Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Repurposed Panels...My First Tutorial.

Leslie D. wanted pillows made from her old drapes, and I offered to try.   I thought it would be fun to create a tutorial for a very simple pillow. No frills, no bells and whistles, just a square pillow.

I began by cutting out a pattern from gift wrap. The grid on the back side was very helpful in keeping the lines straight.  I then pinned the pattern to the fabric and began cutting it out. The panel was folded in half with the wrong sides together.

After the square was cut out, I turned the fabric with the right sides together and pinned it in preparation for sewing. Along one side, I positioned the pins in a different direction, to show me where I wanted to leave an opening for stuffing. I left an opening of approximately five inches. Enough space to easily place stuffing inside.

Then I began sewing at one point where wanted to leave an opening, reverse stitching to secure the seam.  I continued all around the sides until I came to the other point of the opening and reverse stitched there as well.

When I finished, I clipped the corners, so that when I turned it right side out, the points would be sharper. I also zig zag stitched outside of the seam line, to reinforce it. Nothing like a seam ripping open when you plop down on the pillow to watch the evening news. You could also just sew another simple straight line for security.


I pulled it right side out, and used a thick needle to pull the corners out to a point. This must be done carefully, so as not to rip the fabric.  Then I smoothed it all out, and pressed with an iron.

Now we were ready for the stuffing.  First I balled up small wads of stuffing and pushed into the corners. This helps it stay in place a little better.

I pull the stuffing material apart (sort of like shredding it) to make it easier to use, and to make the pillow smoother looking and feeling. I saw it on HGTV once that it's best to do this. Otherwise you have lumps and bumps in your pillow. When I had as much stuffing inside as I wanted, I closed the opening and pinned it together.

There are two ways of sewing the opening shut. One is by hand, which is easy and quick if you aren't concerned about how it looks on that one side. ( I do my own this way, because I only have to please myself) You just whip it closed with a double strand of thread and a needle.

The way I closed these pillows was to take it back to the sewing machine, and sew it close to the edge. You must push the stuffing back, and pin it, then I used extra pins to secure the edges in the correct position as well. If you don't (as I found out from trial and error) the edges tend to slip back and you wind up with it still open or one edge a lot wider than the other. I began the stitching at one end of the opening and ended at the other end of the opening, not along the entire side.  I reverse stitched at the beginning and ending points for stability.

It wasn't hard, and I didn't have to buy a pattern at Walmart or Hancock's.

Soooo, how'd I do with the tutorial? Did I leave anything out? Please let me know if there are any questions or anything that isn't clearly understandable.


  1. On the side with the hole that you closed up, did you just sew over the section with the hole or did you top stitch that whole side? I'm not following that part.

  2. If you look at the photo, you will see that I only stitched the part that was open. Not along the entire side. But I will add that information to the text. :)

  3. Yeah, I realized that after I posted it.