DIY giant chevron floor pillows

DIY giant chevron floor pillows



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Let’s say you had no interest in sewing until you were 26 years old and living 3,000 miles away from your expert seamstress mother. Let’s say the first time you actually attempted to thread a sewing machine is after your partner buys you a top-of-the-line sewing machine for Christmas. And let’s say that you tend to be overambitious in projects because “the Internet has tutorials for everyone!”

Oh, that’s just me?

That is the exact scenario I faced when I decided what our apartment needed most in the world were giant chevron floor pillows.

And scour the Internet for sewing tutorials, I did, but most sewing tutorials are made for people who already know how to sew. They refer to mystical things such as seam allowances, fat quarters and mock boxing.

Maybe someone smarter than me would know what all those terms meant, but I did not. And being forced to stop reading the tutorial and Google some sewing term every five minutes made me scrap the whole Internet and just make these without any guidance. I don’t really recommend that either.

As I worked on these pillows, I vowed to make my sewing tutorials more user-friendly. If you’ve never sewed before, NO BIG DEAL, we welcome you with open arms here at Oven Lovin’. If you have sewed before and know, for example, what the heck a welt is, more power to you. You can probably also read non-sewing English, so you’re allowed to stay too.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to make these brightly colored box-shaped floor pillows ever since A.J. gave me my sewing machine. My mom has often told me about floor pillows she made when she was young and poor (oh, hello, that matches you, too?) and how everyone loved them and how she would take them with her every time she moved, until one tragic moving day when one of the pillows flew out of the back of her pickup truck and was gone forever.

I like to think someone found it, admired her workwomanship and gave the pillow a nice new home.

While I was visiting home for Christmas I bought this beautiful thick cotton fabric on Amazon. It was $8.50/yard with free shipping after spending $30 or more.

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To make these 30-by-30-inch wide and 6-inch deep pillows, I needed two yards of the 54-inch-wide fabric that I planned to use for the top and bottom of the pillows. (Also, 45-inch-wide fabric, another industry standard, is fine, too.) I also needed one yard of the fabric intended to be the sides of the pillows.

When fabric is cut from the bolt, it’s not always straight across. When my fabric arrived, I measured everything out before I realized that my edges were off by, like, two inches.

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To “square up the fabric,” you fold the fabric in half and line the two edges together (called selvedges). Then you  shift the two layers of fabric (at the selvedges) in opposite directions horizontally until the fold at the bottom of your fabric is lying flat. Then you just fold the fabric in the opposite direction and use a straight edge to either draw a straight line and cut, or a rotary cutter and cutting mat.

For a better explanation of squaring fabric with pictures, see Living with Punks’ tutorial.

Once I squared all four pieces of fabric, I cut out the pieces. For each pillow, I needed:

  • two 31-by-31-inch squares
  • four 7-by-31-inch rectangles

I used 1/2-inch seam allowances, which means that I added an extra inch to what I wanted the final dimension to be (30 by 30 by 6 inches) to allow me to sew the seams 1/2-inch from each edge.

To make the big squares, I measured and cut out the first one by using a pencil, ruler and scissors.

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Then I pinned that square to the other fabric to cut out the next three squares. (Remember I was making two pillows.)

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I used the same method to cut the rectangles (measuring out the first one, and then pinning it to the additional fabric to cut.

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By this time, my friend, Rae, had told me about this awesome pen that allows you to draw on fabric. It disappears with time.

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Now that I had all my fabric pieces measured and cut (seriously the longest part), I was ready to start sewing.

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So you sew inside out, so the edges of the seams are on the inside of the piece. That means you put the two outside sides together and sew on the inside.

I sewed one rectangle to one side of the square. Because I’m still a new sewer, I drew a line where the seam should go, 1/2-inch away from the edge.

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I pinned pretty far away, so I didn’t have to remove the pins while I ran the fabric through the machine.

