Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Seasonal pillows for a fraction of the price!

Yep. I did it again. And I'm blogging about it…again. It's too good not to -- I won't stop till every one of you is making pillows from placemats and runners and all kinds of random linens. Will. not. stop. 

This is probably the 125th time I've shared this trick but it's good people. It saves me so much money every year. The investment is in my time, but I'm so quick at these now it doesn't take long at all. 

So, as always this time of year, I was ogling the Pottery Barn pillows in the catalog. They are so pretty, just so FALL. I'm just now starting to get into the thought of decorating for fall -- I've been purging so much and our house has been so clean and "light" feeling and I don't want to add much to it. 

I like seasonal decor that can be used more than a couple weeks and that's easy to put away. These always fit both of those criteria. OH, and cheap. Also checks that one off. 

So again, I'm loving the fall pillows and wanting them but they are like $30+ each for just the pillow covers. When I want one, sure. When I want a bunch, no way. Like years past, I started looking at other ways to make the look happen. 

I found this runner at Marshall's (they have similar ones at TJ Maxx and HomeGoods too) and my diabolical plan starting coming together: 
pillows out of table runners
I've done this before with runners, but for more of a lumbar pillow. This one had four designs, two longer ones and two at the end that were more square. I loved that they were embroidered -- something that makes them look a little more expensive.

Here's what I did: 
making pillows out of a table runner
I measured from each end to make sure the design was centered. I cut them out (making sure to leave as much extra as possible on the sides). For those at the end of each side of the runner, if I left it as it was I would have had to hand sew the top part of the pillow. I wanted that to be the cleaner end so I took my seam ripper and opened up the bottom, then sewed the top part shut with the machine. Does that make sense? Otherwise the top would have been hand sewn and I wanted to avoid that where you would see it. 

I only had to sew up one side of each one with the machine and one end by hand. I used a very simple stitch that will be easy to open up later so I can reuse the pillow forms. 

For these I used the down pillows from Target I showed you here. They are super squishy which is good because these are smaller pillows. This runner was only 14 inches wide -- I knew they'd be smaller which was fine with me. Keep your eye out because there are tons of runners that are much wider. 

I may have squealed out loud when I started stuffing them with the inserts: 
pillows made from a table runner
I mean, come ON. That's adorable. A.DOR.ABLE. 

I freaking love them!: 
seasonal pillows using table linens
The runner was $13 and the inserts were about $7 if I remember right. I already had them so each one was about $3 for me. Remember the insert can be used over and over again -- I remove my covers and change them out a lot.

My oldie but goodie happened again too. You knew it would.

I loved these PB pillows:
Pottery Barn pumpkin pillow knock off
So I did some digging and found some super cute Pottery Barn napkins that had the same look, and some cute plaid ones with the same colors: 
napkin pillows
These were on sale so I got eight napkins for about $45. To me that's a lot for eight napkins -- but it's SUPER good for eight pillows. 

By the way, I found this runner at Marshall's that looks SO similar to the PB napkins and pillows: 
watercolor fall table runner
Usually I'll just put two napkins together and make them the same on both sides. I wanted to make these really stretch so I used some duck cloth I had as the backing. 

I just traced the napkins and cut out the cloth: 
making pillows using napkins
You face the good side of the napkin in, sew up three sides, then turn it back right side out and stuff. 

I'm so quick at pillows now it only takes maybe five minutes for me to do each one. I will tell you -- I'm not an excellent sewer. Far from it. But pillows don't have to be perfect, thankfully. Most fabrics are very forgiving.

I used the inserts I already had in the pillows on the sofa and then sewed up the last side: 
knock off Pottery Barn pillows
Because I had the inserts these cost me less than $6 each. 


I love the more muted tones for this season. So pretty: 
Pottery Barn pillows for cheap!
I pulled out the knit covers as well and all the sudden the house is feeling so cozy: 
fall pillow knock offs using napkins
It's supposed to hit mid-80's again tomorrow but after that I think we're home free. I'll want to pull more fall stuff out when I know it's going to cool down for good. I'm so looking forward to it -- this past weekend was such a nice tease. 

