How To Make Your Own Pillows from DISH TOWELS {Part 1}

January 7, 2014


LOVE THIS!!! Make a Pillow from $3 Dish Towels by Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body.

It's no secret that I LOVE Ikea.  There are so many budget-friendly QUALITY items at Ikea that it is a go-to source for us.  Therefore, it should be no surprise that I went to Ikea to buy a few things for the girls' new “big girl” room {check out the full reveal HERE}.  I purchased their curtain, curtain rod, picture frame ledges and comforters at Ikea.  Our closest Ikea is about 1 1/2 hours away, so I don't there often and do some general growing {time permitting} whenever I visit.

During my visit to make purchases for the girls' room, I found myself in the kitchen/cooking section.  If your asking yourself how that could possibly happen, you obviously have never been to an Ikea :)  In any event, I fell in LOVE with these bold, striped dish towels, which were $2.99 each.


Photo Source: Ikea

I WANTED them, but I did not need them for our kitchen.  That's when I realized that the colors were perfect for the girls' big girl room.  Yay!  Ummm, but I still needed something to DO with them.  Seconds later, in another inspired moment {if I do say so myself}, I realized I could make throw pillows with them, so I purchased four FOR LESS THAN $12.00.  I also grabbed two Ikea feather pillow inserts while I was there.  They are AMAZING quality for the money–$6.00 each.  So, for around $24.00 I had the makings for two custom throw pillows.  Read on for a full tutorial on how to make throw pillows from dish towels!

Materials Needed for 1 pillow:

  • Two dish towels {one for the front and one for the back–you can use the same towels or mix them up!}
  • A pillow insert that is smaller than the dimensions of your dish towels
  • Scissors
  • Push pins
  • A basic sewing machine {I got mine several years ago for less than $100 on}

Learn to make throw pillows using kitchen towels! {Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body}

Now, I will let you in on a shameful secret.  I HATE sewing.  Hate it.  Hate it.  Hate it.  There, I said it.  Judge me all you want.  Yes, I am crafty.  Yes, I am creative.  No, I do not like my sewing machine.  But, I do have one because there are many, many times that sewing things saves me a ton of money.  It's a necessary evil, but I don't enjoy it.  Sorry.

Needless to say, I take as many shortcuts as I can when sewing.  In other words, I do not like to measure, etc.  So, here is the simple method I followed to make these pillows:

1) First, I laid out the dishtowels and removed the tags and hanging tabs with scissors.

 Learn how to make throw pillows from kitchen towels! {Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body}

Learn how to make throw pillows from kitchen towels! {Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body}

2) Lay the dish towels on top of each other with the “good sides” facing each other.  This is important because you will basically be sewing the pillow cover inside out, so you must be sure that you are sewing on the “bad sides.”

3) Lay your pillow insert on top of the dish towels {with the towels still laying on top of each other as described above}.  In my case, my pillow insert was 16 x 24 inches and my dish towels were 20 x 28 inches.  I positioned my pillows on top of the dish towels and lined the pillow up about 1 inch {this will allow for the bulk of the pillow insert} from the top edge and the left side edge of the towels.  I did this so that I could use two of the finished edges on the dishtowels as sewing guides.  Clever, huh?  To create your sewing guide for the remaining seam that you will sew, you simply need to place pins in the dish towels about 1 inch from the edge of your pillow insert.  As I said, I don't measure or mark when I sew, so “about an inch” is as specific as I can get.  Place as many pins as you think you need to, bearing in mind that this will be your guide for sewing a straight line.  I used only a couple, but if you think you want more guidance while you sew, place more.

Learn to make throw pillows from kitchen towels! {}

4) Now you are ready to sew!  You will sew along the “sewing guides” that are formed either by the finished edges of the dish towels or with your pins.  If you can drive and form a straight line, I promise you can sew these pillows.  IMPORTANT–only sew three sides.  You need to leave one side open so you can stuff the pillow inside!  I opted to leave one of the short sides open to leave myself less hand stitching {you will think this is even funnier when you read part 2 of this post later this week}.

Learn to make throw pillows from kitchen towels! {}

5) Now you will need to cut off any excess fabric from around the perimeter of your stitched seams, leaving about 1/4 inch of fabric outside of each seam.  In my case, since I used the finished edges of the towels as the outer perimeter for two edges of my pillow, I only had to trim excess fabric off of the third seam that I sewed where there was about 4 inches of extra fabric.  You will also want to trim excess fabric from the fourth edge of the pillow insert {that has NOT been sewn yet} leaving at least 1 inch of extra fabric, which you will have to close up after you put the pillow insert in.

6) Alright folks, now turn your pillow cover right side out and admire it for a moment before stuffing your pillow insert in it.  Then, get to stuffing!

This is what your project will look like at this stage.  Up to this point, I spent no more than 30 minutes to make both pillows.

FRIENDS, I AM NOT GOING TO LIE TO YOU.  I got stumped at this stage because I have never really learned how to sew a blind stitch {i.e., a stitch that you can't see, which is what you want for a finished pillow edge}.  I am even going to confess to you that at this stage in the project I had an EPIC FAIL, which I have since corrected.  I hope you'll come back in a couple of days to learn all about how to finish your pillow {and also, how not to do it}.  Trust me folks, the final step really does deserve it's own post.  It's that funny and more importantly, informative.