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My squares didn’t perfectly match up (my measuring was clearly flawed), but this didn’t do much to ruin the final product, so don’t be scared if yours don’t match up either.

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I did the same all the way around, so each side of the square had a rectangle attached.

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Once I had all four rectangles sewed onto one big square, I lined up the second square with the outside edge of one of the rectangles. In the picture below, my untouched square in on the bottom, while the square with the rectangles already attached is on top.

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Then I refolded the fabric to match up the opposite side of my second square to the opposite rectangle, creating a big loop.

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Then I lined up the other two sides and sewed those shut, so now only the four corners were open on the diagonal. (Grayson helped!)

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I lined up and pinned the corner pieces (so I was sewing two sides of the rectangles together) for three out of four of the sides. (You want to leave one side open so you can stuff the pillow.

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I chose to fill my pillows with poly-fill stuffing. I needed a little more than five pounds of stuffing for each pillow. (For me, that was 3 1/2 24-ounce bags.)

Stuffing is a little expensive, but I got my bags 50 percent off at Joann Fabrics during a sale.

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So I stuffed the pillows, through my one open edge, flattening and evening them out as I went. When it was as stuffed as I wanted, I hand-sewed the last corner. I folded the edges in, and pinned them together before sewing.

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Each pillow took me about 3 1/2 hours from start to finish and cost about $35 to make.

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(Note: I bought the materials for these products on my own. I did not receive any compensation from anyone for this post. But if you chose to buy some or all of the products linked above, I’ll receive a tiny kickback though the Amazon Associates program for bringing them to your attention.)

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Comments

  1. rclnudson says:

    do you love them!? i love them

  2. Your pillows look fabulous – nice job! I’ve got these linked to my DIY pillows post too today, well done!

  3. Sandee says:

    Has anyone had any luck or tips adding a zipper? I would love these As a dog pillow….. Which means I will need to be able to wash :)

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Hi Sandee,
      Love, WinnieJane did a post (http://lovewinniejane.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/diy-dog-bed/) with an envelope flap on one side to make the pillow removable. I know the length of these pillows is probably longer than the average zipper, but I would think it would be easy to add one halfway down along one of the seams connecting the large square of fabric with the rectangle. Hope this helps!
      Jewels

    • I would make the base pillow out of plain fabric & then make slipcovers for it. For the slip covers, I would forget about the zipper & make it like a pillow sham – where the back piece is actually 2 pieces that overlap.

      • Jewels Phraner says:

        Ann,

        I love that idea, because then you can change the fabric without making new pillows!

        • Mary Kramer Kok says:

          I would also do it with an overlapped back. If I used this as a dog bed, I probably would want to wash the pillow part at some point, and wonder if it would bunch up.

    • I love this too! I made one for my HUGE dog and used vinyl (so it’s waterproof) then made the cover out of cute fabric and closed it with velcro instead of a zipper (I really hate doing zippers). So when I need to wash the cover I can strip it off and even use a disinfecting spray to wash off the vinyl before putting the clean cover back on. Good luck!

  4. I’ve told you how fabulous these look but suddenly realize I’ve never commented on here before now. Your pillows are not only extraordinarily beautiful and creative but an incredible leap into the wonderful world of sewing. Bravo!

    I have a suggestion regarding the zipper. Many years ago, I made much simpler versions of large floor pillows because I didn’t have any furniture. Since they would be getting a lot of use, I wanted to be able to remove the outside for washing. The sides were longer than one zipper, so I adjusted the sides to fit the size of two zippers (whatever length you choose) and just had the zippers meet in the middle of the side. xoxo

    • There actually are zippers for this type of sewing that are longer to accomadate the size of the pillow. You can either put it in the seam area – which would change how you construct it – or add more width to one side and do it like you would a dress zipper. I’ve made something similar to these in the past and for the life of me don’t know how I did it!!!

  5. I “wing it” too, when it comes to sewing. Lol! Thank you for inspiring me. I think I will hit the fabric store this week!!!

