs in our bedroom I can also use them as accent pillows around the bedroom/bathroom.  Now that I have to sleep propped up because of my heartburn they have been a life saver too.

Finished product, many pillows on the bed
Finished product, many pillows on the bed
Frankie wanted in on the action, he likes the new pillows
Frankie wanted in on the action, he likes the new pillows
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