Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY: How to Repurpose and Reinvent your Sofa Pillows

There is a lot of conversation going on in my circles lately about being "green" and living sustainably, and organically. I think this is great.

While a product of the 80's, and not always living out what I believe, I have always felt a strong connection to pioneer era history, as well as depression era history. I was a secret crocheter all through, even high-school. I didn't want anyone to know that I did such old-fashioned things, never mind liked it!

When I was growing up, my grandma always said, "Make do with what you have." That American Spirit we all love developed out of these generations, because life was hard, and resources were limited. I have always been inspired by that creativity ... necessity is the mother of invention!
People HAD to have certain mindsets just to survive:
"Make do with what you have." 
"Never throw anything thing away." 
"Waste not, want not"
"If you cannot fix it, then make it into something else, or save the parts to fix something else." 

This is where quilting comes from ... Women of the prairie needed blankets to keep their families warm. With little or no money, and stores were days and days away, and often limited selection, women got resourceful! Using scraps of fabric from sewing or mending clothing, they started sewing these little scraps together, until it was a big piece of material. They braided and crocheted and wove these pieces of fabric into rugs. And as this matter of necessity grew, the desire for the items to be not only durable and sustainable and economical but colorful and attractive too!

If someone needed socks, they were knit, by a person, not a machine.
If someone needed a sweater, it was knit, or crocheted. Fancy lace work was crocheted out of thread.
So many times these things were made from re-purposing other items that were worn out and no longer serviceable for their original purpose. Sweaters unraveled, the yarn washed and re-knit or crocheted into something new. The yards and yards of fabric of a woman's skirt might make two dresses for little girls, and a shirt for brother.

Compost was the original fertilizer. 

Popular "modern" catch phrases are "re-purposing" and "up-cycling".

OK. I think you get the picture.

These chenille sofa pillows had seen better days, that's for sure! So, in the spirit of the above "lecture" I decided to reinvent the sofa pillows.

I also had a bed pillow that was hard and flat that no one wanted, and I hated to throw all that poly-fill in the dump ... it's not Eco-friendly at all.

I cut the pillows open and dumped their stuffing in a big box, pulling and shredding as necessary to keep the pieces consistent.

I used 2 old pillow cases destined for the trash, and from the bottom I cut them into 18 inch squares, utilizing where they were already seamed! I sewed one newly cut edge to make a "pouch"

I cut the same size squares out of some upholstery fabric I've had for years. Folded along one edge (right sides together, unlike you see in the pictures, as I wanted you to see the texture), and cutting only 3 sides, this saves a little sewing time. I sewed them into "pouches", starting at a fold, stitching along the cut edge to the corner, turn, and stitch down the next cut edge, leaving one cut edge open for stuffing.

Now is the time to add any fringe or appliques, or other decorations to the outer layer of your pillow. Be sure that you stitch any additions on carefully, so they don't fall off, or get pulled by the little ones. Not only could you end up with a choking hazard, but you'd be very sad to have your hard work ruined so easily.

I filled the the pillowcase pouches with the re-shredded and remixed stuffing and sewed them shut across the top, rather un-ceremoniously I might add, but I tried to keep my seams somewhat straight, even though they wont be seen.
I tucked those inside the now right side out upholstery cases
I folded the raw edges to the inside about 1/2 and inch, and used long sewing pins to hold in closed. I sewed the opening shut with a machine,  being careful to remove the pins before they went under the presser foot, and being careful to keep the stuffing compressed, as it fights against the limited space under the head of my machine. I could have sewn it shut by hand if I wanted and invisible seem, but I was going for completion at the time.

They are nice pillows on my couch now;
and they only cost me a bit of time and creativity!

Thank you to my mom and grandmas and aunties for teaching me to be resourceful and creative!
What a very important part of
Living Well!

Love SuziQue

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