How to make a pillow (from Dollar Store materials)

Today I will show you how to make a pillow. Now, before everyone decides that this is not the best way to make a pillow, it works for me. I have been sewing since age 8, which is... um... a long time, and I sort of make up my own way to do things, which works. So, this pillow may not have a case that you can take off and toss in the washer or exchange out at your every whim, but I don't need that. This is a basic pillow, for my basic needs.

To start off this project I picked up this mat, yes, an outdoor mat from the Dollar Tree. I actually got two, didn't know what I was going to do with them, but loved the pattern so figured something would come. You don't need a mat to do this. Before I realized I wanted to use this I had decided on making some outdoor pillows for my balcony and went to the store and picked up some great outdoor fabric. It was when I returned home that I found this. So, any fabric will do. (I also like to use old printed t-shirts that aren't worn anymore but would make good decor.)


Next, I cut off the tassels. I know tassels are trending right now, but I am not a tassel girl, so we chopped them. At this step I also decided how big I wanted it, if I was just using one mat or two. And I decided to just go with one folded in half. I also decided to leave the original edges so it is less likely to unravel. I know that by doing this I was sort of stuck with whatever size pillow I came out with in the end, and I was okay with that. There are typical pillow sizes, but I have so many pillows in so many shapes and sizes it just gives interest where a "typical" size can't.


The next step is to sew it right sides together. I have a sewing machine, it use to be my Mothers but since I was really the only one who used it, when I moved out, it came with. I love it, it is a Bernina. If you don't have a machine, but have more patience than me you can sew it by hand. Like I said before I like to make up my own rules. So, this is a straight stitch, the simplest one there is, and I don't worry about seam allowance size, but pick a place and sew. In this case the large seam that was already there made it easy to stay straight because the fabric was too thick to go under the presser foot.

You should have not sewed all of it up but left some space (2"-6", depending on how thick the fabric is, how easy you want to make it to stuff, and how much hand sewing you are in the mood for.)


We then turn it right-side out and admire our work. I don't know why this is so satisfying, but it is. All the lovely seams, all working. The corners all there. Make sure everything looks secure. If not, turn it inside out again and fix it. Don't go on, trust me, it isn't as fun to fix later.


Now, for stuffing we have a couple of options. Options you ask? You see, you could go to the store and buy stuffing, but that could get pricey. Here I have some stuffing (well, sort of - it is actually 'snow fluff' I got from a thrift store, but I could have got it on Christmas clearance.) I also have this lovely blue thing, which is a pillow. One of my coworkers thought she was funny and gave me a pillow her child had drawn all over. It is now in multiple smaller pillows. You can find this type either new in a bed pillow (cheaper than stuffing), at thrift stores, or even pillows you may have already.

Now, we properly stuff the pillow. The blue pillow I got some of this stuffing out of was PACKED with stuffing. You may think, as did I, that surely you don't need that much. But, make sure you are stuffing the pillow overstuffed. I have learned this the hard way in the past. This pillow I have been using for maybe a week now just to lean my head against and it has already swished to about half the size. Just make sure you fill the pillow up nice and full. Squish it around to all the corners and make sure that the edge where you are going to be hand sewing is also full or else you may end up with an empty space.

Now comes the hand sewing part. Now, I wish I could tell you the perfect way to sew it shut, but I have just been working on a trail and error method for so long I am not sure. Just make it look pretty and use kind of tight stitches so it doesn't open up. Here I have used a large needle, and I know some would advise against that, but, I don't care. If you are sewing up delicate fabric use a smaller needle, but I am not sure I would want super delicate pillows. If you do, a tip I just recently got at the store was to line all pillows with denim underneath, little boys have a harder time destroying those.

So, after a little bit of work, and a TV show or two later, we have a pillow for the outdoors! I love this one, so nice and compact, great for resting my head on while chilling outside. Plus, look at that pattern. I love it.


If you aren't in the mood for making your own pillow, I do have some for sale at my Society6 shop. There are throw pillows or floor pillows or rectangular pillows or even outdoor floor cushions. And I would not blame you at all if you used any inside or out.


I hope you get to making your own pillows. I would love to see what you come up with. Tag me on Instragram @thehomeconstructess so I can see.

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