I'll have these out for more than two months and I'll use them year after year so that's worth it to me. And this method is WAY cheaper, especially if you want a bunch of them! It was funny because I told the employee at PB what I do with the napkins and she did the same. Love it. ;) You can see how I did the same with fall placemats last year here

Adding the fall colors around our home this time of year makes me so happy. This is the start to my favorite few months of the year!:
using napkins to make seasonal pillows
Have you tried this decor trick yet? If you aren't comfortable with a sewing machine ask around -- if you have the materials ready to go it will literally take minutes for a friend who sews to put them together. I know the sewing machine is intimidating -- but it's not that bad, I promise! Once you get the hang of it you'll be whipping out napkin pillows left and right! :)

Go get yourself some napkins! Kitchen towels! Shower curtains! You can make pillows out of whatever textile you love.


  1. OMG ..... further than that I am speechless with your ingenuity !!!

    Bravo !

  2. I love the pumpkin fabric! Gorgeous! :)

  3. Of course you did!! So smart, Sarah! I gave the runner I got away as a gift and went back to get more...gone!! I should have bought them all when I had a chance. Oh well, gives me an excuse to keep checking ;)

  4. This is an awesome idea, thanks for sharing and I think it would be worthwhile to add a zipper at the end so that its less work when changing out the pillow inserts. Now to dust off the sewing machine and give it a try!

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  6. Britany and I appreciate your project. Super smart thinking and any project that great is worth sharing over and over again.

  7. I love the prints on those napkins, what a great find! I found some great clearance placemats at Target this spring that I turned into pillows! It's such an easy project and so much less expensive than buying new pillows all the time.

  8. DROOLING! So smart. Love the look for less...way less, haha! Love the white knit pillow too. Is that one a pillow cover you made before? And is the bench in the third photo new? I don't remember seeing it before and love it too! Great job!!

    1. Thank you! I got it a few months ago from HG. Love it!

  9. I do this all the time thanks to you! FYI for those of you that don't have a sewing machine (like me). I use stitch witchery and hot glue. You can't even tell!

    1. I have heard that from a couple people now! Good to know, I'll share that!

  10. Just lovely! BUT where did you get that bench????

  11. These are the CUTEST & most festive pillows & BTW you're GENIUS!! Thanks for sharing blogger friend!


  12. I also do this all the time now thanks to you! I have some pretty ones all ready to do for Christmas right now (got them on sale at Target last year).

  13. So CUTE!! I've been doing this for awhile as well .. once I abandoned zippers and Velcro and started doing the envelope style it got REAL easy! Best things about it, as I think you alluded to, are #1: always having the much more lovely feather inserts rather than the more common "polyfill" and #2: having only flat cases rather than tons of inserts to store for each design's "off-season"!

  14. What did you use to close the opening for it to be a reusable pillowcase? I'm not one to remove stitches for each change.

  15. What did you use to close the opening for it to be a reusable pillowcase? I'm not one to remove stitches for each change.

    1. Just a basic stitch that's easy to take out -- but it looks like I need to learn the envelope pillow!

  16. These pillows are so stinkin' cute! Amazeballs! From a runner? Really? I gotta go to Marshalls or Home Goods right now..... I want fall in my home! You are genius, Sarah! Great project. Thanks for sharing for the umpteenth time!

  17. I do this too! Girl, you are rockin' some pillows! Beautiful!

  18. I use a Velcro strip on that 4th side, which makes swapping out the inserts even easier.

  19. Oh MA word. If ever there was a reason to learn how to sew it's to make pumpkin pillows!! Gotta get on that... maybe by next fall!! (shame!)

  20. If you don't sew or know anyone who will happily and willingly do this for you, you can always bring your fabric to your local cleaners that has someone who does alterations. If you understand the dimensions, you can the cut fabric yourself ahead of time.. If you don't understand sewing dimensions and seam alllowances, just bring the uncut fabric and pillow insert and they will help you. If it helps, you can print out Sarah's directions. Most cleaners charge a very minimal amount for this type of service!

  21. I LOVE this trick and I NEED to try this asap. I'm in desperate need of new pillows on my couch ad some for my bedroom, but I just can't bite the bullet on it yet (so darn expensive). Of course the ones I love and my favorite fabric is all the most expensive ones (this also could be a dangerous trick once I get started hehe). I am no sewer (yet) but I do have a sister in law whose good at that stuff :)

    Thanks for sharing again :)

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  22. Wow, LOVE these!! What a thrifty way to add some fall decor, and I may or may not have a throw pillow obsession, so this is perfect!


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