Saturday, December 31, 2011

RePurposed: Blouse To Pillow

I was fortunate growing up to be very close with my grandma.  We spent a lot of time together.  I did a lot of watching and helping as we made tons of things with fabric, yarn, glue, sewing name it, we probably made it. 

I inherited a bunch of her clothes that no longer fit her to use as costumes for a theater production I was working on.  Most of them were very pretty, having fancy lace collars and other decorative elements.  It just so happened that we didn't use them and I found myself still having them in my possession after she passed away.  I grabbed the bag full of these blouses one day and opened it up.  They still smelled like her and I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of them.  I thought long and hard about what I could do with the blouses to make sentimental keepsakes, rather than leave them closed up in a bag.  It finally hit me to turn them into decorative pillow cases.

That year I turned three of those blouses into pillows for my mother for Christmas.  Two of them are pictured below.  I saved a few blouses to make pillows for myself.  You can see one of them in the instructions posted here.  This turned out to be a great way to make good use out of something near and dear to us.  The project requires basic sewing skills.  If you wish to have pillows like this made but can't sew, it's worth asking a friend for help to get them made.  You'll be glad you did.

Pillow form
Sewing machine
Measuring tape or ruler

  •  First determine the size/measurements of your pillow form.  I add one inch to the lengh and width of my form to determine the size I need to cut my fabric (or blouse in this case).
    • If the blouse you are using is a button up you will need to sew down the center to keep the blouse closed once it has been sewn into a pillow case.

  • Pin the blouse across the top of the general area you think you will be cutting.  This allows you to make one cut through the blouse, cutting the top and bottom piece at one time.
  • Carefully measure and cut the blouse to the size needed to cover your pillow form.  You may want to make a pattern or template out of a material like cardboard or poster board. 
    • For example:  My pillow form was 14"x14" so I cut my blouse into a 15"x15" square.

  • Once cut, turn your two pieces inside out and pin together along the top edge.  When sewing a pillow case you always want to sew the front and back piece facing one another.
  • Begin sewing your two pieces together about a half an inch in from the edge of the fabric.  Start at one corner and work your way around to about halfway on the fourth side.
    • NOTE  It is very important to leave an ample opening on the fourth side (the bottom) so that you are able to push the pillow form thru.  I typically sew the last side too far closed because I'm not paying enough attention.  LOL
  • After sewing, trim off the four corners by rounding them off with the scissors.  I also trim around the entire piece so that the seems aren't too bulky once turned inside out.

  • Turn your piece inside out, revealing the front side of the blouse/pillow
  • Carefully stuff the pillow form through the opening at the bottom and into the form.  You'll need to manuever the corners around and into place.

  • You'll need to close up the opening once you've got your pillow form in and situated.  This part can be a little tricky but isn't impossible.  Some people fold over the opening in towards one another and simply stitch it close by hand with a needle and thread.  I'm not quite as particular about it (since it's on the bottom side) so I usually pin the opening together and sew it closed on the machine. 

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