Make Homemade Pillows with Repurposed Fabric

Reader Contribution by Ronique Gibson
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It seems like almost every day we come across old clothes that don’t fit, window treatments that are worn-out or fabric swatches that we just toss in the trash. In the spirit of spring renewal, why not take those tired textiles and transform them into something new?

Repurposed pillow covers are an easy way to wake up your stale sofa and chairs, not to mention they offer a second life to household items that normally would have ended up in a dumpster. Here’s how to repurpose your castoff fabrics into fun, fresh pillow and cushion covers.

Add Contrast to Existing Throw Pillows

After winter ends, bringing brighter spring colors into your decor helps boost your spirits and brings a springtime vibe to your furniture. Take a tour through your closets, linen closet, and attic to dig through fabric, sheets and clothes you no longer wear. Don’t forget about consignment and thrift shops, too.

For this pillow (above), I used jute mesh fabric left over from a DIY project last year and used it to brighten my brown chair cushions. I simply measured out the fabric around the pillow, then used safety pins to secure the material on the back. You can also sew or use a hot glue gun if your fabric is lightweight. This will enable you to quickly slip the pillow in and out of the fabric when the season changes.

Add Texture with a Cable-Knit Sweater


You may be putting your sweaters away for the season, but consider keeping a few out for your decor. I found a horizontal throw pillow to add visual interest to my chair and inserted the pillow inside of my old sweater. Rather than using the front of the sweater, I selected one of the sleeves, so the cable knit had varying patterns. Simply cut off the extra sweater material and use a fabric glue, such as Fabri-Tac, that quickly dries in place. Instead of gluing both ends of the pillow, I cuffed the sweater arm on one side so the pillow can be removed at any time.

Long-Sleeved Shirts with Embellishments for No-Sew Covers

Believe it or not, there are many “no-sew” alternatives to creating repurposed pillow covers. Use long-sleeved flannel shirts, sweatshirts, and sweaters with creative embellishments to give your pillows a funky look.

I “borrowed” one of my husband’s sweaters that had a great zipper, and simply wrapped it around a pillow. By tucking the hem underneath and tying the sleeves into a knot in the front, I created a quirky new cover — no cutting or sewing required. This is a great idea if you’re hosting a party and need to give your home a boost of color and creativity without spending a lot of money and hours in a home decor store. You could take these one step further and attach buttons, sequins, lace, and ribbon for a dressier pillow cover.

I love the rustic yet casual look of these three repurposed pillows. They were easy to create, and I cleared some room in our overly crowded closets!

Ronique Gibson is a LEED AP certified design expert and associate architect who hasworked in the interior design field for over 17 years. Ronique writes about home sustainability topics like this one about repurposing pillows for Shutterfly. Other creative pillow ideas can be foundonline at the Shutterfly website.

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