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While they can be, when we start looking ways to make our pillows more decorative, things can become very involved! Patchwork pillows, applique, shirring and ruffles. These things can make a pillow amazing, but they come at a price; they can take a lot of time. I do enjoy spending the time making pretty pillows, but most of the time, I'm making one that I know is going to be temporary decor and I just want to get one done quickly. I've found that by using articles of clothing that have decorative details as my fabric for my pillow, I can save a whole lot of time.
For my first pillow, I chose this tank top. I loved the texture of the chenille dot fabric and the wide shirring along the bottom.
I flipped the tank top upside down and used the shirring at the top of my pillow. I stitched along the topmost stitch line through both layers to close the top of my pillow. I added a very basic applique to the front of the pillow. The bird was made using the bird die for the Fiskars Fuse. I then slipped a pillow form inside the tank top and determined where I needed to cut for the bottom. I knew I wanted the fabric to be loose and have a lightly shirred look to it so I made sure to not cut the fabric too short. After cutting the tank top to create the bottom, I slipped the pillow form in and slip stitched the opening closed, making sure to bunch the fabric up a little as I progressed so I didn't end up with a really wide base and a smooth seam. I also could have run a basting stitch along the bottom and pulled the strings to bunch the fabric up and create a properly sized opening before slip stitching it closed.
For the second pillow, I used this shirt. Again, I liked the texture of the fabric and the little wooden buttons on it. And, again, I flipped it upside down! Originally I planned to use the shirring along the collar line, but as I tried to work with it, I found it was so narrow that it just bunched up and made the top of the pillow look funny. So I eventually just cut a square from the front and back of the shirt and eliminated the collar. I was able to use the side seams of this shirt as the side seams of my pillow, as well. I turned it inside out and machine stitched the opening at the collar line closed. I flipped it upside down and used the row of buttons as a pole for my simple birdhouse applique! To finish the pillow, I inserted a pillow form and slip stitched the opening closed.
If you're anxious to start and can't wait to get started on your own pillows, don't wait on trip to a thrift store to find clothing with unique details. Go raid your closet. It's a lot of fun to give new life to an old favorite article of clothing!
Old clothing, thread, scraps of fabric for appliques (optional), pillow forms.