how to make diy pillows from old clothes and fabrics at home 2
how to make diy pillows from old clothes and fabrics at home 2

Are you tired of old clothes taking up space in your wardrobe, but you’re not ready to part ways with them? Look no further! In this article, you will discover a simple and creative way to repurpose your old clothes and fabrics into beautiful DIY pillows for your home. Say goodbye to clutter and hello to cozy decorative pieces that add a personal touch to any room. Transforming your old garments into pillows has never been easier, so let’s get started!

How To Make DIY Pillows From Old Clothes And Fabrics At Home

Choosing the Right Clothes and Fabrics

When it comes to making DIY pillows from old clothes and fabrics, the first step is to choose suitable materials. Look through your closet or storage and select fabrics that are in good condition and match your desired pillow designs. It’s essential to identify materials that are sturdy and can withstand the wear and tear of being used as pillows.

Identifying suitable materials

As you evaluate your old clothes and fabrics, consider their texture, durability, and color. Fabrics like denim, corduroy, and cotton are excellent choices for pillow covers due to their sturdiness. Avoid materials that are too delicate or prone to tearing, as they may not hold up well as pillows.

Considering the size and pattern

Another factor to consider is the size of the clothes or fabrics you’re using. Larger pieces are more suitable for square or rectangular pillow designs, while smaller items can be repurposed into unique and creative shapes. Additionally, take note of the pattern or design on the fabric. Consider how it will look as a pillow and whether it will complement your home decor.

Checking for stains and damages

Before you begin working with the fabrics, thoroughly inspect them for any stains, damages, or odors. Stains and odors can be challenging to remove, and damages like holes or tears may affect the overall appearance and functionality of the pillow. If the clothes or fabrics have significant flaws, it might be best to set them aside for other repurposing projects.

Preparing the Materials

Once you have selected the appropriate clothes and fabrics, it’s time to prepare them for pillow-making. This involves cleaning the materials, removing buttons and zippers, and cutting them into square or rectangular shapes.

Cleaning the clothes and fabrics

Before you start cutting and sewing, it’s important to clean the clothes and fabrics thoroughly. Follow the garment’s washing instructions, and if necessary, pre-treat any stains before laundering. This step ensures that your DIY pillows start fresh and free from any dirt or odors.

Removing buttons, zippers, and embellishments

To create a smooth and comfortable pillow cover, it’s recommended to remove any buttons, zippers, or other embellishments from the clothes or fabrics. This not only helps with the sewing process but also prevents discomfort when resting your head on the pillow. Use a seam ripper or scissors to carefully remove these elements before proceeding.

Cutting the materials into squares or rectangles

To begin creating your pillow cover, measure and mark the clothes or fabrics into square or rectangular shapes. Use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure accurate dimensions. Once you have marked the fabric, carefully cut along the lines. It’s essential to have clean, straight edges for easier sewing and a neater finished product.

Deciding on Pillow Designs

Now that you have your prepared materials, it’s time to decide on the pillow design you want to create. Whether you prefer a basic square or rectangle pillow, an envelope pillow, a shirt or sweater pillow, or a patchwork pillow, there are various options to choose from.

Basic square or rectangle pillow

The basic square or rectangle pillow is a classic and versatile design. It’s relatively simple to make, especially if you’ve cut your fabric into the desired shape. This design works well for both decorative and functional pillows.

Envelope pillow

An envelope pillow style involves overlapping fabric flaps at the back, resembling an envelope. This design eliminates the need for buttons, zippers, or other closures, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those looking for a quick and easy project.

Shirt or sweater pillow

If you have sentimental old shirts or sweaters that you no longer wear but want to keep their memories close, repurposing them into pillows is a wonderful idea. Cut out the front or back panels of the shirt or sweater, sew them together, and stuff them to create cozy and meaningful pillows.

Patchwork pillow

For those with a bit more sewing experience and creativity, a patchwork pillow design can be a beautiful way to reuse small fabric scraps or different colored clothes. This design involves sewing together multiple fabric pieces to form a unique and visually appealing pattern.

Basic Steps for Sewing

Whether you’re making a basic square pillow or a more intricate design, there are several common sewing steps you’ll need to follow. These steps include measuring and marking the fabric, pinning and stitching the fabric together, leaving an opening for stuffing, turning the pillow cover inside out, stuffing the pillow, and closing the opening.

Measuring and marking the fabric

Before sewing, it’s important to measure and mark the fabric according to your desired pillow size. Use a ruler or measuring tape to ensure precise measurements. Mark the fabric on the wrong side using fabric chalk or washable markers.

