From Placemat to Pillow


Once upon a yard sale, I found this charming yellow place mat.

placemat

It was love at first sight.

The only problem?  There was just one.  (Don’t you hate that?)

Still, I had to have it, and when I brought it home I tossed in my “PILLOW FABRIC” pile.

Shrunken sweaters, scraps of old quilts, hand towels–when a piece of cloth catches my eye, it goes straight into the fabric pile…which just so happens to be right next to my  “MAKE-OVER-PILLOW” pile.

My reasoning behind all this pillow madness is money.  I mean, why spend upwards of $20 on something that is easy enough to make yourself?  (Use that money to pay for something you can’t do easily yourself, like, cut your own hair.)

And so I am always on the hunt for fabric and throw pillows.

The best place to find inexpensive pillows?  Yard sales.  But not just any yard sale.  I only buy throw pillows from people I know very well.  I will not buy a pillow from a stranger because that’s just yuck.  (Unless that stranger seems to have good grooming and housekeeping habits.)

I also save white pillow cases and sheets to use as pillow liners.  (Because sometimes, you just need an extra layer of defense.)

This whole saving-piles-of-this-and-that may seem a bit chaotic, but if you love DIY, you’ll be pleased with the results.

I know I am.

pillowcomplete1

HOW TO TRANSFORM A PLACE MAT INTO A PILLOW

Step #1: Choose a place mat that has two layers of fabric.

placemat

Step #2: Choose a pillow that will fit relatively snug inside the place mat.

pinkpillow

Step #3: Sew a liner for your pillow.

This step is optional, but it really improves the finished look.  In this case, the pillow I used was hot pink and black; colors that were very noticeable behind the yellow fabric of the place mat.

Making a pillow liner is a cinch, especially if you have an old pillow case (I prefer to use white ones).

-Turn your pillowcase inside out.  Slide your pillow into the corner of the case.  By doing this you will only have to worry about sewing two seams instead of four.

pillowcase

-To create the other seams, pin the pillow case together along the longest side the pillow. 

pinlining

-Remove the pillow from the pillowcase and, with a sewing machine, stitch up the seam you just pinned.  Cut away excess fabric, leaving a half-inch border along the seam.

-Turn pillowcase right-side-out and place pillow back inside.

-Pin the second seam together and neatly stitch it up by hand.  Cut away the excess fabric, leaving a half-inch border along the seam.

And ta-da!  Pillow liner is done.

pillowlined

Step #4: Open up a side seam on your place mat.

openseam

Step #5: Work the pillow into the place mat and smooth out the fabric.  (not shown)

Step #6: Neatly stitch the seam back up.

stitchpillowup

And there you have it, a charming pillow that cost you a bit of loose change and a few spare minutes.

Aren’t you clever?  🙂

pillowtop

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Find inspiration for your whole house at Pancakes and French Fries‘ weekly William Morris Project!

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12 thoughts on “From Placemat to Pillow

  1. I made a sweater pillow and it Looked great!
    I wish I could be a full time yard sale junkie and redesign work……do they get insurance, benefits and retirment plan????????

    • Ha! It would be so fun to yard sale with you, Vivi. You have the energy I need to keep going, keep looking. I currently have a sweater pillow in the works. So excited to see how it turns out!

  2. I just found your blog from P&F. I love a fellow scrap saver. I learned from the best (my mom), and I think I have the same battenburg lace scrap you do! Very clever creation!

    • Isn’t battenburg lace the best? Ok, so was your mom’s scrap pile out of control? Momma had scraps of all kinds and since I shared a room with her sewing machine, I was constantly trying to contain them. haha But she, like your mom, taught me to be resourceful. Thanks for reading! Will have to check out your site.:)

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