Finding skirts and jackets made out of spectacular wool plaid at local thrift stores has become a hunt that I relish. Checking out women’s skirts and men’s sport coats for bright or unusual eye catching plaids is standard procedure. When something stands out, I hold it up and try to imagine it as a pillow, or even as ottoman fabric. Here’s a little secret I discovered a few years ago: pleated skirts have lots of fabric once you remove the waistband.
When I came across this very short skirt, with the plaid on the diagonal, I knew it would be the perfect color and pattern for pillows. I had to have it. Even though there wasn’t much useable fabric, I just loved the poppy-colored plaid. It’s a difficult color to find, and I was smack dab in the middle of a room redecorating project. That shade of red was exactly what I needed.
After cutting off the waistband and removing the lining, there was just enough fabric to make two pillows as long as I used another fabric for the back sides. Even high-end stores use plain fabric on the back of pillows that have specialty ‘wow factor’ fabric on the front. A piece of soft gray velvet would only make the plaid pillows look more luxurious.
After stitching up the pillow pieces, I decided to really up the ante and create down-filled inserts instead of using cheap fiberfill inserts. This was an easy and inexpensive upgrade because I’ve also collected a few gently worn down-filled pillows from thrift stores when I find some good ones. It’s fairly routine for people to donate perfectly good down-filled pillows when the fabric is out of style. All you have to do is take off the old covering and salvage the down filled inserts. Making your own down inserts is a messy job, but if you can get through the feathers, it’s quite economical.
You’ll need to use either the old ‘down-proof’ ticking fabric or make it from scratch to prevent the feathers from poking through the pillow cover.
When I showed my family everything I had made from Goodwill purchases, they were stunned. With just a little bit of ingenuity, it’s not that hard to make high-style home accessories out of the goods others generously donate.