How to make throw pillows: The 5 minute DIY version using standard shams

Now that the walls are painted a perfect shade of Revere Pewter and the upholstered headboard with nail head trim is done, I'm moving on in my master bedroom makeover with the details that really make a room.  My first project is a set of DIY throw pillows.

I ordered the $200 Poetical by Barbara Barry king size comforter.  (That was the sale price...yikes!) Usually, I wouldn't spend that much, but I really loved the look and I'm pretty picky about comforters so I splurged a bit there. (Click here for how I really made up for the cost with sheets and the coverlet.)

The comforter set came with two king size pillow shams.  Not only were they enormous and way oversized for our pillows, but I'm not a huge fan of pillow shams...so I decided to introduce them to my scissors and sewing machine to make four throw pillows.

These were seriously the easiest and cheapest pillows I've ever made.  Think about it, most of the work is done for you and you're left with only one side to sew.   The pillow shams were so large, they were each good to make two large throw pillows.  Here's a quick tutorial for how to make throw pillows out of standard shams - making them this way you can actually either stuff them yourself with fiber stuffing or use 20x20 or 18x18 pillow insert.   (This only works for shams that have a center envelope style closure as seen in the picture below.)

Lay the pillow sham out on a flat surface with the opening facing up just to get an idea of where you're going to undo the seam. 

Turn the pillow sham inside out.

Using a seam ripper take out the side seam where the two sides of the "envelope" overlap.  Do this on both the top and bottom sides of the sham.  It's kinda of hard to describe, which is why I'm including so many pictures so you can see what I did.

Now, literally cut right down the middle of the sham so you're left with two squares -- each with three sides sewn and one open.

Here's where you have a decision to make. The cheaper way to go is definitely to stuff the throw pillows with fiber.  Since I made four, it ended up costing me less than $2.50 per pillow and I still have a ton of stuffing left over.  I bought a $20 5lb box of
Polyester Fiberfil stuffing.   I was able to use a 50% off coupon at AC Moore, so it only cost me $10.  I looked at the pillow inserts and even on sale they would have each cost me $8-$10 each for a total of at least $36 for the four pillows.

If you want to use pillow inserts - fold down each of the edges and sew it so you have a nice edge -- but don't close off the fourth side.  Instead, you'll have to attach a button to the shorter front side and a loop on the flap to keep it closed once the pillow insert is in there.  Waa Laa you're done!

If you want to stuff the pillows yourself with stuffing, which is what I did, sew the edges together with the exception of a small opening that is just big enough for your hand to fit through.  (My sewing line is in black see the little bit on the one side and then the entire fourth side?)

Small opening left for stuffing
After you sew around the edge, flip the throw pillow case back so it's right side out.

Now, take your fiberfil stuffing and just stuff until your heart's content.  I find it's best to just keep on stuffing until I think the pillow is fully stuffed -- then I put one more handful in.  Move the stuffing around until your happy with it.
Using a needle and thread, hand sew the small opening to close it up.

And now you're done! I told you it would only take five minutes to have gorgeous throw pillows on your bed.

Either way you make the DIY throw pillows-- stuff 'em with inserts or fiberfil fluff -- you'll save big over buying the coordinating Barbara Barry Poetical 18-inch square throw pillows which sell for a whopping $75 EACH!  (I can't even believe that's real!) And that's why you make throw pillows to coordinate with your bedding.

Other DIY projects in my Master Bedroom Makeover series:


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