How To: Make Recycled Inside Out Pillows

created on: 11/06/08

My Recycled Inside Out Throw Pillow ensemble are handily made out of shirts, jackets or skirts that either button up the front or have a long zipper closure.  The beauty of this is that there's no need to handstitch a pillow closed or insert a zipper or add buttons or buttonholes.  Look for modern patterns and stylish color combinations while shopping for "vintage" and I mean CHEAP used apparel that you can easily transform.  

The only requirement is that you can sew relatively straight lines and that you have some flair for choosing patterns and colors.

What you need:

  • vintage garments
  • pillow pattern
  • chalk
  • straight pins
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • stuffing for your pillows

What you do:

1.  Wash all garments before starting

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2.  Turn garment inside out

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3.  Place pattern on garment and chalk around the pattern

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4. Pin top and bottom together and cut out pillow pieces.

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5.  Stitch around pillow cover at a 1/2" seam allowance

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6.  Remove pins, clip corners and turn pillow cover right side out

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7.  Fill pillow cover with your Perfect Pillow Form

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Button up and place on your sofa.

Also, here are a few photos of a side zippered linen shell turned into a zebra lumbar pillow.

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Nice new trio for the Thanksgiving guests.

created on: 11/06/08


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ModHomeEcTeacher on Jul 07, 2009:

Julie-Thanks so much for your story. I was so happy it helped you. I'd love to see photos of the new room. I still use that zebra pillow in my living room right here: 


Julie Y on Jul 07, 2009:

Thank you so much for these directions! I am as uncrafty as can be, but am trying to makeover my daughter's bedroom in a Hawaiian theme. I bought a Hawaiian shirt from Goodwill ($4.99) and a friend brought over her 7 yo daughter's $10 sewing machine. I made the pillow cover and buttoned it over a throw pillow my dog had nipped. I don't know which is more fun -- looking at the pillow, or seeing the shocked faces of my kids when they found out I had actually made it. If I can do this, anyone can!

ModHomeEcTeacher on Jun 16, 2009:

I know. I'm still using these pillows. I love the sweater one and the ladies zebra top turned pillow.

Denise on Jun 16, 2009:

Love this idea!  I live in an RV much of the time.  Even though every square inch of space is a consideration, I do like to change decor with seasons, events, or even to go with the new area we are in. (Currently in San Joaquin valley and have a mix of wine and olive motifs in sage, gold, and purple accents.)  Pillows are lightweight but take up a lot of room, so I reuse the same pillows, just changing the pillow covers. I loathe zippers and buttonholes but they are a necessity when you change the covers regularly - this is BRILLIANT!  (PS How cool would this idea be if you hav animals that lay around on your upholstery?)

ModHomeEcTeacher on Nov 14, 2008:

livyschoolgirl-thanks. Isn't it great not having to finish the edges? It's like a miracle!! Ha!

livyschoolgirl on Nov 11, 2008:

That is sooo sneaky! I LOVE it! Now I have a way to recyle old clothes and save myself the trouble of sewing on buttons or zippers. Thanks for sharing, wonderful ideas! :)

ModHomeEcTeacher on Nov 07, 2008:

I know. I did that green cable knit turtleneck but it was sooo stretchy.

DIY Maven on Nov 07, 2008:

How about felting old wool sweaters before making the slipcovers? That'd be cool too.

dewonangus on Nov 06, 2008:

This is great!  All the posts ... pillow patterns, forms and recycling garments into pillows.  Thanks.  I wish I was farther ahead with my unpacking, painting, etc.   So many ideas now running through my head and before you know it out will come the Christmas decorations.  So many projects and so little time!!!

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