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Pillow Talk

I have been desperately craving pillows for my outdoor swing.  Something like this or this.  However, with prices in the $20-$30 mark, these are definitely outside my budget, especially for something that is essentially useless.  This craving is one of pure decadence.  After all, do I really need to spend money on a pillow that, in all likelihood, is going to be forgotten in the rain or pooped on by a bird?  No, I do not.  But all of my rational thinking was not making this craving go away.  What’s a girl to do?  Put on her thinking cap, that’s what.  This is where Big Bear enters the picture.

This is Big Bear, aptly named because he is a giant teddy bear.  He came to us by way of an after-Christmas sale at the grocery store and my then two year-old daughter’s big smile upon seeing Big Bear.  He was marked down to $5.00 and I relented.  He was much loved and played with, but as you can see from the picture above, he’s seen much better days.  Recently my now almost 13 year-old daughter drug him downstairs to the basement and announced she was done with him.  I got to thinking about all that stuffing coming out of his neck.  It occurred to me that pillows are made out of stuffing.  That’s when the wheels started turning.

I thought about outdoor pillows and the need for them to be waterproof, or sort of waterproof if you’re doing this on the fly. I contemplated this for a bit and thought about ziplock bags.  What if I stuffed ziplock bags full of Big Bear stuffing and made plastic “waterproof” pillow forms?  Viola!

So far, so good.

I have a bunch of fabric that I bought several years ago for some outdoor cushions.  The fabric was on clearance, I had a coupon and the fabric lady cut me a deal for taking the rest of the bolt, so I got it for a song.  I must have 3-4 yards of this stuff left.   It’s not outdoor fabric, which was fine for the cushions since they were in a covered spot.  I thought about it for unsheltered pillows and decided that since it’s free for me now,  I really don’t care if the fabric is outdoor fabric.  These are to satisfy a craving and, therefore, can fall under the category of  slightly disposable.  Plus, since I made removable covers, they can always be washed/dried if need be.

I set about making the pillow covers.  I measured my ziplock pillow forms and found them to be around 10X10.  Not huge, but decent enough size for the swing.  I cut one piece of fabric 12X12 and two pieces of fabric for the back 12X9.

I folded the edge of  the 12″ side of  one of the back pieces of fabric and stitched it down.  I did the same with the other back piece of fabric and pinned the two back pieces of fabric, overlapping, to the front piece so I could stitch them all together.  This creates an envelope-style of pillow cover.

Yes, this is commando sewing.  I didn’t finish my edges, iron anything or even clip my threads.  Like I said, this was all about satisfying a craving.  When I finished stitching around the entire pillow cover, I flipped it inside-out and was pleasantly surprised.

I inserted my pillow form and did a happy dance.

Then I repeated the process to make another and took them outside to my swing.

This did it!  This satisfied my craving and I didn’t spend a dime.  I think they look pretty good and add the pop of color I was looking for.

Here are easy to follow instructions:

1. Choose a pillow size. My pillow insert is 10″ x 10″.

2. Cut the fabric for the pillow cover. You’ll need three pieces to make the cover – one front piece and two back pieces. The front piece will need to be 2″ larger than your pillow – for my 10″ pillow I cut a front piece that is 12″ x 12″. The two back pieces will need to be as wide as the front piece and long enough so that they will overlap. In my case, the back pieces are 12″w and 9 “long.

3. For the two back pieces, fold the fabric approximately 1⁄2″ along the long side of the fabric, then fold it over again and pin it. Next, sew this hem. I didn’t do this with my outdoor pillows but I would take the extra step if I were making indoor pillows just to give it a more finished edge.

4. Pin the two back pieces, inside out, to the front piece. Make sure the sewn seam of the two back pieces overlap in the middle of the pillow.

5. Sew around the outer seam with a 1⁄2″ seam allowance.

6. Turn the pillow sham right side out then stuff with the pillow insert.

That’s it!

What about you?  Have you had cravings for things you can’t afford, or can’t justify spending the money on, and found creative ways to get what you want without breaking the bank?


About sugarshellandbutterknife

I am a work-at-home mother of two, daughter K who is 16 and son N who is 12. I live in a 1956 mid-mod ranch with my children and the love of my life, J. We're slowly renovating our house on a budget and love all things DIY. I hope to make this a place where frugal-minded folks like myself can exchange ideas, gain inspiration and find encouragement to tackle whatever life throws our way.

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