The Throw Pillow Challenge: Napkin Pillow (Covers!)


Two weeks ago I talked about my goal of finding affordable throw pillows.  My first project of turning placemats into pillows turned out really well, but I wanted to look into a few more methods. 

Working on a theme, I turned to another table topper of sorts: napkins.  Turns out these pre-cut, pre-hemmed squares are (generally) the perfect size for throw pillows.  Add to that their sturdy fabric and gorgeous designs, and they wind up being ideal pillow building blocks (even for those of us with limited sewing abilities). 

I picked up a few napkins to play with at Pier One, on clearance for $3 a piece (woot!).  Because I really wanted the flexibility of having pillow covers that I could replace at will, I also picked up a couple of zippers at Jo-Ann Fabric with a 40% off coupon.  It was kind of a gamble considering my aforementioned sewing abilities (or lack thereof) but the ability to swap out covers instead of owning a zillion throw pillows made it worth the risk. 

Most napkins are approximately 20x20 which works out perfectly for an 18x18 insert (pretty standard).  I already owned two down inserts, so I didn't have to buy them, but if you need to purchase them both Target and Ikea have great prices on them (less than $10 each!).  (Not a fan of down?  Check out these down alternative pillow inserts from Amazon.  $9.99 for a pair!)

First, I gave the napkins a quick press and cut out the tags.  Placing the napkins back to back, I ran straight seams down three of the sides.  Then came the zipper. 

 I am quite sure that most DIYers would instruct you on how to place, pin, and properly sew in a zipper.  I am not one of those people.  I am more of the Let's-Just-Wing-It-And-See-What-The-Hell-Happens variety (patience has never been my strong suit).  So if you need instruction in this regard, may I recommend the fabulous and highly helpful website, youtube.  You're welcome.

Surprisingly, my zippers actually turned out pretty well.  Okay... there may or may not have been a point at which I somehow, in the process of replacing the bobbin, accidentally removed the bobbin holder and could not, for the life of me, get it back in.  You'd think that a self-proclaimed sewing halfwit like myself might just give up.  Nope.  Just like a professional, I simply consulted my close personal friend - Pinot Noir.  After an hour together and some colorful and increasingly creative expletives, Pinot suggested going to bed might be the best option, and I agreed.  Turns out Pinot was actually quite useless in fixing the problem.  (Who knew?)

Ultimately, youtube came through with a video on how to reinstall it and I was able to complete my zipper, turn the cases right-side out and insert the pillows themselves. 

(Okay, some super nitpicky people who are looking closely might argue that the seams aren't exactly perfect.  But those people can find someone else's sofa to sit on.) 
I love how they came together!  The color and pattern works really well with last week's placemat versions, and they look and feel like really high quality, high price retail pillows.  My favorite part, however, is that I can remove the covers and swap them out with the seasons or when I get bored with them.  As I said, that's much easier and neater than having to find places to store extra pillows. 

The total cost? Under $8 per pillow.  Not bad!  I'm feeling so affable, in fact, I might invite
Pinot back over to celebrate.  I'm big like that.

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  1. Awesome work as always!

    Now may I suggest a topic for your next installment?

    Reupholster the whole couch with tablecloths!


  2. Ha Ha! Right? Yeah it crossed my mind that I'm going to need a heck of a lot of polyfill if I keep going with this table linen/pillow thing. :)


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