Pillows are the easiest way to transform any room in your home into a cozy inviting environment. Just like in fashion, these accessories can make or break the look of your room. Change them seasonally or even on a whim. As part of our on-going series on reducing, reusing, and recycling, I’m always looking for ways to give fashion items a second life. While shopping at Goodwill one day I had the idea to make pillows from clothing items at the store. The inspiration came from seeing a pillow that was secured with buttons down the back. A light bulb went off in my head, and I thought I could do the same thing quite easily using button-down shirts.
I just happened to have a selection of Hawaiian-inspired shirts in my studio that were purchased at Goodwill last year to use at a theme party a friend was having. Even though they are not my particular style to actually wear in my everyday life, I do love the beautiful prints and fabrics. In fact, I saved them especially to reuse them for their material in some way. Now I knew exactly what to do with them.
I chose two shirts that were somewhat muted in tone. First, I buttoned up the shirt, laid it flat and placed the pillow inside of it. I pinned all along the outline of the pillow making sure the front placket of the shirt was straight and evenly spaced in the center of the pillow. You’ll want to use a pillow size that will fit the size of the shirt you’re using, or get as close as you can. It leaves less fabric and less waste. Once everything is pinned evenly, unbutton the shirt, take the pillow out and carefully cut around the outline created by the pins, leaving enough room (approximately 1/2 inch from the pins) to sew together a seam. Take the pieces that you’ve cut out, unpin them, turn it inside out and press it with an appropriate setting on your clothes iron. Re-pin the pieces and stitch it together with a straight stitch on your sewing machine, or hand-sew with small stitches for a neat look. Another variation would be to use fabric fuse or glue to bond the seams together. This requires ironing only. Turn your pillow right side out and press again. Insert your pillow re-button the placket and voila! You now have a new custom-designed pillow for your home, front porch or bedroom. You could do a whole sofa full for the price of just one pillow at regular retail prices. Instead of the Hawaiian shirts, you could use classic pinstripes, solids, or flannel for a cozy casual look.
I guarantee you’ll have fun finding the right patterns and fabrics that trip your creative trigger, and by doing this simple project you’ll help prevent one or more unwanted item from going into a landfill. Reusing and recycling isn’t just a saying, it is a way of life. So let the Goodwill Store and Donation Center near you make your life and the lives of others a little brighter. And, you can add some fashion pillow talk to your home!