Thursday, January 19, 2012

DIY: Pillows in a Pinch

Last summer I had throw pillows on my mind in a big way.  We had picked up a "new" love seat from eBay, and it looked so bare and forlorn without any pillows to perk it up and tie it in to the rest of the room.  As designer Lindsey Coral Harper says in this month's House Beautiful, "Having a room without throw pillows is like going to a party without your shoes on..  Shoes make the outfit, right? Every chair, not just every sofa, must have pillows."

My trouble is, since moving to a new place every few years and not feeling all that comfortable with interior decorating vocabulary in German, I hadn't ever found a great place to buy things like cute throw pillows.  The selection always seemed small, and I could never find anything exciting enough.  So I decided to throw something together myself!  We had guests coming into town to visit, which gave me the motivation I needed to finish this project quickly-- very quickly, actually, so take this project advice with a grain of salt:).  I decided (to save time) to use one big down pillow instead of multiples and to skip on the pretty details like contrast piping that I usually like to use in projects like this. 

What I had in mind was a damask pattern of some kind to add some much needed texture to the kitchen/dining room where the love seat is.  You can go with a more traditional, embellished look like these orange pillows, for example:

I love a more modern, graphic take on damask, too--it just depends on what kind of look you're going for and if the space needs a larger, bolder pattern or a smaller, busier pattern to complete the look.  

I love these gray and yellow pillows.  What a great pattern- and they're on sale!

I decided to make the pillowcase out of some hydrangea blue linen fabric and some light green paint I had leftover from other projects.  First off, I pulled out the sewing machine and sewed together the fabric in the most basic pillowcase form imaginable, leaving 3/4 of one side open long enough to stuff the pillow inside.  

To create the stencil for my damask shape, I used another piece of scrap fabric from my stash as inspiration and sketched the pattern on a large piece of thin board.

Then I laid my stencil on top of a thicker piece of cardboard to be sure not to damage the surface underneath, and, using an X-acto knife, I carefully traced the drawing to cut out the shapes for the pattern.

Finally, I slightly diluted my paint and applied the color with a sponge paintbrush to the fabric, taking care to hold down the stencil firmly to prevent leaks.

So now our couch doesn't look so underdressed, and I've bought myself some time until I find something else I can't live without and feel like changing things up.  

Have fun decorating!



  1. I am so impressed and love the originality of it!!!

  2. Liza, this is amazing! You're the new DIY queen! Love it! :)

  3. I wish I had just 10 percent of the Can-do, DIY skills you have in spades... Love this pillow!

  4. I'm still learning from you, but I'm improving myself. I definitely enjoy reading all that is posted on your website.Keep the tips coming. I enjoyed it!
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  5. Those pillows just put it over the top! I love these gray and yellow Accent Pillows.


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