Duuuuude. I got back on the proverbial sewing machine horse. What? You haven’t heard that expression. Whatever. The point is: Sue the Napkin is now Sue the Pillow! Or more accurately Sue The Pillows (yup, I made two of them).
Here are my materials:
- Four Sue The Napkins (I originally got ten when we found them on clearance at Crate & Barrel, but I picked up four more so I could make two pillows using four of them and still have ten leftover to use as dinner napkins).
- Oh Brother (my
trustysewing machine, more on him here)
- Two old pillows to use as the “inside” of my new Sue pillow covers
- A needle and some brown thread to sew one edge of the pillow shut by hand (that way I can easily seam rip that last portion to free the pillow inside and make a different cover down the line if I’d like).
I’ll spare you every detail, but I basically just stacked two napkins on top of each other with the good printed side touching (and the back of the fabric showing on the top and the bottom of the stack) and used my sewing machine to sew three of the four sides completely shut while it was all inside out like that. I even turned the corner and did about an inch or two on each end of the remaining fourth side while they were still inside out on the machine. Then I removed the napkins and turned them right side in, stuffed a pillow inside my little napkin envelope (which now had the printed side facing out), and stitched the remaining expanse of about 10″ closed by hand with my brown thread (which blends in surprisingly well).
mentioned complained about before, I’ve ironically never had an issue with sewing by hand (it’s like painting by hand or demo-ing by hand, both of which I can do – I only have issues when I rely on a maniacal robot sewing machine). But as much as I whine about the ol’ new sewing machine, it did me right for my little pillow party. Am I a professional seamstress? No. Can I sew three straight lines without ending up with a birdsnest-looking-pile-o’-thread? I did this time. Strike up the band! Cue the fireworks!
And on the surprisingly-not-as-annoying-as-I-thought-it-would-be side of things, it only took me about four commercial breaks during Modern Family to whip up both pillows (so maybe about 12 minutes total? I was watching last week’s episode by the way, so don’t ruin this week’s for me).
Then I just stitched them closed during Bethenny Ever After (this took me much longer than it should have because I kept stopping to stare at the screen and guffaw at my imaginary BFF). But all in all, they look
a lot less demented much better than I expected. Actually – dare I say it? – like real pillows.
Oh and as pretty as the pillows look when they’re all fluffed and photographed for the blog, more often than not they really look like this. Because Burger makes it a personal goal of his to squish every pillow in the house into an ugly little blob. But he’s cute so we deal with it.
Sometimes he even stops to nuzzle Sue, as if to say “you’re my favorite napkin-turned-pillow too.” It’s always nice to get pillow validation from an eight pound chihuahua.
So that’s the tale of Sue The Pillow(s). Have you guys sewn any napkin pillows lately? Did you die over the whole Gloria hair-rings/earrings thing on Modern Family last week? Me too. Can’t wait to watch this week’s episode tonight.
heather s. says
I made some yellow pillows from napkins at Target: http://athomewithh.blogspot.com/2011/04/yellow-splash.html
I followed the no-sew instructions from Centsational Girl (normally I make mine like you did, Sherry, but I like that these can be removed to wash).
Tanya from Dans le Townhouse says
Heather, I’m with you – my pillows, even throw pillows, need to be washable. But I am horribly impatient with sewing, so my mom has helped me out and sewn some pillows with a zipper for toss-in-the-washability.
I was waiting to hear about them….I saw them in your “The Console Returns” post. They look great!!
Yes! After months of wrapping pillows with Sue to fake it, we finally got ‘er done!
Cait @ Hernando House says
Haha same here! Yay Sue the Pillow!
What an easy and great idea! I’ve been looking for a way to re-vamp the pillows on my couch- and what a perfect solution. Watch out napkins everywhere- you are about to become pillow covers!
[email protected] says
Especially awesome when Gloria thinks they won’t be mad because she did both ears and not just one.
The pillows look great. I have never sewn anything but ribbons on my toe shoes. And that is NOT a pretty story. ;)
Love them (and glad to see my dog isn’t the only one who sits on pillows like that)!
Krysta @ Domestic for Dummies says
The pillows look great as does Burger sitting on them! And I always die over that show. I have a serious secret crush on Phil.
Ashley Watson says
I absolutely love this idea.. and i am so going to try it! That saves will save me so much money.. pillow are expensive these days!
Ashley Watson says
Wow i just botched that comment lol.
