This is a must-read guide on DIY pillows: where to find fabric and how much the whole project would cost. It is full of ideas on throw pillow ideas, fabric sources, project total costs and budget breakdown.
If you do the math, starting a pillow collection can be expensive
We all LOVE pillows. Whenever I listen to decorating tips on easy ways to decorate your home, I hear about using decorative pillows all the time. It is without a question that how much impact it brings to the space and how much personality it adds to your home.
However, pillows can be expensive. It usually ranges from $20 – $80 per pillow depends on the size and brand. And when you think about that you probably need at least 10+ pillows for your home at the same time, plus change them seasonally – it can be quite expensive!
So after looking at pillows online and in store, I have decided to make as much DIY pillow as possible to cut on the cost, plus it is guaranteed to fit my home decor style. My current pillow collection is 50% store bought and 50% DIY. And I’m slowly converting more fabric into cute pillows!
Another big pro for DIY pillows? You can add zippers or any openings! some store bought pillows are completely sewn closed, so there’s no way to wash the cover by itself.
DIY pillows fabric sources and cost breakdown
The soul of a pillow is the fabric, and finding pretty and affordable fabric to make DIY pillows can be tricky sometimes. I used to buy fabric from online or local fabric stores, but recently fell in love with creative ways to source fabrics locally (seeing and touching the fabric in person is just so important to me, when it comes to home decor fabrics)
Below I have listed my go-to decor fabric sources and the cost breakdown (if you would like to have zipper as the opening, add $1-3 to the cost per pillow). Most of those pillows are used in my dining room. Check this out if you want to see those DIY pillows in a space.
First, let’s talk about why I don’t shop fabric by the yard any more:
Fabric by the yard is the most traditional way to source home decor fabrics. It is my go-to source in terms of buying fabric to make clothes, but not so much for home decor purposes. Here’s the main reasons I don’t shop fabric by yard for DIY pillow projects:
- they tend to be more expensive. Shopping fabric by yard tend to be more costly compared to my other three creative sources. They are usually around $10 – $30/yard.
- When I shop in local stores, there’s not a lot of pretty decor options; for online purchase there is many choice, but it can be hard as I cannot see and touch those fabrics in person.
- I need to be constantly “on the hunt”, meaning that looking though tons of fabrics to find something looks classic and versatile for my home. On the contrary, the three other sources I mentioned below are more of the premium selection. Think about this: The designer at Pottery Barn, Target, and other stores has hand curated a selection of fabric that they think will work great for most of the homes. So picking from their curation is way easier than picking from the wild.
My go-to fabric source #1 Tablecloth
Tablecloth is probably the most affordable home decor grade fabric you can find. I bought this 60″ by 104″ stripe tablecloth for around $16! With that much fabric, you can make 5 medium sized throw pillows! That is $4 per pillow.
My go-to fabric source #2 Dish Towel
Dish towel is a great fabric for DIY pillows as it has so many options! This IKEA dish towel set is only $3.99 and you can make 2 medium sized pillows or 4 small lumbar pillows. That is $2 per pillow.
dish towel sources:
My go-to fabric source #3 Napkins (20 x 20)
I love buying pretty napkin from Pottery Barn and make them into pillows, such as this one. I bought two of these during a sale and made them into a pillow. They costs me under $10. It is more money than dish towel and table cloth, but I have to say: It is made of very durable linen and the pattern is just stunning! It has become my favorite throw pillow in my home, and interestingly Pottery Barn have the same fabric pillow retail for $50! You can literally save $40 by sewing those two napkin together and add a zipper!
20 x 20 napkin source:
Other creative sources to find home decor fabrics
Besides the above three ways to source pretty home decor fabrics, There’s a few other creative ways to find fabrics:
- Fabric Placemats: I have seen some really cute fabric placemat at Target that I am going to convert one into a lumbar pillow!
- Window Curtains: Similar to table clothes, curtain would make a great decor fabric source. Most of them are medium-weight fabrics.
Things to look for when shopping for fabrics
Choose medium to heavy weight fabrics. For home decor purpose you want them to be very durable, so lightweight won’t hold well. And I would recommend to buy home decor fabrics than garment fabrics(those are more flowy, lightweight and fragile). That’s why I like to buy table cloth, dish towel and napkins, as they were made for home decor use.
Color and pattern
Rather than making a dress, your DIYed pillows will probably be on display most of the time. So pick color and pattern that match your home style.
How to make your own DIY pillows
I remember when I first learnt sewing, the beginner projects are always making throw pillows. Now I understand why – Making throw pillows is one of the easiest sewing project but with great results.
I have made a couple DIY throw pillow tutorials both with step by step written instructions and videos:
This DIY pillow tutorial is about how to make decorative pillows that look chic and expensive! I used a zipper as closure so it is not only easy to clean but also looks well-made (just like those ones from Serena & Lily)
Read written instruction.
This DIY throw pillow features using invisible zipper. I also added tassels to jazz it up. The invisible zipper installation is my simplified version so you don’t have to struggle with the traditional tedious installation but still have a very hidden zipper closure!