Sewing

Published on June 21st, 2011 | by Becky Striepe

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How-To: Make a Pillow Without Polyfill

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pillow

Who says you need petroleum-based polyfill to stuff a pillow? Not me!

I thrifted a very beautiful, mostly comfortable chair with a matching ottoman for my crafty studio. Unfortunately, this chair doesn’t offer the lower back support that I need, and after a few evenings nursing a sore back, it felt like time to do something about it! A rolled up blanket did the trick, but where’s the fun in that, right? That’s when I remembered that I’d been meaning to try making a pillow without using any polyfill to stuff it, and it felt like the perfect time to try it out.

So what are we going to stuff this pillow with, if polyfill’s out? Fabric scraps! Those teensy, tiny scraps of fabric that just won’t be useful for anything else. Before you do this project, you’ll need to start saving all of your tiniest fabric scraps and bits of thread that would normally go into the bin. It takes a lot more stuffing to fill a pillow than you’d think, so save up for a while. You’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping your scraps in a well-sealed container, because you don’t want to delve into your stash only to find that there are bugs in there. Seriously, this happened to me, and it broke my heart to toss all of that saved up material.

I made the body of my back pillow out of a vintage valence, but plain ol’ fabric will work well, too. A valence is that short curtain that folks sometimes layer with a full sized curtain to add a touch of charm or maybe use in a high kitchen window that doesn’t need a full sized curtain. A friend gave me a bag full of vintage valences, and since I only had two windows that needed a dash of cute, the others have been languishing in a bag in my studio.

If you aren’t using a valence, don’t fret! You just need to finish the edges of your fabric with a 1″ seam before you start this tute. You could also use a vintage dish towel and save yourself some sewing!

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About the Author

Hi there! I'm Becky Striepe, a green crafter and vegan foodie living in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband and two cats. My mission is to make eco-friendly crafts and vegan food accessible to anyone who wants to give them a go. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • http://www.witchhazelsplace.com Witch Hazel

    So funny to see this today. I’ve been collecting my tiny scraps to use for pillows since I saw a friend collecting them at the quilt store to make dog beds for the animal shelter!

  • frogmama

    If you really want to get serious about ammassing a large amount of scraps in a short time, check with a local quilters guild or quilter friends.  You may even be able to find a quilters retreat center if you can have a special bin for scraps only that quilters can put their scraps in. 

    Do you think you could also add rags like worn out undershirts or socks that are cut up?

  • http://buildingasustainablelife.blogspot.com/ Jaime

    Yes! Thank you! I was planning on stuffing a few pillows with old t-shirt scraps and wondering if I was crazy…

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