See Sister Make a Placemat Pillow

So my husband recently purchased a chair for his office. From Home Depot of all places! I love this chair for two reasons. 1) It was super cheap as far as leather chairs are concerned. 2) More importantly, it keeps him in his study.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my hubby and I love that he works from home so I can see him often. But back when he only had a desk chair, he would come downstairs anytime he had prolonged reading to get done and sit on our comfy couch. While I could (mostly) leave him be, our children had a much harder time understanding that Daddy was working. To them, Daddy + book = story time!


I would then feel the need to keep them away from him – which isn’t very easy in our smallish house. So again, I am thrilled he finally has a non-desk-chair spot to sit and read his very boring long textbooks. And to make it even more comfy and stylish for him, I added a throw pillow.


Actually, it doesn’t look that bad from here… but let’s zoom in on that pattern.


For some reason he didn’t feel this pillow was masculine enough for his study! Seriously, I made this one (from a placemat at Pier One) for our bedroom and he stole it to give himself a little lumbar support.


So I set out to find him a lumbar pillow but I had zero luck.  Nothing was quite right. Then I saw this placemat at Crate and Barrel. It is so my husband’s style. Black and white, masculine, perfect. So I used a coupon and got it for him. You might be wondering how to make a pillow from a placemat. Well, let me show you!

Actually, wait.  No. Before we move on check out the picture above again.  Notice how this placemat has a front (with squares) and a back (solid).  Before you attempt my placemat-to-pillow tutorial, make sure your placemat also has a back.  You will need an entirely different technique if you are gonna make a pillow from a placemat with no back.  I actually have another placemat with no back that I will inevitably turn into a pillow and I will bring you a new tutorial then.  For now…. LET ME SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE A PILLOW FROM A PLACEMAT!  WHOOP! WHOOP!


First grab your supplies.  This includes my usual cast of characters for every sewing project: pins, Gingher embroidery scissors, thread and a seam ripper.  Also, you’ll need a placemat (duh!), and some stuffing.  See that black peeking out below the placemat?  That’s an old black floor pillow that my husband brought to our marriage.  It had a weird shiny-ness to it that I never liked and since we had stopped using it long ago, Fix said I could use it’s stuffing for this project. RIP Shiny Black Pillow.  If you don’t have a Shiny Black Pillow of your own, then buy a bag of pillow stuffing from Joann’s or Michael’s or any other crafty place you like to shop.


I always include the seam ripper in my list of supplies ’cause I assume I will make mistakes.  But in this case, it’s actually a necessity as you need it to do the first step.  After pulling apart the two sides of your placemat like the picture above…


Rip a small hole in the seam.  I made this one about 4 inches wide. I think. I am horrible at estimating.  You can really make it as big as you want, but the smaller the hole, the easier it will be to sew it back up without it being a huge eyesore on the side of your pillow.


Put a pin on each side of the hole you made.  This will keep the hole from getting bigger.  See the shiny-ness of that pillow underneath?  Blech.


Open up the Shiny Black Pillow and start pulling out it’s innards. Then the next step is perhaps the most important one of all…


Turn on something fun to watch. My current fave is Elementary.  Something about Jonny Lee Miller’s accent and Lucy Liu’s wardrobe and the awesome way they solve crimes that no one else can… I’m hooked.  Anyway, it’s fun to have something fun on while you stuff your placemat.


Time for a confession: I am sorta hyper picky about my fluff.  See that clump? I do not tolerate clumps in my pillows. So it takes me far too much a long time to stuff a pillow.  I like to think the end result is better, but I don’t know if that’s the case. It’s just something neurotic in me.  So go ahead and be as picky or as non-picky about your fluff as you want but stuff that pillow super full.  Make sure you stick your finger in and push some stuff into the corners of the pillow.


When it looks like this, you are ready to sew!


You can sew the edge by hand if you’d like.  That’s what I normally do because I find sewing on the edge of a pillow to be tricky. But since I spent far too long stuffing my pillow this time, I didn’t want to spend any more time on this project.  So I pushed all the stuffing down into the pillow and pinned it about an inch (remember I can’t estimate — maybe this is half an inch? an inch and a half?  It doesn’t matter) from the edge.  Then I pinned right along the edge.


Then you just need to sew it up! Be very careful to get rightupclosenexttotheveryedge but also be very careful to get the underside of the pillow in the stitch.  This is where I failed and wished I had hand sewed it.  But the silver lining is that I got to use my seam ripper again.


Pull out your pins and TA-DA!  You have a new pillow!  And your husband’s study looks ever so much more masculine!  And everyone rejoices!  Okay so maybe it’s just me and my hubby who are rejoicing but whatever. That’s how you make a pillow from a placemat!

What about you?  Have you ever made a pillow from a placemat?  Did you do it like this or do you have another technique? Do you ALWAYS end up using your seam ripper to correct a problem or am I the only sewing dolt?


3 thoughts on “See Sister Make a Placemat Pillow

  1. zuni says:

    I have never made a pillow. Full stop. Love the look of this one!

  2. Megan says:

    Super crafty. I like helping with things and can use a seam ripper. But nothing else.

  3. fixfabulous says:

    Oh Megan – If only we lived next door to each other like back in the Seminary days… Then you could come over and not help me. ❤

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