Apartment Redress: Say goodbye to lumpy pillows: Part 1

I’ve made a few pillows over the years. Seriously, just a few. And I’ve not liked a single one. It’s not that the designs weren’t cute, they were. It was that they were lumpy. With each one I tried a different way of stuffing them:

Pillow stuffing method 1: Huge chunks because I didn’t know better = super lumpy horrible (okay so this was when I was like 10 years old, so don’t hold it against me).

Pillow stuffing method 2: Small chunks loosely packed because I didn’t know better = flat crappy, kind of lumpy (again, only 16, don’t hold it against me).

Pillow stuffing method 3: Read the directions on the stuffing and filled my pillow densely with small bits = a pretty okay pillow, but miss shaped and meh over time (this one was in the last 5 years, and I’ve tried it over and over again with different packing and densities of stuffing).

Pillows are Easy Right?

I am really frustrated. I mean pillows are easy right? It’s a beginner project. Why the heck can’t I get it right? I can sew corsets. I can sew dresses. How is I can’t stuff a freaking square correctly? I have to admit, I haven’t done a pillow in a really long time because I just got sick of struggling with it. But I have this awesome idea for a woven top pillow, I want it to be awesomely stuffed. I’m giving pillows another chance because I think this idea is worth it.

Two Parts to my Pillow Stuffing Adventure

And going on this pillow stuffing adventure, I’ve decided to tackle another question that’s been met with equal failure on my part: What do I have on hand that I can use to stuff the pillows with? Can I use fabric, yarn, old pillow stuffing, clothes, plastic bags? I’m not sure, so I’m going to make a series of test forms to find out what works best.

So going into this, there are two separate, but connected questions I want to find the answer for:

Part I: What is the best way to stuff a pillow so it doesn’t get all lumpy and flat?

Part II: What materials do I have around that I can use to stuff all these pillows I want to make?

How do you Say Goodbye to Lumpy Pillows!

From everything I’ve read around on the internet, the best way to make a pillow so it’s not lumpy is to make a pillow form out of a layer of batting covered by muslin fabric (or scrap cotton). I think this is an excellent idea for a few reasons:

1. It gives you a lot more options for making your pillow with recycled stuffings. Anything that might have a chance of poking through (newspaper corners, feathers) and smooths out any slightly irregular packing (fabric, plastic bags, newspaper, yarn bits).

2. If you make your pillow cover removable you can easily wash the cover if something gets spilled on it. Always a good idea if you want to keep your handmade pillow in commission for a long time.

3. It’s a super easy step that leads to a much better looking pillow. Just make it.

Making a Pillow Form

There is a pretty good tutorial here on how to make a pillow form to match your pillow, but the general idea is that you cut the batting and muslin to the same size as you pillow cover so it looks nice and firm.

1. Place the batting and muslin in a stack: batting, muslin, muslin, batting.

2. Then you sew it on three sides, trim the corners, turn it muslin side out.

3. Stuff with stuffing (use small pieces, pretty densely packed), fold the open edges under, and stitch it shut.

Here is a long list of pillow making tips on All Sands that I came across, things like what size to make for what purpose (couch vs bed sort of thing). Okay so now that the question of how to stuff a pillow is solved, I am going to start tackling the recycled component question. Check back next week for the results!

Happy Crafting!

ps –  I came across these great Moroccan Pouf pictures and then pattern. I kind of really want to make one now. I might be forced to write up my own pattern in all this pillow adventuring, I’m not completely satisfied with the Amy Butler or the Decor 101 pattern. I have this image in my head and they aren’t quite matching up with that pictures.

5 thoughts on “Apartment Redress: Say goodbye to lumpy pillows: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Finishing Pillows
  2. So awesome. That's a great idea! I'm going to try the batting trick the next time I make a pillow.

  3. I looked up Lumpy Pillows online and found your site. I have a problem no one else has: My husband LOVES lumpy pillows. In fact…..I hate to admit this to anyone, but he has been using the same lumpy pillow for over 20 years! Disgusting, I know. I have washed the thing a few times over the years. It was actually made by an ex-girlfriend who took the time to create a custom pillow for him, and he won’t sleep with anything else when we are at home. Fortunately, he is not one of those people that need to travel with his pillow, thank goodness!

    The pillow has smallish squished lumps of cotton, which are all disfigured by now. These are all sewn inside a pillowslip. I think, originally this thing was much larger, but over the years it has become so flattened, that he has to double it up! Occasionally, it gets a leak and I’ll find little flattened cotton things around the bed.

    I really want to get rid of his pillow, but in lieu of that, I am considering making him a new one. Should I use your Pillow Stuffing Method 1 or 2? Any other ideas?


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