Up-cycled Pillow for You or Your Dog (or Both)




Introduction: Up-cycled Pillow for You or Your Dog (or Both)

Some of us are staying home (maybe to our parent's house) due to this pandemic. Maybe you have a dog, maybe you don't (mine is sadly not at my home). But in an effort to practice sewing and make some fun stuff out of old stuff, I decided to make this large, bean-shaped pillow to share with my dog. The shape can be whatever you want, but I decided to make a bean.

This is the first iteration, it is just under 3 ft wide but it can be adjusted to whatever materials you have. My goal is to eventually make a giant version.


  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread (or you can hand-sew but it would take a while)
  • 2 old, unused fabrics (I used an old fleece blanket and pillowcases)
  • Pins
  • Synthetic pillow stuffing (you can rip apart old pillows or just use encased stuffing without totally destroying the pillow)
  • Washable marker or chalk
  • Iron (optional)

Step 1: Choose Your Fabric

Choose fabrics that you are not using and are at the end of their life. I found an old fleece blanket that is thin enough to fit with my regular sewing set up that wouldn't require a different needle or foot. I'm lazy. I also found some old out-of-style decorative pillowcases; it seemed right that they would be repurposed into a pillow. I chose 2 florals.

I recommend using fabric that is thicker than a t-shirt. Pillow-cases are designed for pillows so they performed very well! In sum:

  1. One nice fabric that you would like to sit on/look at
  2. One old/thicker fabric that you don't mind being on the ground and getting dirty

Step 2: Outline the Shape on One of Your Fabrics

Use a washable marker or chalk to sketch the shape on the inside of your fabric (i.e. the side that will face inside the pillow, not out to the world). Use any reasonable shape. I made a bean.

Here, I have just sewn two pillowcases together. I cut their existing stitches to they are just one layer of fabric. Here is a youtube video about stitching two fabrics together: stitching two fabrics together using lock stitch

If you are using two fabrics stitched together, iron over the seam after to make it look nice!

Step 3: Cut Out the Shape

If you used two fabrics like I did, you will need to lock the ends of the seam again after you cut through it!

Step 4: Trace the Shape Onto Your Second Fabric and Cut It Out

Step 5: Pin the Two Fabrics Together

Place the out-facing sides of your fabrics together so that you have an inside-out pillowcase that is not sewn together.

Pin the fabrics together using pins along the edge. Pin along the entire edge.

Step 6: Start Sewing

Make sure to leave a gap somewhere so you can turn your pillow right-side-out and stuff it. I used a zig-zag stitch and I locked the beginning and ends of my stitches. I sewed half the shape in one go and then sewed the second half, stopping at the seam between the two pillowcases.

Also, make sure to remove pins as you sew.

Take your time, this is sewing on a curve.

Step 7: Stuff the Pillow

Once the two fabrics are sewn together, flip the pillow right-side-out and start stuffing. Make sure to "fluff" the pillow as you go and fill it more than you think. The more stuffed, the better.

Step 8: Hand Sew the Hole and You Have a Pillow

Simply hand-sew the gap you left for stuffing and congrats, you have made a new pillow.

Now give it to your dog. Or keep it. Or share it with your dog (depending on relative sizes of you, your dog, and the pillow).

This shape is also good for sitting up in bed if you don't want to put it on the flood.


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