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One surefire way to create one-of-a-kind home furnishings is to harvest eye catching fabric from your local Goodwill or thrift shop. I’ve been on a plaid mission for the past few months. It started with any and all plaids but now I’ve fine tuned my eagle eyes to find big plaids, unusual colors and good quality fabric (mostly 100% wool).  The big pleated plaid ottoman I upholstered a few months ago kicked off my passion for mod plaids. Here’s a 3 for 1 tutorial on harvesting fabric from a jacket, making covered welt cord or piping, and how to professionally stitch it around your fabric pieces and attach the two ends together.

You need:

1 or 2 cleaned plaid garments (good colors)


pillow form

welt cord

welt cord or zipper foot

sewing machine

curved needle

fabric for the back of the pillow

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Here’s how to get some fabric from the jackets.

1.  Open up jacket, cut out the lining and find a large enough piece of the fabric to cut out a pillow front.

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FliptPillowTalkPlaid 013a2.  Using a quilters ruler, cut 1 3/4″ strips on a large section of a garment where you can cut it at a diagonal.

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3.  Add a nifty welt cord foot to your sewing machine or you can use a zipper foot. Check out this foot with two arches underneath it so I can sew single and double welt cord.

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4.  Stitch cut strips together to make welt cord. Snip off threads and cut seam allowance to 1/2″ where strips are joined together.

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5.  Beginning at bottom center of the right side of the plaid, stitch cording in place, clipping the cording seam allowance at the corners so the cording will turn easily.

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6. Now just look at the photos to see how to attach the two ends of the cording at the bottom of the pillow. This technique is used on all pillows, cushions, ottomans and other upholstered pieces that have covered welt cord.

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There are so many good things about doing a project like this.

You help Goodwill (a very worthy cause)

You recycled garments into a newly usable product

You designed and created your own pillow

You learned how to cover welt cord and stitch it in place

You added a little spark of plaid to your room. A little plaid goes a long way but a touch of plaid really adds some upbeat color and pattern.

You can also come across some barely used down filled pillow forms at Goodwill for a fraction of the cost of a new down filled pillow insert.

on Pillow Talk: Harvested Plaid Fabric from Go