Pinning and stitching the fabric together

Once you have measured and marked the fabric, it’s time to pin the pieces together and start sewing. Place the fabric pieces with their right sides facing each other and use straight pins to secure them in place. Sew along the marked lines, leaving a small seam allowance for a sturdy and secure pillow cover.

Leaving an opening for stuffing

When sewing the fabric together, be sure to leave a small opening that allows you to insert the stuffing material later. This opening is typically left on one side or at the bottom of the pillow cover. Remember to reinforce the stitches at the beginning and end of the opening to prevent it from unraveling.

Turning the pillow cover inside out

After sewing, carefully trim any excess fabric and clip the corners to create sharp corners when the pillow cover is turned inside out. Gently turn the fabric inside out through the opening, using a pencil or similar tool to push out the corners for a crisp and clean finish.

Stuffing the pillow

Now comes the fun part – stuffing the pillow! Choose a filling material that suits your comfort preferences. It can be polyester fiberfill, feather or down inserts, or even shredded memory foam. Slowly and evenly stuff the pillow through the opening, ensuring that it is plump and comfortable.

Closing the opening

Once you have finished stuffing the pillow, it’s time to close the opening. You can use a hand needle and thread to sew the opening shut using a slip stitch or a ladder stitch. Make small, discreet stitches that blend with the surrounding fabric, ensuring a secure and invisible closure.

How To Make DIY Pillows From Old Clothes And Fabrics At Home

Alternative No-Sew Methods

If you don’t have access to a sewing machine or prefer a no-sew approach, there are alternative methods you can use to create DIY pillows from old clothes and fabrics.

Fabric glue or adhesive tape

Fabric glue or adhesive tape can be used to bond the fabric together instead of stitching. Apply the fabric glue or adhesive tape along the edges of the fabric, press them together, and let them dry according to the product instructions. This method works well for lightweight fabrics and is ideal for temporary or decorative pillows.

Knotting or tying the fabric

For a rustic or bohemian look, you can knot or tie the fabric together to create a no-sew pillow. Simply overlap the fabric edges, tie them in a knot, and repeat until the entire pillow cover is secured. This method works best with thicker fabrics like denim or corduroy.

Using iron-on hem tape

Iron-on hem tape is another convenient option for creating no-sew pillows. Cut the hem tape to match the fabric’s edges, place it between the two fabric pieces, and use an iron to activate the adhesive. Follow the instructions provided with the hem tape for the best results. This method is quick and easy and provides a strong bond.

Adding Embellishments and Personal Touches

To make your DIY pillows even more unique and personalized, consider adding embellishments and personal touches. This allows you to showcase your creativity and further enhance the aesthetic appeal of the pillows.

Sewing on decorative buttons

Decorative buttons are a great way to add texture and visual interest to your pillows. Choose buttons that complement the fabric color and style, and sew them onto the pillow cover using a needle and thread. You can create patterns, add focal points, or scatter the buttons randomly for a whimsical touch.

Attaching ribbons or bows

Ribbon or bow embellishments can instantly transform a plain pillow into an eye-catching decorative piece. Add ribbons along the edges of the pillow cover, create bows at the corners, or attach ribbon accents in patterns or shapes that suit your style. These additions not only add visual appeal but also provide an opportunity to tie the pillow in with your overall home decor.

Embroidery or applique

For those with sewing skills or a desire to learn, embroidery or applique can be an excellent way to customize your DIY pillows. Embroider a monogram, a favorite quote, or a decorative pattern onto the fabric using colorful embroidery floss. Alternatively, create applique designs by cutting out fabric shapes and attaching them to the pillow cover with small, hidden stitches.

Painting or stenciling on the fabric

If you have a flair for painting or stenciling, consider incorporating this into your DIY pillow designs. Use fabric paint or textile markers to create unique patterns, designs, or images directly on the fabric. Stencils can also be used to achieve more intricate or precise designs. Experiment with different colors and techniques to achieve the desired effect.

Cleaning and Care Tips for DIY Pillows

Once you have finished creating your DIY pillows, it’s important to know how to clean and maintain them properly. Here are some cleaning and care tips to prolong the life of your handmade pillows.

Regularly fluffing and airing out the pillows

To keep your pillows in good shape, make it a habit to regularly fluff and air them out. This helps distribute the filling and prevent it from becoming lumpy or uneven. Additionally, airing out the pillows allows any trapped odors or moisture to dissipate, ensuring a fresh and hygienic pillow.

Spot cleaning with mild detergent

In the event of stains or spills, spot cleaning is usually the best method to preserve the integrity of your DIY pillows. Gently blot the affected area with a clean cloth or sponge and a mild detergent solution. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing vigorously, as this can damage the fabric or spread the stain further. Allow the spot to air dry completely before using the pillow again.