  6. Kelli Brooks says:

    what kind of material did u use?

  7. These are really nice and a great tutorial, even for people who do know how to sew. My 8 year old found some awesome fleece fabric he wants me to make into a large pillow for him. I was just going to take the lazy way out by folding the fabric over, stuffing it, and closing up the seam. But I think I’ll find some coordinating fabric for the sides and follow your instructions instead.

  8. To “square” the fabric, you can also rip the edges…snip a wee bit at the corner of the raw edge (half an inch or less) and then rip the fabric. You’ll end up with a squared edge and a long thin piece of fabric. Very fast and easy and no measuring!

  9. Using fiberfill on such a large pillow, I’d be concerned that they will lose their plump/soft goodness after use and get lumpy and uneven. Have you noticed anything like that with these?

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      I haven’t noticed any lumpiness, but the pillows have settled somewhat. I stuffed on of the pillows more than the other one, and the over-stuffed pillow is definitely holding its shape a little better! It might be better to use batting or thick foam cut to size!

  10. I love this tutorial. I see somewhat and have tried to make pillow like this and they don’t turn out right. I will be trying again with your help. THANK YOU!!!!

  11. I love this idea! And your explanations for every step are awesome for us new to sewing. Thank you for the easy instructional and great tips and ideas!!!!!!

  12. Sonya Daguinsin says:

    Okay, I consider myself pretty smart at figuring things out. I remember sitting in the back of my grandmother’s classroom sewing little circles and squares into fabric while she taught her home economics classes to rooms full of girls. That being said….I have never felt so dumb! I have recovered a 15.00 garage sale sofa over, and over, and over through the years. (it is gone now). Every time I sewed the covers for the seat cushions I did it any number of ways but not the EASY way you did in this tutorial! I could have easily put a zipper in one of the rectangular pieces and then sewed the cushion together as you did. Oh well!

  13. Dawna Drummond Fennewald says:

    Great job. I believe if you grow up around sewing some of it rubs off in some way. My daughters don’t sew. I have sewn all their lives. They both can sew. But I do the sewing. My oldest has made things my youngest says she hates sewing. LOL I still love to sew. Lucky you a hubby bought you a top of the line machine for Christmas!! Great Tutorial.

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Hi Dawna!

      i always told my mom I hated sewing, and I never thought I would be a sewer. And then I got my own home, and I knew I could make things much cheaper than I could buy them! Maybe your youngest will come around!

      Thank you for the compliment and I will be sure to pass the comment on to A.J. as well. He is very proud that he bought me the machine! :)

      Happy Sewing!

  14. Allison says:

    These are great. I was thinking of a dog bed and your post came up in my email today. And I have to say your Grayson looks exactly like my Shadow. :-)

  15. Stacey Smith says:

    Have you washed them in the washer and dryer yet? And if you have do they wash well. Thank you

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Hi Stacey,

      I haven’t washed these, since they don’t have a zipper and are not removable. But if you create pillows with a zipper, I think they should wash fine. If you plan to dry them in the dryer, be sure to wash, dry and iron the fabric before sewing to prevent shrinkage in the future! Thanks for reading!

  16. Beth Peterson says:

    Outstanding tutorial! I was interested in the “pet bed” side, then began reading. Wow! You have packed in so much information about the “little” things to do with creating projects. Thank You! I’ll be back! :-)

  17. What a great tutorial, and I love the fact that youve ditched the rules! These cushions are next on my to do list, thank you.

  18. Now teach me a zipper on one end….pretty please!?

  19. I did not understand HOW YOU SEW THE CORNERS TOGETHER??? THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL & I WANT TO START MAKING MY DOG BED TO LOOK JUST LIKE YOUR BEAUTIES. PLEASE HELP ANSWER ABOUT THE CORNERS AND I THANK YOU! HELEN

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Hi Helen,

      After all your long edges are sewn together, and the fabric is inside out, with just the short edges left to do, just bring two short edges together, lay the fabric flat and sew. It doesn’t matter which edge you have on the top or the bottom. Make sure you leave one corner open though, for stuffing, and then you can fold those edges over and hand stitch it together.

