I have always wanted a velvet floor pillow and each time I browse online for homewares of any sort, I inevitably fall down a rabbit hole of day-beds, floor cushions, and anything with tufted edges or jewel tones. Back when I was still planning for my room away at school, I knew that if I would be taking dance classes in my room, I would only have room for a bed and maybe a desk. With space in short supply, a floor pillow sounded like the perfect functional décor. Like I said, a velvet floor pillow has always been on my wish-list, but I always put it off until “next time” because they are always so dang pricey.
My mom has had an old floor pillow for longer than I’ve been alive and it has resided in the same corner of our house for so long that it’s camouflaged itself into the surroundings. Needless to say, no one was using this floor pillow. My mom confirmed it had no sentimental value and gave me the go-ahead to work some magic to transform this pillow into a cozy statement piece.
If you are brand new to sewing or need a little refresher, check out this post on 10 Sewing terms you should know
Supplies for creating your DIY velvet floor pillow:
- Crushed stretch velvet
- Fabric for inner pillowcase (muslin, cotton, old sheets, anything with some structure)
- Pillow stuffing/Batting/or foam
- Thread for hand sewing (color that matches the fabric)
- Measuring tape
- Fabric scissors
- Rotary cutter (optional)
- Sewing machine
Don’t skip this step!
As much as I wanted to jump right into the velvet, I needed to make an inner protective pillowcase out of cotton first. I made this inner pillowcase twice, so you only have to once. I used a fabric that had more structure to it (You can use muslin or really any cotton fabric with a little more substance. Old sheets or a tablecloth are great options for reducing waste.) Think of this step as creating a fabric box.
Cutting the fabric
To make a single pillowcase, you will need three pieces of fabric:
- Two 26inx26in squares: Square A and square B
- I referred to the pillow I had to determine the size. The squares are equal to the area of my old pillow, plus a little extra, plus the seam allowance.
Note: My biggest mistake was not cutting the fabric at exact right angles. This caused the corners to connect wonkily, hence making the inner pillowcase twice.
- One 104inx5in side strip: Just one long thin piece, that creates sides 1, 2, 3, 4
- The side strip’s length is equal to the perimeter of the square. And its width is the height of the actual pillow once constructed plus two seam allowances.
Note: I did not have a long enough piece of fabric to cut out one strip that was long enough, so I cut out a couple strips that were the exact same width and sewed them together to create a longer strip.
Prepping & pinning the pillowcase:
- With the wrong side facing up, on each corner of the two squares, draw two intersecting lines an inch away from the edge, forming an “X.” Draw a darker dot at the middle of your X. This indicates your seam allowance, which can between ½ inch to 1 inch.
- Match up the right sides of Square A and the long strip at one corner. Pin the strip to one side of the square. We’ll call this Side 1.
(If you’re feeling lazy and think you don’t have to pin it in place, think again, my dude.)
*Quick Reality Check* Place all the stuffing you’re planning to put in the pillow onto one of your squares to make sure your case won’t be too big or too small.
On the sewing machine
- Sew from the top dot to the bottom dot of Side 1. When you reach the bottom dot, back stitch a bit. Then take it off of the machine, clipping your thread.
- Make a small snip into the long thin piece of fabric (not the square) to the dot that you just ended at. This little cut will only be as wide as your seam allowance.
- Turn the fabric 90 degrees, lining up Side 2 to Square A. Since you snipped into your long strip, you are now able to lay that piece flat along the edge of Square A without it gapping.
- Repeat the process of pinning, sewing, and snipping on Side 2, 3, and 4.
- Instead of snipping Side 4 after take your project off the machine and clip your thread, you will join Side 4 and Side 1 to create a corner. Lay your fabric flat with Side 1 on top and Side 4 to the left. Side 4 will naturally overlap onto Side 1.
- Take the free corner of Side 1 and fold the corner up to the right so that you’ve created a small triangle.
- Lay Side 4 flat over the now-folded corner of Side 1. At this point, the top left corner will have 4 layers of fabric: Side 4, the folded bit of Side 1, Side 1, and Square A. Pin Side 4 to the folded bit of Side 1.
- With your thumb and pointer finger, pinch the top left corner and
Repeat this process for Sides 1, 2, and 3, with Square B and leave the 4th side open (so that you have an opening to stuff your pillow).
Note: Attaching Square B will be a little trickier because Square A is already attached.
Stuffing your pillow
You can stuff your pillow with whatever stuffing/batting/foam suits your fancy. I reused the stuffing from the old floor pillow I rehabbed. I planned to do French tufting later on (look out for part two) so adding foam gave it the extra structure I needed on the sides.
Hand-sewing to close the pillowcase
After stuffing, hand sew the last side together with this nifty “invisible” stich.
Velvet pillowcase time!!
Once you have your inner pillowcase finished, you’re in luck because the outer/decorative pillowcase requires the exact same process. Make sure that you switch out the color of thread in your machine as needed.
Read this if you are upcycling an old pillow:
First, I removed all fringe from the pillow with a seam ripper. I wasn’t super precious with it, because I wasn’t going to use the fabric of the pillow for anything structural. There were two layers of fringe (this is not very important, unless you too have an old floor pillow with fringe) I also used some good old fashioned seam rippers (my hands).
I harvested the fringe and saved it for more projects to come. Click here to see how I used it to make a fringed lampshade.
Keep an eye out for part two coming soon! There I’ll share how to spice up your floor pillow with French mattress stitching and tufting with covered buttons!