Sewing a Rosette Pillow from Thrift Store Clothes

My apartment is sorely in need of some new throw pillows to bring in a pop of fresh color. I was really inspired by this blog post from Oh So Crafty to DIY a pillow out of old clothes.

This rosette pillow from Target has been in the back of my mind, but I haven’t purchased it for a few reasons

  • my Target did not have any (and apparently now they are out of stock online as well).
  • it is too expensive for my pillow budget at $24.99+tax.
  • it really doesn’t fit with any of my current color schemes although I could have made it work on my old Craigslist sofa, but then I’d want two…which would be way beyond my pillow budget.

Enter some thrift-store ingenuity: a large skirt for the pillow, a printed shirt for the rosettes, and a pillow to use as stuffing. Sometimes my ambition passes up my sphere of expertise, as in this case. I thought sewing a pillow would be a cinch – but I don’t think I’ve sewn anything for at least 10 years, and never anything complex. So seamstresses, please feel free to grimace as you read; after all, I’m happy with the end product, however I may have arrived there.

I stuck the pillow inside the skirt and found that the skirt fabric wasn’t thick enough to completely hide the crazy bright pink pillow I had picked up, so I ripped off the pink fabric using a seam ripper. I wasn’t prepared for the massive amount of batting the small pillow was hiding. It somehow fluffed out over half my dining room table over the next day.

Next step: I cut the skirt down to the size of the pink pillow, thinking that would be a great size for my pillow.

I noticed that the raw edges of the skirt had been overstitched with a zigzag. So I read my sewing machine instruction manual like crazy and figured out how to change the foot to the zigzag one (not before I sewed the needle right down onto the straight stitch foot – oops) and changed all the settings. I then took care of my raw edges as seen below:

I liked the skirt hem and thought I’d border two sides with the extra 1.25″ for some further visual interest. The hem would be on one side and I would recreate it on the opposite side. I sewed the hem shut with a straight stitch. Next I turned the fabric inside-out and used a side seam of the skirt for one side of my pillow, and the other side I sewed shut with a straight stitch. That left me with one open side.

Now for the fun part. I cut approx 2″ strips from the printed shirt for turning into rosettes. I used 2 strips per rosette.

I tried two techniques for attaching the rosettes:

  • Twisting the fabric and pinning it into place, then hand-stitching all over the rosette until it stayed firmly in its place.
  • Pinning the middle down and hand-stitching slowly along the fabric in a spiral, and starting the second strip where I left off with the end of the first. This method looked the best. I bunched and twisted the fabric slightly as I sewed to make them a bit more frilly.

pinned in place

    sewn from the center in a spiral

    The nice thing was that no matter how messy my stitching, when I pulled the stitches tight the thread was usually buried in the frills of the rosette.

I was eyeballing the placement of the rosettes. I planned on making 9 total. So by the time I got to this point, I realized that I would be making my pillow a bit smaller than planned. Which was fine with me.

Rosettes finished! Fingers pricked approximately 30 times. A bit like picking real roses.

I measured and ironed into place the 1.25″ “flap” (not sure what else to call it) for the last side of the pillow. I then filled the pillow with batting and pinned it together to sew my last seam.

And here is the final DIY Rosette Pillow! I love it!

Total cost of pillow:

Salvation Army skirt: 2.40
Salvation Army shirt: 1.75
Salvation Army pillow: 2.99
Total Cost: $7.14, a $17.85 savings from the Target version.

You can see my other frugal nursery decor as well as other bloggers’ ideas in this post.


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