DIY Tutorial: The Darlene Pillow


This is a cute super simple sewing  project I’m making as gifts for all my sisters. DIY Sister Inspired Pillows. Welcome to ‘if my sisters were a pillow project’. This is simply an idea project, obviously you won’t have the same clothing items to work with, but hopefully this will spark a little  creativity in you.

Anyone that knows me knows I love recycling! My five year old actually calls bottles and cans ‘5 cents’, and he know if he picks them up, (within reason, no, digging in public trash cans, but yes, to  picking up bottles after a soccer game in the park) he gets to put the money in his piggy bank.

Anyways, I have been doing a lot of projects that deal with giving new life to old clothing items. Here is my latest, in a series of four pillow tutorials. I’m naming this one, the ‘Darlene Pillow’ after my sis. The Darlene pillow is textural, feminine, and invokes a romantic feeling.  Perfect for a girly girl.

For this project you will need:

– One frilly skirt. The one I used was short, with stretchy lace layered fabric that had an inner layer. I’ll show you what I mean in the following pictures.

– Sewing machine (optional) I used the sewing machine for about 3 inner seams and then also did some simple hand sewing. Could totally be done completely by hand though.

– Thread in color similar to your fabric

– Scissors to trim extra fabric and threads

– Some type of soft filler or ready made pillow form


Here is a picture of the skirt I started with. I know it’s a perfectly good skirt, and super beautiful, but I don’t wear skirts too often. So instead of having it sit in the closet I thought it should be brought out to enjoy in another form.


Here is an inside look. There is a stretchy inner layer as well.


Here is a view of it separated up for sewing and trimming.

Step 1: Since the skirt is flared because of the gathering and elastic (not the same width on top and bottom) I sewed the inner liner a similar shape to the outer layer. If I were to try this project again and what I would suggest is to trim off the elastic top and begin with the same sized material on both layers. The reason being is it made the top a bit uneven in the finished product. The top wanted to be tighter and more narrow then the bottom part. Not a big deal, but it would have been more simple to deal with it at the beginning.

IMG_20130620_194903Step 2: Trim off the excess.

IMG_20130620_200935Step 3: Sew the top elastic together by hand. I chose to do this step by hand, because it was easier to get right up close to the edge. Here you can see the first grey lace layer falling to each side of the pillow. I ended up sewing this layer together and down on one side to compensate for the difference in size of the top and bottom of the pillow trying to get it looking a bit more even. More about that later. But, if you cut off the elastic before hand, simply stitch both sides together.

Step 4: Sew across the bottom of the inner layer, leave a hole to fill in the stuffing or your pillow form. Finish sewing up opening. I just did the sewing by hand. I completed the whole thing in about 1 1/2 hr. by hand while watching a movie.

IMG_20130620_203014Step 5: Sew the bottom side of the pillow. Tack the middle down with a couple stitches. Like you would wrap a present.

IMG_20130620_203059Step 6: Fold one side over, again like you would fold the bottom of a present you are wrapping. Continue to stitch all the way across the length of the pillow to finish joining the lace layer to the inner pillow layer. You are now sewing the last lace layer around the bottom of the pillow.

IMG_20130620_203930Step 7: Same thing on the other side. Fold over (other side of wrapping your present, making a v like fold in the corner of the material) and sew neatly across.


Step 8: If you did not cut off the elastic, now is time to deal with evening out the pillow. Can’t clearly see from this pic, but the top grey layer extended over the elastic and then folded down over when worn, making it two layers of grey lace at the top from one piece of material. Check the first pic of the skirt above, to understand that lace flap business. Anyhow, I folded the top bit of lace material over the top to cover up the elastic stitched seam that I had already sewn and sewed it in place. So fold the extra lace over and sew it down. You can see from the pic that the sides of the top kind of curve inwards, yes, it’s that problematic elastic.


Here is a close up of the pretty lace.


Here is your lovely finished product! Hope this gives you an awesome re-purposing idea people. Don’t forgot to share it here!


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