Placemats to Pillows

Remember when aqua and brown was having its fifteen minutes of fame?

That is still a lovely color combination, by the way, but it is no yellow and gray. If actresses were colors, Michelle Pfeiffer would be aqua and brown. Still lovely but definitely not Emma Stone or Emma Roberts (who the heck are they?).

Back in the day when aqua and brown was new and fresh, I had those colors in my living room. I also had a citrus-y kitchen at the time (orange and lime). Then we took out part of a wall and had an open-concept “great room.” It was crucial to tie those two color schemes together or I would lose my sanity.

I just wanted some striped fabric with those four colors so I could make some throw pillows or maybe some curtains. I mean, seriously. Was that so much to ask? Yes. Yes it was.

I looked EVERYWHERE. I might as well have been trying to tie together purple, yellow, black and red. There was nothing. I gave up on fabric and started looking for anything. Shower curtain? A shirt? Any textile that I could use to bring it all together would work just fine.

I finally found a placemat at Steinmart. It was perfect. It was striped, like I wanted, and it had orange, aqua, brown, green, and beige. I realize this is a well-known trick these days (thank you Pinterest and bloggers), but back then I had never heard of using a placemat for a pillow cover. I’m pretty sure I invented it.

Also, for the record, in the years that followed, people began to add orange to their aqua and brown for contrast. I’ll take the credit for that too. 😉

So anyway, I picked it up and was all, “is this enough fabric to get a pillow out of?” And then I was like, “Oh my word. It’s doubled perfectly already. I’m pretty sure I could just rip this seam here and stuff it.” And holy cow, it was the exact measurements of a pre-made pillow form (13×19). Hooray! No yucky batting lumps! Also, I already had some pillow forms on hand. I love when things work out like that.

I’ve done that again several times. In fact, the ikat pillows on my sofa right now are placemats. (No longer available, of course. You know I got them on clearance.)

When I saw these Valentine placemats, I knew right away that they would temporarily be used over my ikat pillows.


Could I purchase fabric and just sew some pillows? Yes. But then I would have more pillows to store, and that is a very bad thing. Besides, these are so cheap, they’re probably less expensive than fabric and the work is already done. Seriously, there is no easier sewing project. This is easier than hem taping curtains!

Use a seam ripper to undo the bottom (you could do the end for less work, but I want my seam to be at the bottom).

seam ripper ripped seam


If you don’t have a seam ripper, you can buy a cheap one for about a dollar. I’ve had this one since my seventh grade Home Ec class, but they haven’t gone up in price much…unlike milk, stamps, and gas. Holy inflation, Batman!

Slide the pillow form inside. I’m leaving my other placemat covers on because I’m lazy and don’t want to undo the seams and redo them just for two weeks.

stuff with pillow

Obviously if you are doing this for an all-the-time pillow, you’ll want a naked pillow form. Or, it might be a bit less expensive to stuff it with batting, but pillow forms sure make it easy and they’re not too expensive if you use a 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby (or wait til they’re 50% off). (You guys do know that there is always a weekly coupon available at Hobby Lobby, right? If you never learn anything else from me, this blog is all worth that piece of info. You’re welcome.)

Then you just sew it back together. By hand or machine. Either way is easy and fast enough for this one tiny seam. I’m using hem tape since these are for very short-term use, but the ikat ones are sewn.

hem tape iron closed

That’s it. Four new pillows. Told you. Easiest project ever! So next time you can’t find purple, yellow, black and red fabric, try the placemats.

placemat pillows

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