I realized while writing a post featuring beautiful home accents that building my own stash of durable, friendly floor pillows was going to be a mandatory course of action in making our new home super cozy.
The best part about creating your own set of pillows is that you can choose a pillow form and a few yards of fabric and — wham, bam — sew yourself a simple little pillow. Easy as pie!
But what if you want something that you can toss around, sit on, and step on? That requires a bit more thought, which is why I turned to making DIY floor pillows using heavy duty area rugs.
The common rag rug is an exceptional piece. It’s durable, colorful, and inexpensive — the trifecta of what you want (or what I want) when it comes to a home decor piece that needs to last through a lot of mileage. Floor pillows need to be large enough to be sat on. Large enough to serve as a backrest against a wall. Large enough to substitute as a tabletop in a pinch for a child’s tea party.
For mine, I chose two $7 rag rugs from IKEA. Each was 24″ x 35″ which is conveniently just large enough to accommodate a GOSA ASTER pillow form from the same store, also priced at just $7. Here’s a tip: It’s always good to find a form that’s just a little bit larger than your casing. It helps to create more volume inside the pillow. It’s like they were meant to be together all along.
The thing with rag rugs over conventional fabric though? They’re heavy. Too heavy for the regular sewing machine, and even too heavy for a conventional needle and thread. You need something heavier duty to sew them, and that’s where you’ll want to read up on how to use an awl and hand-sew lock stitches. Master the awl, and you’ll feel like you can conquer the world!
Using lock stitching along three sides of the cushion worked well. For the fourth side, the side that I had to cut in order to make my pillow a 24″ square, I used the same heavy-duty cord and the needle of the awl to pierce and bind the fabric. Cutting a rag rug and disrupting the seams is a lot like tearing pages from a composition notebook. It makes the whole thing want to fall apart.
To remedy this potential disaster, I went very slowly and sewed looping stitches, almost like spiral binding a notebook. Yes, lots of notebook references, here — pillow making is very much like back-to-school season, apparently. With stitches every few millimeters to grasp the last three rows of rug together, this created a very heavy, strong and intertwined hem that has held up very well, even to the jump tests (i.e. where I jump on the pillow to make sure the seams remain in tact).
How often can you find durable, cushy, attractive floor pillows for $21? That’s right. Not very often. But you can make them easily with a few simple area rugs and a pillow insert. Happy pillow making!