Sunday, February 7, 2016

Making Pillow Forms out of a Bed Pillow

One problem with making decorative pillows as sewing practice is that you then need a pillow form to put inside them.  We have a lot of 20"x20" pillow forms in our house from the various no sew pillow shams I made ages ago, but I need some other odd sizes for my learn to sew projects.  Specifically I need 18"x18" and 12" x 16" pillow forms.  How can I get these without spending a fortune?

In my search for cheap pillow forms I came across many tutorials on how to make them yourself, but that would involve a lot of money in polyfill.  Then I found a tutorial on how to turn a king size pillow into two pillow forms.  What a great idea!  I picked up some $4 pillows from target, and this is just the right price to get the two less-common sized pillow forms that I need for my learn to sew projects.

The pillows did not have any dimensions written on them, but I know (thank you google!) that a standard pillow is 20" x 26".  This lines up when I measured the pillows that I purchased from Target.  The tutorial I liked to above shows how to make the pillow form with one cut, but I will need to do two cuts to get the size I need.

Step by Step as I create a 12" x 16" pillow form

I cut the first pillow lengthwise at 13", to give myself enough seam allowance and to be sure that the pillow will be large enough.  (If you're more confident with your cutting you only need a 1/2" allowance.) Push the stuffing down and pin a few inches away from the edge, giving yourself as much room to work with as possible.

Since this is a pillow form and not going to be visible, I'm not going to worry about raw edges.  Measure your form again to determine how big your seam needs to be.  To get my 12" wide pillow form I need to make a 1" seam.  The sewing itself is a little hard.  It is hard to keep in a straight line because the pillow is pushing up against your work.  Do the best that you can.

Double check your measurement with your seam and then sew a second seam just outside the first one for some strength.  You don't want the pillow to burst!  Remove the pins. and trim off excess seam allowance.

Now we have to repeat to stitch up the pillow in the other direction.   I cut a few inches off of the second end to give 17" and remove a little bit of stuffing (which I'll save for a future project.)  I was more aggressive this time moving the stuffing down and pinning it into place.  After the first seam I checked my measurements and then added a second seam just out side the first one.  I then trimmed off the excess seam allowance, removed the pins and fluffed up my finished pillow form.

Now is the moment of truth...  Inserting my DIY pillow form into the 12" x 16" decorative pillowcase I made.

What a marvelous fit!

What did I do with the other half of the pillow?  well I turned it into an odd shaped pillow form.  I'm sure I can design a decorative 19" x 13" pillow sham at some point.

18" x 18" pillow form

The second pillow form I needed, 18" square, I won't be able to get 2 pillows out of the standard pillow.  I suppose I could get a super skinny 6" x 19" pillow, but instead I'll just save the excess stuffing for another project.  Like the 12x16 pillow, I cut one side to 19" and then closed the edge, leaving it raw.  For the second side I didn't cut first, I pinned the stuffing down and stitched it closed to get from just over 19" to 18".  I then trimmed off the excess seam allowance and had my completed pillow.

As for the 26"x26" pillow, I just picked up an inexpensive inner pillow from Ikea. $7 is probably cheaper than I could make myself.

I hope that this post on making your own pillow forms out of cheap bed pillows was helpful!  I know that this was way cheaper than buying ready made forms myself, plus I have extra stuffing for many amigurumi!

project started 9/22/2015