What do you think of the fact that you can make custom throw pillows with dish towels?!  There are SO many dish towels and dish towels with fabulous fabrics and they are thick and durable.  The possibilities are endless.  And this is such a thrifty project.  Two custom pillows with feather inserts for $24.00?!  If you stuffed the pillows yourself, you could do it for even less!  Who's going to give this a try?





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  1. […] And how I made the striped pillows out of inexpensive Ikea dish towels: […]

  2. […] may also enjoy learning about how I made some of the other decorative items in their room, like the dish towel throw pillows, or their personalized, no-sew name […]

  3. […] How to make a pillow from a dish towel, from Tasha at Designer Trapped in a Lawyers Body… she has some skills! […]

  4. […] you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy my post about how to make fabulous throw pillows from dish towels or my post about how to make a custom monogram pillow without sewing anything {do you see a theme […]

  5. […] names and some ric rac trim.  I made the wide-striped pillows with $2.00 kitchen towels from Ikea {you can find the tutorial here}.  Finally, we made the DIY upholstered headboards ourselves {the DIY headboard tutorial can be […]

  6. […] may also enjoy my tutorial on how to make the bold striped pillow out of Ikea dish towels {sorry, that one does require some […]

  7. Tasha, these are awesome! I wish there was an IKEA closer to me! Although, maybe it’s a good thing too;) These pillows are such a great idea though.

  8. Tasha- I thought of you when I drove past Ikea. Thanks for sharing- would love for you to link up again this week! laura

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Laura! That’s funny and sweet that you remembered! I plan to link up with every week. Thanks for stopping by again!

  9. These are awesome! I never would have thought of dish towels! Thanks so much for linking up at Thursday STYLE! We love seeing you every week!

  10. […] dish towel pillow? Genius! Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body created this awesome pillow despite some bumps along the way– be sure to click over to part 2 […]

  11. laura says:

    You had me at Ikea and down pillows! I always buy the $3.99 foam pillows and throw a ribbon around them (and blog about it later). Now I need to track down the down! Would you please link this tutorial to Friday Favorites at

    Love the color of the towels! laura

    • Tasha says:

      Lol! Thanks, Laura! It’s always nice to know I am not the only Ikea lover :) Ikea down inserts really are amazing! Heading over to your link party now!

  12. First time to your blog tonight as found you via Thursday Style Link-up. Happy I did. Your blog looks like so much fun. I’ve made many pillows for my home — none fancy and also not a big sewer, other than a straight line,but have forgotten about the use of dish towels and there are so many great ones — I love Ikea, too and we don’t have one anywhere near us — it’s a 5 hr drive to Chicago for it but I, too, LOVE their pillow inserts. I’ll add your social media, too, as be fun to keep up with your lovely blog!

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Dana! Thanks so much. I am glad we found each other’s blogs! I look forward to following you :) Have a happy weekend!

  13. Super cute!! I love IKEA.

  14. Jelli says:

    So pretty! I can’t sew to save my life, but I will be pinning this to share with all those crafty ladies who can run laps with the Singer! Thanks for sharing!

    • Tasha says:

      LOL! Thank you, Jelli! I only learned out of necessity, but if you checked out Part II of my post, you can see that I am NOT good at sewing. My hand stitch was an EPIC FAIL! Thanks for stopping by :)

  15. I love the dishtowels. Great idea for a couple of inexpensive pillows!

  16. Amber says:

    Totally crushing on your blog! Thanks for linking up to Give Me The Goods! So great to have you! I’m following you on Bloglovin! (I don’t know how it’s possible but I was your first follower on there! I feel special!)

    Amber @ Averie Lane

    • Tasha says:

      Awww, thank you SO much Amber! I ADORE your blog! This is SO weird, but you don’t show up as a follower of my blog on Bloglovin. I hope I didn’t lose you when I moved from Blogger to WordPress a few weeks ago! I have to tell you that I am so touched by the story of your beautiful daughter, Averie :) I think of you and her so much, especially since one of my daughters is named Avery. The name is now even more special to me.

  17. Kelly says:

    Next time try using an envelope closure (google Envelope closure pillow). No hand sewing to close the opening and you can remove the cover to wash or switch out the decor easily!

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Kelly! I totally agree with you about the ease of making envelope closure pillows and I have made many of those in the past {without wanting to tear my hair out}! Unfortunately, you need more fabric for those. The size of these pillows was largely dictated by the size of my dish towels :) Thanks so much for stopping by!

  18. […] If you missed Part 1 of this post, which walks you through the steps to get you to the point pictured above, you can check it out HERE. […]

  19. What a great idea – and a great deal! Love those colors too!

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for stopping by! I am totally in love with these pillows. I hope you will come back to check out the finished project {and to hear how I finally closed the darn things}!

  20. One tip for closing up the opening is fusing the fabric with Heat n’ Bond. It can be a bit tricky, but this has been my go-to solution for everything lately since my sewing machine is on the fritz! I used this method for my DIY window seat cushion last summer. Details here:

    • Tasha says:

      Hi Steffany! I could not publish your comment today because I did not want you to give away my secret before I did! Now that I have published part 2 of the post, I can tell you that you are very wise! I did use hem tape to finish the girls’ pillows. It saved my life! I only wish I had started that way instead of experiencing my epic fail blind stitch!

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