Writing left handed

Weekend Project: The Quickest, Cheapest Throw Pillows Ever

I added a bench seat (which I painted and reupholstered, then made pillows to match).

Did you know cloth napkins make great pillows? No? Well, they do. In fact, napkins make pretty much the EASIEST pillows ever. And you can buy them from your local thrift shop and give your living room a makeover in about an hour with minimal sewing.

(We love minimal sewing, don’t we?)

Of course, you could instead buy these:

El Salvador Sunday 026Or these:

El Salvador Sunday 028

Or these:

El Salvador Sunday 029

But (correct me if I’m wrong) aren’t pillows supposed to be comfortable and, you know, not covered with pointy objects?

What you’ll need:

  • One pair of cloth napkins for each pillow you want to make (you can use matching napkins or contrasting colors for front and back)
  • Throw pillows or batting (these are usually pretty cheap at Ikea)
  • Sewing supplies
pillow 2

I used one cheap Ikea pillow, cut in half and sewn shut to keep the stuffing from falling out, to make two smaller throw pillows.


What you do:

  1. Select two cloth napkins for each pillow. Leave one as it (this will be the front of your pillow). Cut the other in half (this will be the back).
  2. Lay the front-of-the-pillow-napkin face up so that the side you don’t want to see is against your work surface. Take your two back-of-the-pillow pieces and swap them, right for left. Now, instead of two pieces with raw edges in the middle, the raw edges will be on the outside and the hemmed edges will be together in the middle.

    pillow 3

    The seam going across the middle is the original seem from the outer edge of the napkin.

  3. Pin the two pillow back pieces to the pillow front piece. It is best to overlap the back seams (which are already sewn because you’re using the hemmed edges of the napkins) by about one inch.
  4. Sew the edges of your pillows together.
  5. Trim the corners so they don’t pucker when you turn your pillow right side out.
  6. Tuck your pillows into your cases and voila! You’re done. And because your cases have an opening in that back that is already hemmed, you can remove the pillows and throw the cases in the wash anytime you want.
    Here's the back

    Here’s the back

    And here's the front!

    And here’s the front!

    pillow 5

    And here is the pair of them, for once not covered in laundry.


9 Responses to “Weekend Project: The Quickest, Cheapest Throw Pillows Ever”

  1. landlord no longer

    They came out really cute, and YES pillows are supposed to be comfy and wedgeable, I don’t understand the ones made in burlap, or other scratchy decorations, ugh and the prices are ridiculous, and many can’t be washed because of the ornamental. UGH

    • Kat Richter

      Yeah, the seashell and burlap is just ridiculous. Can you imagine falling asleep on one of those? You’d wake up with waffle skin and conch shell impressions on your head!


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