After discovering the Pinterest Challenge earlier this week, my mind immediately jumped to the beautiful grain sack pillows I’ve been seeing splashed all over the blogoshpere.  The warmth and texture they add to a room is absolutely delightful.  Another bonus (at least in my circus-like household) is that the material used is sturdy enough to hold up to a three-year-old and two large dogs, but still offers beauty and sophistication.

But as much as I like the look of burlap, I’ve found that using painters drop cloths makes for a much cuddlier pillow, as they’re a heckofa lot softer while still providing the wonderfully uneven, grainy texture of burlap.  And best of all, they’re available for dirt cheap at any home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Inspiration truly struck while drooling  oogling  seriously considering shoplifting looking at these:

Restoration Hardware, $28 - $54 each

Anything expensive usually gets my creative juices flowing, because I’m cheap frugal enough to find a low-cost solution.  This is especially important in this case, because I lurve me some pillows.  It’s embarrassing to admit how many I own; let’s just say I need them for any surface that’s even remotely comfortable: beds, chairs, benches, window seats, floors

… What?

Oh, your visitors don’t prefer lounging on the carpet to sitting on the couch?  Must be a Southern California thing… Or maybe we just have weird friends. ^_^

With a pillow-fetish like mine, things can get extremely pricey (hel-lo, have you seen the new Pottery Barn catalog?)  In order to combat my addiction, I’ve been buying second-hand pillows at Goodwill, thrift shops, and even garage sales (if the merchandise looks clean and decent.)  =}

However my selections have always been limited because many of these pillows are just, well… ugly, which is why they were given up in the first place.  But I always end up buying them, because there’s nothing sadder than a pillow with good bones collecting dust when it would rather be continually jumped on by a rambunctious toddler.  Or pulled off the couch and used as a dog bed (yes, my dogs do this).

But after reading this post, it won’t matter how urgly (yes, urgly) your pillow might be, because I’m going to show you how to breathe new life into that poufy baby and make it look like it came from a beautiful, over-priced shop (Pottery Barn here we come)!!  ^_^  I prefer to make removable pillow cases so I can update them for the holidays, or can recycle the original pillows if my tastes ever change.  (Not likely because I love the beach too much.  But still.)

At first glance, this tutorial looks quite involved, time-consuming, and only for pro-sewers.  But I assure you, this is one of the easiest sewing projects around, and it only looks so  involved because it takes a lot of explaining.  Once you’ve completed it for the first time, you can do it again in a snap (like, literally 15 – 20 minutes).  Here’s how:

You will also need an iron, a pen or pencil, and straight pins.  I can never seem to get everything into one shot, can I?  *Insert eye roll*

**NOTE: In order for this transfer to work, it must be printed out on a XEROX PHASER laser printer.  Kinko’s and Staples usually have them, and sometimes you can find them used by a business for a reasonable price.  You must use this kind of printer!!!  The Citrasolv reacts to the toner, and  unfortunately won’t work with your everyday home office inkjet printer.

It’s also recommended that you “mirror” your graphic before printing, especially if there are words on your image.  This means the image will print backwards, and will look as if you were holding it up to a mirror.  

If you’re unsure how to “mirror” your image, ask the kind people behind the counter at Kinko’s or Staples to do it for you.  You can either bring your image in on a memory stick, or print it out on an inkjet printer and ask them to copy it on the Xerox Phaser printer. 

step 1: Remove the old, stained cover from your pillow (if applicable).

step 2: Measure your pillow (or the removed pillow case).  My pillow was 19 inches x 19 inches.

step 3: We’re going to make the back panels first.  (Another benefit of using drop cloths is that all four sides come pre-hemmed, which means you can save yourself a step and use these hems on the back panels of your pillow.)  Measure and mark the length of your pillow on the side with the hem (19 inches in my case).

**NOTE: I purposely cut my panels to the same size as my pillows, without adding any seam allowance.  This makes for a nicely plump pillow with a taught case.  =]

step 4: Now we’re going to measure and mark the width of the back panels.  As I mentioned, my pillow is 19” x 19”.  To get the correct measurements for your back panels, take the width of your pillow and divide it by two, then add three.  This creates overlapping panels in the back that open enough to slip the pillow firmly inside the case.

So for example (using my particular pillow measurements):
               19” ÷ 2 = 9.5”
               9.5” + 3 = 12.5”  <— Mark this width

step 5: I have to admit, I have next to no sewing talent.  I can barely cut a straight line, and have ended up having to do many projects over because of my wonky and over-exuberant fabric slashing.  In order to prevent this from happening, I now line up my measurements and play connect the dots, which makes for easy (and correct) cutting later.

step 6: After dotting the fabric, here is what your panel should look like thus far.

step 7: Cut your panel out.

step 8: Repeat this process with your second back panel, as well as a front panel that is the same size as your pillow (19” x 19” in my case).

step 9: Iron your fabric panels using the “Linen”, or high heat setting on your iron.  This step is optional, unless you’re completely anal like me and just can’t handle irregular creases.

step 10: Place your image face down on your front panel, and tape in place.  Be sure not to tape over any of your image, as this will hinder the transferring process.  You can also trim any words you have down to size.

step 11: Pour a tiny bit of Citrasolv into a small bowl, and use your paint brush to dab it onto your image.  I have to emphasize that A LITTLE BIT of Citrasolv goes a very long way.  It took me about a tablespoon to cover my entire image, which was just the right amount.

step 12: Continue until your entire image is covered.

step 13: Using your spoon, press down hard and rub in circular motions over your entire image.  It shouldn’t take too much effort – you’ll know you’ve used the right amount of Citrasolv if the image transfers relatively easily.

step 14: Peek under one of your corners to see how it’s coming along.  If you’re image is very light and isn’t transferring well, simply add a bit more Citrasolv and keep rubbing with the spoon.

step 15: When your image is adequately burnished, peel off the paper and trash it immediately; if the Citrasolv is left on the carpet or another piece of fabric accidentally, it could leach into that other fabric.

step 16: Iron your image to set it.  It’s now washable and won’t come off, even when bleach is used.  Now that’s what I call a transfer!!  ^_^

step 17: Lay your front panel face-up on a hard surface, then place one of your back panels on top of it, face-down.

step 18: Pin your back panel into place.

step 19: Place your second panel in place, and remove any pins that would be underneath the overlapping section.

step 20: Pin your second back panel into place.

step 21: Sew your pillow case together using a straight stitch across all four sides, taking the pins out as you sew so you don’t accidentally break your needle.  I also like to backstitch at the beginning and end of all sides, just for added strength.

step 22: Trim the excess fabric off all four corners.

step 23: Turn your pillow case rightside-out and use a pencil or chopstick to push the corners into a nice point.  Then slide your pillow into the case, and you’re done!!  Easiest sewing project ever, right?  Good job!!

There you have it.  An adorable (and expensive-looking) boutique style pillow, all for about $6 (and that will make multiple pillows, too!)

An homage to one of my favorite places in the world.  ^_^

I hope you find this tutorial helpful!!  I really like it for it’s versatility, as you can use it to make different kinds of pillows for different kinds of people using different kinds of fabric and different kinds of graphics.  Whew, out of breath on that one.  But you get what I mean., right?

… Right?

Maybe not.  =}  Either way, thanks for reading.  Happy crafting, and happy pinning!!