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Secrets – Sew Pillows From Recycled Clothing

Pillow Throw Decor Morph Project

Hmmm... Decorative Throw Pillows?

Ugly,  recycled clothing on  thrift store mannequins really inspire me.  I can sew pillows from almost anything and have it look absolutely amazing.  My middle name should be “MORPH” because I love artistic furniture and textile repurposing.

Anyone can cannibalize  an article of clothing  and use only the best little  bits.  However, it takes skill and ingenuity  to  recycle almost every square inch.  Here are the “crumbs” left over from this  ugly shirt that I showed you in my last recycling  project… the Fish Finder Case .

recycling fabric

Fabric crumbs from repurposed clothing

That article was about repurposing a leather case for snow skis into a case for Dear Husband’s  fishing equipment.  Make sure you sign up as a reader so you won’t miss my next few articles where I’ll be showing you even more of my tricks and tips … incorporating shoulder pads, arm holes and even collars into too cute girly pillows!

Here are the foundation secrets I’ve developed in designing decorative pillows for  my “Luxe and Found” Pillow Collection.

  1. When shopping, check garment labels, for manufacturer and cleaning instructions.  I prefer to redesign upscale or unusual items like these Versace Couture jeans. I want to be informed about the quality of the item I am going to invest a lot of time into.
  2. Wash the item you are going to morph using some bleach for disinfectant. I don’t mind a few germs but I want to be reassured they are only mine.
  3. Pick 2 or 3  complimentary fabrics or embellishments that can be incorporated into the design. Odds are… an ugly blouse will be an ugly pillow if you don’t do something to enhance the fabric.
  4. Deconstruct by carefully opening seams. Ripping fabric will stretch it and often pull it off grain.  Just cutting the seams open will be a good reason to kick yourself when you find out you are 1/2 inch short on a pillow panel.
  5. Examine every square inch for wear, holes, burns, tears, cuts, stains because that will be another good reason to kick yourself for not seeing a food stain on the front pillow panel as you are about to stuff the pillow insert in.
  6. Plan on lining your pieces using lining or a napped sateen to line and interline in one step.  Garment fabric is usually a lot lighter and stretchier than home fashion fabric.  Also blouse fronts  may be stretched off grain from size 38 boobs stuffed into a size 36 space.
  7. I glue baste my lining pieces to the face fabric before sewing them. Many garment pieces are cut on the bias and stretch out of control under the presser foot when constructing the pillow cover.  Also it keeps fabric from puckering in places like the zipper and welted edges.

Stay tuned there’s lots of other tips and tricks to come!  Keep checking back to see this collection of 12 fabulous decorative pillows all from this “ugly shirt”.  By the way have you remembered to sign up for the weekly pillow giveaway.

Decorative Pillows from upcycled clothing

One of a collection of 12 amazing decorative pillows

6 comments… add one
  • sonic July 3, 2010, 2:45 am

    Yay – It's a hat scarf!! The pillow hurts my eyes a bit though, haha.

  • PillowThrowDecor July 3, 2010, 12:59 pm

    I had so much fun with this project! I will be posting more pictures and how to's later today that will work for any ugly shirt 🙂

  • Diane July 6, 2010, 8:09 pm

    I'm just learning to make pillows and really appreciate your tutorials. Are you going fabric shopping in Paris??

  • PillowThrowDecor July 7, 2010, 4:07 am

    Wow… shopping in Paris would be so much fun… for fabric or anything. In Germany this week and yes checking out window fashion and home decor accessories.

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