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Make Throw Pillows Look New Again

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 9

throw pillows

Throw pillows are an important element of home decorating and comfort.  Whether they come from discount stores like Ikea or Walmart or from trendier stores like Pottery Barn, they will all face the same fate eventually.  With daily use, couch pillows can become misshapen, lumpy and lose their appeal.  Your first instinct might be to throw them out and buy new ones.  But before you do, read the steps below.  If the fabric is in good condition, and you can hand sew a seam, you can rejuvenate those pillows and make them look like new again.  Here's how.

1.  Rip open the seam.

rip open seam

Open one side of your pillow casing with a seam ripper and rip through only the threads holding the seam together. Do not pierce the fabric.  Start from about 1 1/2" from one corner and rip to about 1 1/2" from the other end.

If your pillow has piping around the edges, try to determine how it was put together. Sometimes, piping is first sewn to one section of fabric and in a second step, the seam is sewn together. This would be the optimum situation. Otherwise, piping is sewn into the seam in one step, which means it will become free when the seam is opened. If that is the case with your pillow, you should machine stitch the piping to one section of the fabric once the seam is open. Attach the piping to the section using a zipper foot and sewing close to the piping.

2.  Remove the filler.

The filler material may be loose clumps or a neatly packaged inner pillow (also called an insert or pillow form). In either case, since it no longer fills out the pillow casing, it needs to be re-wrapped in batting to give it more substance and create a snugger fit inside the casing.

After removing the filler, why not take the opportunity to wash or dry clean the casing fabric before continuing this project?

3.  Wrap the filler with "Quilt-Light" batting.

Quilt-Light batting is a Mountain Mist product but a similar weight batting from another manufacturer will work just as well. Begin by laying the insert in the center of a square of batting and folding the left and right sides of the batting to the center so that the insert is enclosed. Cut the width of the batting if necessary so the left and right meet with little or no overlap.

Do the same with the top and bottom batting sides. Bring the top batting piece down to the center, and the bottom piece up to meet it, smoothly tucking in sides.

Sew the two batting edges together being sure they lie flat where they meet. You should now have a neat little package.

4.  Stuff the casing.

Stuff the newly wrapped insert inside the casing. Squeeze it together to get it into the opening. Move your hands around inside smoothing out the insert and batting and moving the corners of the package into the casing corners as best you can. When you're done, if the corners still appear to be empty, cut pieces of batting and stuff the corners. Do not ball up the batting, simply poke it into the corners and blend the remaining edges into the rest of the pillow.

5.  Pin from center

pin from center

Starting with the center of the opening, pin the seam closed with one pin. To do this pull the seam taught on both ends, being sure the two casing fabrics are evenly matched.

6.  Secure the entire opening.

secure entire opening

After the center pin is in place, use the same method to continue pining until the entire opening is closed.

7.  Finish


Finish by slip stitching the seam together using matching thread. Remove the pins. Pound the pillow around a bit so the filler settles uniformly into its casing.

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    Jul 30, 2011 3:48pm
    This is a great idea. I have some needle-point throw pillows that need a little "plumping." I'll have to try this out when I have some free time!
    Jul 30, 2011 7:21pm
    Thanks. If you try it let me know if you need more information.
    Jul 30, 2011 5:34pm
    Great idea. I have some hand crocheted throw pillows that could use refreshing. Thanks
    Jul 30, 2011 7:22pm
    Appreciate the comment!
    Jul 31, 2011 2:53pm
    Good article. I have some nice tapestry-like pillows that could benefit from these steps.
    Aug 2, 2011 11:04am
    Thanks Sullysee!
    Aug 17, 2011 7:35am
    Looks like you are getting us all sewing and repairing our old cushions now. Great ideas.
    Aug 17, 2011 12:06pm
    Thanks Eileen!
    Sep 14, 2011 2:19pm
    Another wonderful article! Thanks for instructions on how to "make throw pillows look new again." This is a great way to rejuvenate keepsake pillows. Thanks for sharing.
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