Creative and Simple to Sew Pillows

Two accent pillows made from repurposed scarves

Dress up any room with these creative pillows that are easy on the eyes and effortless to make.

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Oh, Sew Simple

pillow

The secret to fun DIY pillows is knowing the basics, then getting creative. Browse the ideas in the next slides for fun embellishments and techniques. If you're new to pillow making, or want to brush up on your sewing skills, here's how to make a basic pillow: Cut two squares of fabric to the desired size (include extra for seam allowances). Sew the two squares with wrong facing, leaving a 2-inch opening along one side. Turn the right side out and fill with stuffing or a pillow form. Use a hidden stitch or fabric glue to close the opening. Choose a colorful and/or patterned fabric you love to ensure the pillow looks good for years to come.

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Character Counts

pillow

Use vintage doilies or lace to add old-fashioned charm to a ready-made pillow. A tacked-on, crocheted form sweetens the front of this plain pillow. Be careful when working with vintage fabrics, as their age makes them more delicate and prone to fraying. A cursive monogram, hand-drawn using a fabric pen, gives the pillow even more character.

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Gilty Pleasure

Gilt Pillow

Hop on board the hot trend of using gold in home decor with this quick and easy pillow project. Simply gather a collection of mismatched buttons and spray-paint them gold. Stitch each button onto the pillow, making a heart shape. If hearts aren't your thing, choose another simple shape to add texture and dimension to a solid-color throw.

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Pillow Talk

pillows

This pillow definitely has a way with words. Start with an assortment of glass, iridescent, and pearlized beads in a variety of sizes. Cut the fabric and stabilizer to your desired pillow size. Use a dark marker to write a word on butcher paper. Place the fabric over the paper and use a vanishing fabric marker to trace the word onto the fabric. Iron the stabilizer to the back of the fabric, then use a beading needle and clear thread to sew the beads onto the fabric. Sew the pillow closed, and, if you like, add piping along the edges.

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From Paper to Pillow

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Throw together this simple-to-sew pillow in no time at all. First, use a marbling technique to create a colorful, swirling design on a piece of paper. After that, scan the image via computer and send your design off to a custom-fabric printing service. When the fabric pieces arrive in the mail, simply sew them together and fill with stuffing or a pillow form.

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Rock the Block

pillows

Make these color-block pillows for a look that's right on trend. First, sketch a simple design on a square piece of kraft paper, then use those shapes as a template to trace and cut fabric to size. Stitch the shapes together and press the seams open. Cut the back of the pillow cover from solid-color fabric. Stitch the front and back pieces, right sides facing, leaving a small opening. Turn the right sides out, press, and stuff with a pillow form. Whipstitch the opening closed.

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Stitch It Up

tree pillow

An embroidered design elevates this plain pillow from blah to beautiful. With its spindly form and distinctive blooms, the sarsaparilla plant comes to life in textural crewel stitches. Trace your pattern onto the center of the front of the pillow and follow the outline with embroidery thread. Choose thread colors that will match or accent your other decor.

Click here to download the pattern.

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Map Quest

Pillow Map

Tap into your wanderlust with a pillow featuring a vintage-look map. Find an image from an old atlas, a map of your favorite city, or your dream destination. Scan the image, or find free clip art online. Use editing software to create a mirror image of the map, then use an ink-jet printer and print it onto iron-on transfer paper. Following the package instructions, iron the image onto light-colored linen fabric. Peel away the transfer backing to reveal the image. Use heat-set tape to adhere the accent onto a pillow.

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In the Pocket

pillow

A pocket sewn onto the front of a plain throw pillow transforms the object into a sneaky storage space. Perfect for kids' rooms and playrooms, the pocket can be used to store journals, books, and other small items. For a seamless look, use matching fabrics for the pocket and the pillow.

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Masterful Mix

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Cover a throw pillow with a patchwork of old feed sacks to pep up the personality of a neutral-color sofa. Scour thrift shops and secondhand stores to find the sacks, and use a sewing machine to adhere them together. To strike a pleasing balance, pair the vintage-look pillow with throws in modern prints.

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Initial This

pillow

Since felted textiles don't fray, they're perfect for cutout shapes and embellishments, like this pretty monogram. Cut initials from a felted wool sweater and secure them to a wool-felt pillow. Simply stitch the letters onto the pillow—and if you have a seat cover made from a cable-knit sweater, it will pair expertly with the felted pillow.

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Personal Touch

A pillow

A monogram adds a homemade touch to a plain pillow. Use felt, or another easy-to-sew fabric, to create the monogram. (This pillow, placed on a kid's bed, features a simple circle and a large letter, but the sky's the limit when it comes to creativity.) Affix the monogram to the center of the pillow using fabric glue.

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Dimensional Dots

dot pillow

Put a chair or a sofa in the spotlight with this modern-looking pillow. Layer felt circles and stitch them to the pillow front through the centers to create a graphic, lively look. Switch the direction of the seams to create another layer of dimension and texture.

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Color Correction

Bright pillows

Sew pillow covers from secondhand-store fabrics and old T-shirts to get a look that's as easy to update as your changing design tastes. Choose patterns and colors to present a look that's undeniably "you." Use a neutral sofa and wall color to create a blank canvas for the collection of colorful throws.

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Rain or Shine

pillows

To create an object that's both sturdy and stylish, cloak an outdoor pillow in a waterproof cover made from an old rain jacket. Trim the rain-jacket fabric to pillow size and sew the front and back pieces together. Leave the zipper and pockets intact to hint at the cover's previous life.

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Easy Does It

pillows

Carefree, comfortable, durable—what more could you ask from outdoor furnishings? Deck-friendly choices, like these outdoor pillows, stand up to summer weather, while remaining fun and fresh. Construct the pillows using outdoor fabrics (you might even want to consider some laminated fabrics) and sew them to fit standard-size pillow forms.

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Pillows with Fringe

Green and yellow pillows with ruffles and pleats.

Give store-bought pillows three-dimensional appeal with pleated edges and cute ruffles. Dress up a solid-color throw with ruffles down the center. Give a circular pillow a floral look with stacked ruffles. Add pizzazz to a square pillow with tiny ruffles around the edges.

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From Scarves to Accent Pillows

Two accent pillows made from repurposed scarves

To turn a colorful scarf into a fun accent pillow, add fusible interfacing to the reverse of the scarf. For the pillow back, cut a piece of fabric the same size, adding one inch to the width. Cut the back piece in half widthwise. Hem a long edge 1/2-inch under on each half. Place the back halves on a work surface, right-side-up, with the hemmed edges touching. Layer the scarf, right side down, so the right sides of front and back are touching. Stitch the pieces together around the outside edges, creating a pillow cover with a hemmed opening in the back. Turn the cover right-side-out and insert a pillow form through the opening. To add a flange, topstitch 2-1/2 inches from the outer edges.

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