      I hope this answered your question! Thanks for reading!

  20. hi: I would like to order the same fabric & colors you made the beautiful giant pillow, please advise how I can get all your fabrics used on that project so you can get the same effect, I looked at Amazon they only had slug something in black zig zag, I wanted the yellow and the trim also, hope to hear from you anxious to get started, many thanx Helen

  21. Lol, your not alone.
    I wish all the time I paid more attention when mom sewed.
    Your pillows look great!
    I may try them without stripes, l would go nuts trying to line them up.
    Keep sewing. Janet

  22. where can I buy the same fabric you use to make your 2 beautiful pillows please?

  23. Brooke Haidamaka says:

    So true. Hubbby got me a sewing machine this past Christmas but with two toddlers I have yet to sit down with it. This wonderful tutorial I am pinning and planning to do once preschool starts. Thank you much for posting it!

  24. How much did the project cost?

  25. Just completed my Giant Floor Pillow and would like to send you a pic maybe thru Email if you would like to see it, I am so very proud of it and so is my Great Dane Eubie, it is made from bed sheets. Please advise if I can forward pic to you, Helen

  26. I just want to say, you did an amazing job with the tutorial. I don’t sew at all, AT ALL! But I was inspired by these and your instructions. So, this weekend, I made one. I did it. and it looks amazing, thank you so much!!!!

  27. I JUST COMPLETED MY BEAUTY FLOOR PILLOW LARGE ONE, I USED VELCRO, CUT THEM IN MEDIUM SIZE STRIPS, SEWED IT INTO THE SEAM, LIKE A DUVET, LEAVING SPACE BETWEEN, THEY OPEN & CLOSE AND STAY CLOSED, WASH WELL, CAN PURCHASE ALL TYPES AT JOANN FABRICS. HELEN PS/ I WOULD LIKE TO SEND YOU A PIC OF MY FINISHED PRODUCT ????

    • That’s my idea! I’m happy it turned out right for you because the zipper idea seems too hard for a beginner like me…lol

  28. These make great dog beds too. I make two and use Velcro closures on the outer co er, making them easy to wash just the cover. then a little.Lysol or deodorizer spray and Sun while the cover washes and dries.

  29. Tanita Pidwell says:

    Oh…I’m just so in love with these, and have a very excitable 5 year old who will think this is just PERFECT for her room… Thank you :)

  30. Kmart, atleast here in the Buffalo New York Area sells beanbag chair stuffing at a reasonable price that mixed with the other stuffing may be a bit more comfortable. I just know from my experiences with the polyfill that it really takes A LOT to get a good stuff, it can be thin feeling.

  31. Andrea Moore says:

    I do understand most sewing terms but I agree with you wholeheartedly…..give anything you want to a try because you may surprise yourself;)

  32. I actually sew and have followed many patterns over the yrs as well as doing my own thing. You have put together a great easy to understand tutorial. Thank you!

  33. I quilt, so what about using a quilt as the top and bottom. Will give the pillow more support. My daughter wants four made for Christmas.

  34. If people are concerned with lumpiness. Use batting with the big squares. Just cut out batting same size and layer it with the fabric. Won’t show as many lumps.

  35. Very cute! One random question – where do you store them? We have some smaller floor pillows, and I love them, but cannot ever figure out where to keep them, besides in the middle of the floor!

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Hi Molly,

      We just have them out on the floor in our living room. We only really have seating for three in this room, so we use them an awful lot!

  36. Thanks for posting this tutorial, this was my first ever sewing project and they came out great

  37. Elizabeth says:

    I thinl a zipper on one side would make it easier to stuff. Putting the stuffing in pillowcases and stuffing the entire case in the floor pillow will help keep its shape and keep the kiddos from pulling the stuffing through the zipper.