Machine or hand washing instructions

Depending on the fabric and filling of your DIY pillows, you may be able to machine wash them. It’s important to check the care labels of the fabric and use a gentle cycle with cold water. Use mild detergent and avoid overcrowding the washing machine to prevent undue stress on the pillow covers. If machine washing is not recommended, you can hand wash the pillows with care, using a gentle detergent and lukewarm water.

Drying methods for pillows

After washing your DIY pillows, proper drying is crucial to prevent mold or mildew growth. If the care label allows, you can tumble dry the pillows on low heat or a delicate setting. Add a couple of clean tennis balls to the dryer to help fluff the pillows during drying. Alternatively, you can lay the pillows flat on a clean, absorbent surface or hang them to air dry, ensuring that they are fully dry before using them again.

Repurposing Ideas for Unwanted Pillows

If you find yourself with unwanted DIY pillows or simply want to try something different, there are various repurposing ideas you can consider. Instead of throwing away the pillows, repurpose them into useful items or donate them to those in need.

Donating to local shelters or charities

If your unwanted pillows are still in good condition, consider donating them to local shelters or charities. Homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and animal shelters often appreciate donations of clean and functional pillows. Call ahead to inquire about their requirements and arrange for drop-off or pick-up.

Using pillows as pet beds

If you have furry friends at home, repurposing unwanted pillows as pet beds is a fantastic idea. Simply remove the pillow cover if it doesn’t suit the pet’s preferences or fits their bed better. Place the pillow inside a washable pet bed cover or a soft, sturdy fabric casing. Your pets will appreciate the cozy spot to rest and sleep.

Transforming into floor cushions or poufs

Unwanted pillows can also be repurposed into floor cushions or poufs, providing extra seating or lounging options in your home. Remove the pillow cover if desired and create a new cover using durable and visually appealing fabric. This way, you can match the floor cushions or poufs with your home decor while giving new life to the old pillows.

Recycling the pillow stuffing

If the pillow covers are no longer salvageable, don’t forget to recycle the stuffing material. Polyester fiberfill and other synthetic fillings can often be recycled with local recycling programs. Check with your nearest recycling center to ensure they accept this type of material. Recycling the stuffing helps reduce waste and ensures that it can be used in a sustainable manner.

Benefits of DIY Pillows from Old Clothes and Fabrics

Making DIY pillows from old clothes and fabrics offers several advantages, making it a worthwhile endeavor for any creative individual. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy.

Cost-effective and environmentally friendly

By repurposing old clothes and fabrics into pillows, you can save money on purchasing new pillow covers or even new pillows altogether. Instead of throwing away unwanted items, you’re upcycling them into functional and decorative pieces. This practice is not only budget-friendly but also environmentally friendly, as it reduces waste and promotes sustainability.

Customizable to match your home decor

One of the joys of creating DIY pillows from old clothes and fabrics is the opportunity to customize them to your liking. You can select fabrics that complement your home decor, choose the size and shape that fits your needs, and add embellishments that reflect your personal style. This level of customization allows you to create pillows that seamlessly blend with your existing furnishings and bring a unique touch to your living spaces.

Opportunity for creative expression

Repurposing old clothes and fabrics into pillows provides an outlet for creative expression. You can experiment with different fabric combinations, explore various pillow designs, and add your personal flair through embellishments and decorative techniques. This creative process fosters a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, allowing you to showcase your individuality and artistic abilities through functional and beautiful pieces.


Making DIY pillows from old clothes and fabrics is a rewarding and creative endeavor. By carefully choosing suitable materials, preparing them properly, deciding on pillow designs, and following basic sewing steps, you can easily transform old items into functional and decorative pillows. If sewing is not your forte, alternative no-sew methods offer convenient solutions. Don’t forget to add personal touches through embellishments and take proper care of your DIY pillows to prolong their lifespan. If you have unwanted pillows, consider repurposing them or donating them to those in need. The benefits of DIY pillows from old clothes and fabrics are numerous, including cost-effectiveness, customization, and the opportunity for creative expression. Start reimagining your old clothes and fabrics today and bring new life to your home decor!

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Amanda Bryant
Hello! My name is Amanda Bryant, and I am thrilled to be your go-to Chiropractic and sleep expert here at With years of experience and a passion for helping individuals achieve a restful night's sleep, I am dedicated to providing you with insightful tips and techniques to promote optimal sleep health. As a respected chiropractor, I have earned the trust and credibility within the industry. I hold numerous prizes and awards, recognizing my expertise in the field. With a deep understanding of the crucial relationship between quality sleep and overall well-being, my goal is to empower you with knowledge that can transform your sleep habits and enhance your life. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of assisting countless individuals in their journey towards improved sleep. Through my dedication and commitment, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that a good night's rest can have on one's physical and mental health.