How-To: DIY Upholstery Grade Toss Pillows

The other week I was thinking that my bed needed a little bit of something to give it some character now that I have white bedding to offset green walls. I didn't want to spend dumb amounts of money on toss cushions from Home Sense or Pier 21, and I certainly can't afford to purchase toss cushions from the fine furniture store where I work (even with my discount). I'd looked at Walmart and Target, but didn't want el-cheapo, either. 

Then it came to me. I work in a furniture store. We have hoards of discontinued fabrics. I should make my own pillows. The result was a perfect sized 16x16 toss cushion stuffed with polyester badding. 

Here's how I did it.

1) Collect the fabric and remove paper identifier.
If you live close to a custom furniture store, check them out to see if they have any leftover fabric swatches from samples. Companies like Laz-e-boy, Decor-rest, and England all have 20 x 20 fabric samples and discontinue certain ones on a twice yearly basis. Once you have collected your fabric samples, carefully remove the fabric identifier - this is usually a glossy paper stitched or stapled to the fabric so that the designer knows things like its name and washing instructions.

Choose fabrics that match - one for the front, and one for the back. I went with an expresso coloured back and the zebra print front. 

2) Lay fabrics right side together and pin. Sew together below the fabric swatch's seam.
Make sure to start a few inches from your first corner and finish a few inches after your last corner - you will need a hand hole in the bottom to shove the pillow stuffing into the pillow.

I hand sewed this part because I like watching TV when I craft and because there is no working sewing machine in my house, currently.

3) Stuff your pillow
Shove as much dacron as you possibly can up into that cushion. You do not want it to flatten out if you decide to have a nice nap on your pillow later.

4) Pin the opening closed and sew. 
This is something you'll have to do by hand regardless. Once you have your pillow stuffed so that the seams are almost bursting (it's okay, it'll settle later. Rule number One of toss cushions and upholstery is that all stuffing flattens over time), close the seam with pins. You want to start your needle on the inside of the seam and bring it out so that your thread tail doesn't show. Use like coloured thread and close using a small but tight running stitch.

And there you have it! Once your pillow is closed, you can put it on your couch, chair, or bed and enjoy it.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

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