new from old ::: throw pillows

Ever since I got married, I’ve kept clippings from magazines of house and home decorating ideas.  Through the years I have come to discover that a beautiful fabric can inspire my homemaker instincts like nothing else.  Things like bedding, curtains, kitchen towels, table clothes, and throw pillows in gorgeous, unique material help to make a house a home.

My journals and pinterest boards include many images of rooms containing favorite home linens, and with these images in mind, I have learned to keep a look out for ways to bring the things I love to life, for my own home.

Favorite places to shop include thrift stores and antique shops.  Almost every weekend I duck into the local shops to see what they have, and almost always come away with something.   I can find linens quite regularly, at wonderfully low prices.  Each season brings new ideas and collections.  At times I have searched for handmade crocheted doilies.  Last summer it was pillowcases with embroidery,  a few years ago, vintage tablecloths were what got my heart to thumping.

Now that I have plenty of those particular items, my newest passion has developed into throw pillows.  This winter I made one using scraps of old patchwork pieces that I found at a second hand store.

Today I made three more, using three quilt blocks that I bought for 3 dollars a piece at an antique store.  On that same day, I also found some vintage Waverly fabric, and another piece of green and pink material that I thought would make good backings for the pillows.  I paid less than 20 dollars for everything, and I absolutely love to use another (mystery) person’s beginning work to complete a finished product.  It’s rather ridiculously easy to sew a simple pillow using someone else’s quilt block.  I haven’t done it, but many crafters will cut up old quilts (that have age problems, stains, or holes) to repurpose them into something new.


The next time you go to a thrift shop, rummage through the bins for fabric.  Pull out anything that catches your eye and pay attention to your reaction to the piece, do you love it?  It you love it, buy it!

Whenever I find myself running low on stuffing for the pillows, I place another order online and have it shipped to my door.  In this way, I avoid the temptation of yet another store.

The fun is saving money while making something unique and beautiful.  I have such joy when I spend next to nothing, especially when pillows (or what have you) at department stores cost anywhere between 10-50 dollars, depending on quality.

Through the years I have gathered everything that I need to for sewing: a machine from Sears, good scissors, pins and pincushion, and so on.  I keep my things out on a table in my bedroom, ready to use.

Once you have gathered enough things to make a pretty pillow, wash the fabric on delicate cycle in your washing machine, or wash by hand in the sink.  Hang them on the clothesline to dry in the fresh air.

Unfortunately, you will indeed have to iron the fabric after it dries.  If you play music or whistle as you iron, it’s not as terrible.

Pin the back to the front wrong side out, and sew carefully around the edge, leaving a space big enough in which to stuff the pillow.

Turn it right side out and stuff according to personal preference.  I prefer to sink into my pillows rather than bounce off them, so I stuff mine lightly.

Sew the hole shut, and snip off any long threads.   Now you have a simple but lovely pillow *or two or three* to scatter across your bed.

I kept my project very simple, but you can be as creative as you wish, with trims and so on.


My daughter helped me with color combinations, and during the first pillow, I gave my son a sewing-maching lesson.






I love how this blue and pink pillow was quilted in such similar fabrics, it has the effect of a kaleidoscope.






The navy blue fabric was the “Waverly bonded fabric in Harvest Moon”,  I have enough left to do something else with it, too.




Made up bed with the whole collection of throw pillows.  The bedspread is (the back of) a Garnet Hill quilt.

The pillow on the very far left is the first one I made using found quilt pieces.

14 thoughts on “new from old ::: throw pillows

  1. They’re beautiful. I love this idea! We have so many antique stores in this area, and now I’m eager to go out looking for quilt pieces to make one of these. 🙂 Actually, I can’t wait to just go exploring these antique places just for the fun of it! Who knows what I might find?

  2. We are very much the same in the respect of our homes:). I need alot of help tho lol im certainly no designer. I like greys and blues and creams. We do have spice and browns as well. I cannot sew anything whatsoever but can crochet blankets. I love thrift stores and antiques over malls. I truly love old things.
    I loved reading this!:)

    • Thanks Christina, yes the old things are what I like, too, and although I don’t spend much time doing handiwork of my own, when I do get the “itch” to do it, it’s so satisfying!

  3. “You have a little addiction issue with throw pillows”….says my husband who doesn’t appreciate them! I mean is 14 pillows on a bed THAT big of a deal? 😉
    I’ve tapered it down to 12! 🙂

    I LOVE the pillows you made. You did a great job! I love how it made your bed look. Pillows make such a cozy difference.
    My mom made copycat Pottery Barn pillows for me at Christmas…I love them! You can’t tell the difference!

    I always love seeing the projects you do around your home.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Thursday.

  4. These are so sweet and colorful! You did such a beautiful job on them all, Shanda! I need to get busy on the projects that I’ve had planned for quite some time … I found an old quilt back at an antique store that I want to make a shower curtain out of, and I’ve been needing to make some cafe curtains for my kitchen, too. I kind of lost the desire to sew because of some things our family’s been walking through lately, but I must say, you have inspired me! Maybe it’s just what I need! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: Kid Pillows | Things I Make

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