Oh sofa indecision. I had it bad. So bad that I ended up with an embarrassingly large pile of sofa fabric swatches from Room & Board and Crate & Barrel.
Thank goodness I finally made a sofa decision and haven’t second guessed my purchase once. But collecting the pile of fabric swatch samples? Well, that I regret. And as a closet pack rate I can’t throw such nice fabric away.
I asked you on my Facebook wall: what should I make with a pile of sofa fabric swatches? Great ideas there, and I’d already been leaning towards a pillow first so I decided to tackle that first. So I started arranging them into patterns like so…
And when I landed on a pattern that I liked, I cut them, pinned it and sewed them together. It was really quick and easy to make and I’ll even show you how to put in a pillow zipper.
So thank you, the very patient salespeople of Room & Board and Crate & Barrel who dealt with my multiple visits and sheepish swatch solicitations. And I did end up finally buying a new sofa and it looks amazing …and now I’m thinking the losing swatches are looking pretty good too.
Supplies for making a DIY Pillow from a Pile of Leftover Sofa Fabric Swatches:
- 15 sofa sample fabric swatches (4″ x 4″ each)
- Fabric for front and back (I used some nice wool felt)
- 16″ x 12″ pillow form (I used a feather stuffed form)
- 12″ zipper
- Sewing machine with a nice zigzag stitch
- Rotary fabric cutter, clear ruler and self-healing mat
- Good fabric scissors
How to make a DIY Pillow from a Pile of Leftover Sofa Fabric Swatches:
Gather 15 sofa fabric samples that measure 4″ x 4″ and arrange them on a 17″ x 12″ piece of backing fabric. Yep, it’s 17″ x 12″ rather than 17″ x 13″ just because of the fabric sample sizes but when you stuff in the feather pillow insert it’ll be OK. In the picture below I had rough cut a piece of cream wool felt and arranged the pieces like so. So I did full squares alternated with 2.5″ rectangles.
When you’re ready to commit then cut 2.5″ strips for the two narrow columns.
Pin it down on so that the swatches touch one another.
When you’re done it will look something like this:
Set your sewing machine for a tight and wide zigzag stitch. Take your scraps and do a test until you come up with something that looks nice that’s also wide enough to secure both sides of the swatches.
Now start sewing down the fabric swatches to the background.
Sew the columns…
And it’ll look like this.
Now sew the rows making sure to pull the swatches together as you sew.
Square off the backing piece if you were lazy like I was and rough cut the backing in the first place.
Then it’ll look like this.
Now here’s how to put in a pillow zipper. Center the zipper on the bottom long edge of the pillow, face down, with the outer edge aligned with the raw bottom edge. Pin it down.
Now here’s a trick to avoid trying to sew around the zipper pull. Zip the zipper closed about 4 inches. Put a zipper foot onto your sewing machine so that you can sew closer to the zipper.
Now sew close to the zipper teeth…
…really close, and slow down when you get closer to the zipper pull. And stop when you get close, making sure the needle is down.
Lift up your presser foot as high as it can go and unzip the zipper, wiggling the zipper pull underneath the zipper pull.
Now you can keep sewing and it’ll be nice and straight — if you had tried to sew around the zipper pull then you would have ended up with a messy curved place that wouldn’t look so good.
So here it is all nice and sewed down.
And here’s a long shot…
And another close-up shot.
Place the pillow back right side up on your table. Now sandwich the sewn pillow back wrong side up.
Pin the other side of the zipper onto the bottom long side of the pillow back. Your zipper should be completely open.
Start to sew close to the zipper teeth again using your zipper foot.
Sew all the way down and slow down when you get close to the end. Make sure the needle is down…
…pull up the presser foot as high as it can go and zip the zipper closed a few inches past where the needle is. Then keep sewing to the end. Again, doing it this way will avoid trying to sew around the zipper pull which will just end up with a curved messy stitch.
So here’s the zipper all sewn in. Nice, huh? Nice and straight, no curves!
Here’s another shot.
Now close the zipper and put it right side up on your table.
Put a pin where the metal top piece of the zipper is.
Repeat this on the other side of the zipper.
And put a pin right there.
Pin around the rest of the pillow sides. You can skip the pins if you’re feeling lucky but obviously today I was not :)
Now be sure to open your zipper at least halfway. I don’t have a picture of this but you need to do this or you’ll sew your pillow completely shut, whoops. OK so sew around the pillow perimeter from the right side of the zipper to the left side of the zipper, starting and ending at the zipper pins.
I like to use blue painter’s tape to help me sew more straight.
Your pillow is basically sewn now. You could finish the edges if you’d like but because I used wool felt and don’t really plan on washing it I just left it like this.
Turn it right side out. You can clip the corners before you do this but I skipped it. Now stuff with your feather pillow insert and toss onto your new sofa!
Did you make it? Please post a comment and let me know how this craft idea works for you. And share your own photos at the MerrimentDesign.com Facebook page, “I made it!” flickr photo gallery or tweet a picture to @merrimentdesign. Craft and pass it on!
COPYRIGHT NOTE: You’re more than welcome to use free pattern and how to step-by-step tutorial for your own personal use. Contact me for any commercial use – this includes etsy sellers.