  38. Pillow Fluff says:

    These pillows are great! But I’m not sure I would classify them as giant. Mine I made in 4ft by 4ft. My daughter took it to camp with her as her “mattress” instead of a sleeping bag.

  39. will someone make me one of these

  40. I love the combination of colors and patterns! I have been sewing since I was 5 (over 50 years) and I think your pattern is one of the most clever and original I have ever seen. I have never thought to sew a box shape this way, it is so easy and ingenious. Your directions are very good: clear, understandable and very user-friendly. You have mad talent, girl!

  41. I was wondering how much fabric would I need for making it 5 1/2 by 5 1/2 feet wide and 1 foot deep
    I know it’s a lot but I want it to be like a big body pillow / sleeping bag

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Kathryn,

      You’re going to have sew sheets of fabric together, because fabric doesn’t come that wide usually. The widest I’ve seen is 60 inches. So if you sew the fabric together, and allow for 1/2 inch seam allowances always, then you’ll need 3 3/4 yards total for the large squares and 1 1/2 total for the rectangles.

  42. Don’t forget to wash your fabric before you make anything that way the shrinking & stretching wont ruin your creation.
    Great job! Those fabrics are so happy!

  43. Lauren Griffin says:

    I pinned this tutorial when I first got my sewing machine. I have just made my first pillow for my step daughter and will be making another for my niece- appliqued initials included! Thanks so much for the easy step-by-step!!

  44. I’m 41 and just started sewing too after years of watching my mom make dresses, quilts, etc. She brought me a 1950s Singer portable straight-stitch machine this fall and all of a sudden I started making EVERYTHING. She’s really proud of me and I think impressed by my willingness to try all kinds of things. My favorite things so far have been reversible sundresses, and multi-pocketed purses. Both were made without patterns from online tutorials like yours! I even attempted a slipcover for my sofa, but that will have to wait until after the holidays :-D

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Jennifer,

      My next task is to make some slipcovers for two armchairs we have, but I’m super intimidated! Let me know how your sofa slipcover goes!

  45. Hi those pillows are great, unfortunately I can not make them as I do not have a sewing machine, do you custom make them, if so please let me know I’d be happy to pay you $40-$50 for one!

  46. Love them! My very next project for my kids and all the teens I wake up to sleeping in the floors in every room! They will love these! Thanks for sharing!!!

  47. So, how funny is it that I stumble upon this exactly one year after you wrote it and it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
    My story is really similar to yours except that I was 30-something and several states away from my expert seamstress FIT grad mother when I decided to get into sewing. Also, for some unknown reason, my Hubby owned a sewing machine. Anywho, thanks for the awesome tut! These will surely come in handy for my kiddos who refuse to sit on the couch.

  48. I need to make a 44″ by 44″ and 6 to 7 inches deep cushion for a oak pallet I stained and put 8 8inch table legs on to make myself a huge cozy pallet for my escape room. How much fabric do you think I would need to be safe. Thanks for your time.

    • Jewels Phraner says:

      Hi Ashlee, to calculate yardage, you add all your pieces (including seam allowances) together then divide by 12 (inches to feet) and then divide by 3 (feet to yards). So for you, it would be 45 (44 inches plus 1/2 seam allowances on each side) +45+8+8+8+8=122/12=10.167 feet of fabric; 10.167/3=3.389 yards of fabric. If you’re doing two contrasting fabric for the sides, it would be 45+45=90/12=7.5 feet/3=2.5 yards for the large pieces and 8+8+8+8=32/12=2.67 feet/3=0.89 yards for the sides. I always add half a yard for mistakes, so you can do that too if you want.

  49. Inspired me to make a mat for my yoga but I will use egg crate foam and only make it 3 inches high

  50. Anonymous says:

    As a long time sewer, I think you did a GREAT job of explaining your process!! Keep it up!

Trackbacks

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