In pursuit of a simple, fabulous, imperfect life at home.

Tutorial: Quick and Easy throw pillows from a bedsheet

Before I start, I just want to say: this is not a sewing tutorial.  We are going to sew, but this is not a sewing tutorial.  I don't do those.

Sewing tutorials are best left to people who measure, and press and serge and know what all those doo-hickeys that came with their sewing machine are for.

We aren't going to do any measuring. Or pinning.  Or serging.

This is a how to make throw pillows before the two year old wakes up from his nap tutorial.

You will need:
  • A bed sheet  (I got mine from a second hand store for 5 bucks)
  • matching thread
  • some throw pillow inserts
  • scissors and pins
  • a ruler and a pencil (optional)
  • one sleeping toddler, enough grapes and stickers to amuse older children for an hour, and two beautiful infants happily dozing and sucking away on their pacifiers. (optional, obviously!)

We're going to be giving the pillows these easy-peasy overlapping backs.

AND we're going to do it without having to make any hems by using the top and bottom of the bed sheet!

Cutting your Pieces 

Lay the sheet right side up on your table or the floor.  Fold the top of the sheet in to the middle, and then fold the bottom of the sheet in to overlap the top by a few inches.  Here's a picture with the corner folded back to show you what I mean.

Lay your pillow on top of the folded bed sheet. Like this:

Now cut around the pillow, leaving an extra inch or so.  Don't worry if you discover you can't cut straight, maybe you'll have better luck sewing straight.

Ta-da!  Now you have the makings of one basic pillow.

If you want a plain throw pillow, you could just pin and sew around the outside edge of these pieces of sheet just the way they are, turn it right side out and your done!  But if you want ruffles (and of course you want ruffles!) keep reading.

Easy Ruffles 101

Start by cutting long strips from the remaining sheet fabric.  I folded mine so that I could cut the whole length at once.

I used a ruler to draw a straight line, but i didn't bother measuring anything.  Not all my strips are the same width, and that's okay.

On your sewing machine, turn your stitch length to it's highest setting, and turn your tension to it's highest setting and then sew a straight line down the center of your long strips.  While you sew, hold the thread a little to create more tension.

The strips will ruffle up before your eyes, like magic!  Make sure to finish your strip by going backwards and forwards again on the sewing machine so that it doesn't all unravel.

Once you've tried this and seen how awesomely easy it is you are going to want to put ruffles on everything. Pillows. Your duvet. Your curtains and t-shirts. The cat.

(just kidding. No cats were harmed in the making of this tutorial!)

Constructing the Pillow
Once you have your ruffles, pin them in your desired pattern to the good side of the front piece for your pillow cover.  This is the piece that was on the bottom when you cut around your pillow.

Sew the ruffles in place.  Don't forget to change your stitch length and tension back to a normal setting first!

Then lay your pillow front on the table with the ruffle side up and lay your back pieces on top, good side down. Pin your pieces together and sew around the outside.

Now turn your pillow cover right side out and put your pillow insert in.  Voila!  Throw pillows in less time than it takes a three year old to get bored of a sheet of letter stickers!

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave a comment and say "hi!"


  1. This pillow is so pretty. Thank you for linking to the Home Decor and Organizing link party. I featured this on my FB page today.

  2. What a great idea! I have 5 boys, and we always seem to wear out fitted sheets way faster than flat sheets, I'm thinking there is now a great reason I saved them all! AND how cozy is a sheet/pillow to snuggle on the couch with!!

  3. This is absolutely darling! Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. i tried doing this for two hours. the thread kept breaking and it didnt ruffle right off the foot. I could only get about 6 inches to ruffle using this method. :( what am i doing wrong? I don't know. but it doesnt work...

  5. Hi Mrs. Strange! I'm sorry this didn't work for you! I'm not sure what went wrong, but I do have one suggestion: make sure your using good thread. Don't use old thread or dollar store thread. I started buying quality thread a few years ago and I'm so glad I thread NEVER breaks anymore! Hope that helps!

  6. I did use Guttermans and i have come to the conclusion that my singer Simple sewing machine just isnt awesome enough for me to do this. No worries. I will have have to do it buy hand...which will take less time than it will to mess with my machine anymore. :) thanks tho! your pillows are fabulous!

  7. I just found your blog and I LOVE IT!

  8. Hi Kelly, I'm BRAND new to your blog but I LOVE IT!! All I'm wondering is how the HECK does she do it?! I am a homemaker also, and have just one child - a 19 month old boy - and I struggle to get and stay organized or even just CLEAN every day! What are your secrets? How do you do it with so many kids? Do you have a cleaning/organizing routine you could point me to? Plus, you're hilarious and plus a Christian (as am I). Great blog, I can't wait to see what's next!!

  9. omg your rag quilt is so wonderful. I am making one myself red and white w/ a big OU in the middle. And yes ww are okies!LOL I will be putting it on for folks to see as soon as i get this wonderful site figureout, I just signed up last nite. i feel think we my think alike so i will be following you. Thanks, andGod Bless hun!
    Tessa is my name:)

  10. Olá, estou amando os seus projetos DYU!Obrigada por dividir. Beijocas!

  11. Love your tutorials!! And your sense of humor!!

  12. very pretty. thanks! i was curious about washing, do the ruffles fray?

    1. They do fray a little bit. It would depend a lot on what type of bedsheet you use.

  13. Hi, Very Pretty Pillows. Thanks for sharing!

  14. This is awesome, if my sewing machine hadnt broke, I would make some for christmas gifts....and thanks for the laugh...but maybe I will make a pillow for my cat too...when my sewing machine is fixed...thanks for sharing!

  15. u r pretty impressive. i adore ur many talents thanks for sharing:)

  16. What kind of bed sheets did you use to make them if you remember?

  17. Just found you and love the pillows. I want to make some and have sheet now that I can use. The ruffles are great. Can't wait to do this.. Wanda

  18. I just made pillow shams using this same method. turned right side out and then stitched 2inches in from the edge for a edging..I used a walmart sheet. Cost about 2.00 a sham since I also got a valance out of it. It was z twin size shee.


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