Haha I like the word botched. Ten point for that. I need to work that in more…
My dad used to say ‘botched’ all the time. You are right – it’s a great word. It’s like beotch re-visted. “I really beotched that”. hahaha (ok, obv. I’m a language nerd)
Haha maybe that’s why I love it so much. Beeyotch makes me giggle.
Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove says
So excited to see Sue the Pillow! I love the colors and I think it really brightens the room up.
The pillow looks fantastic!!! You did great. Doesn’t it make you want to turn every napkin into a pillow now? Burger is too cute by the way. He reminds me of my shitzu Simon that loves his, mind you, his, not ours, pillows! Squishes the hell out of them too.
While I admit that Gloria’s hair-rings/earrings mix up was hilarious, months later I’m still cracking up over baby cheeses/baby Jesus confusion…and the “gargle”. Oh, and you didn’t miss much considering last night was another rerun :(
Noooooooooooooo! Boo. I need more Gloria and Phil.
Beat me to it, I was about to say the same thing. RERUN. And I just got started watching this show too, so I was sad to see that because of course I already saw that one.
Oh good! Not that I’m some crazy fan of reruns, but the ABC affiliate in Georgia was taken over by news coverage of the crazy tornado madness, so I’m glad to hear I didn’t miss anything good.
I was so bummed it was a rerun :( I wish they would have a new episode every night!
Robin @ Our Semi Organic Life says
love it! This is a project even I could handle, and maybe will… but I got rid of my (arch-nemesis) sewing machine so we’ll see.
sue the napking looks AWESOME as sue the formerly napkin now turned pillo!!!
and burger is just THE CUTEST!
errrrr…. i meant pilloW…. i can’t type!
Amy @ larryspearslive.com says
I love the idea of using napkins! I always find cloth napkins in stores and fall in love with their patterns, wishing I could buy the actual fabric. Also love how well that blue pillow looks next to it – the stitched pattern in the blue one next to Sue’s printed pattern. Looks great!
My chihuahua does the same thing with every pillow we own!
We love him :O)
Abercrombie Wife says
It’s like a burger sized bean bag!
Rachel K. says
Love them, they are fabulous! When did you get the blue pillows? I remeber from the previous pillow post that you had yeallowish ones. Love the blue with the Sue pillow!
Those are from HomeGoods probably a month ago. $12 each I think ($24 for the pair, sold together). Hope it helps!
Holly H says
Our dog does the same thing… no pillow or cushion is safe around here. But seriously the pillows look stunning – i’m kinda in the same boat as you in regards to the whole not getting on so well with sewing machines. Lately i’ve been tempted to get myself one, but i’m pretty nervous that the experience will go horribly wrong and i’ll end up with a machine that collects dust. But your experience is starting to encourage me… so thanks!
Genevieve Ferraro says
Love, love, love the pillows! And love the blog. Have to admit, I’m also jealous because your blog is sooo wonderful and Sherry, you look like a better version of Natalie Portman.
My sister told me about your blog and I’ve been lurking for awhile. Finally decided to comment. BTW, I just read your post about little bean’s birth. I had a C-Section with my first and my next little guy came 4 1/2 years later. I could not have asked for better spacing. Both are boys, now aged 17 and 21. (Yes, I’m a lot older than you.) No sibling rivalry, they are the closest of friends. I credit that to the years between their births and the fact that our family is crammed into a small house. So the boys had to share a room and learn to get along.
modern familiy was pre-empted last night by 4 solid hours of the abc weather team. i was glad for the weather updates but needed some dunphy-isms!
love love love! my oh-Brother is also a major source of frustration. I made gorgeous and intricate pillows by hand since I was a (craft-obesessed, slightly dorky) kid. Trying to make ANYTHING on the sewing machine and it’s all on a diagonal.
my cousin made gorgeous pillows for her sofa from C & B platemats, which had an identical print to some super-expensive C & B pillows, but were far less expensive. I am a sucker and just buy throw pillows on sale at Anthropologie, C & B, or Home Goods. Remember the gorgeous silk pillow I posted on YHL facebook page? $19 at Anthropologie!
You HAVE inspired me to make a cover for a Home Goods pillow that is not really doing it for me these days. I had thought about donating it, not covering. Brilliant! Thanks, Sherry!
I’ve never understood why people are willing to pay so much for pillows – I think $40 for one is a rip-off, and that seems to be on the low end for them now. Seriously, the easiest thing to sew, and if you make them yourself you can choose your own fabric. Your sewing looks great – go Sherry!
P.S. – little pillow making tip – when you turn them right side out, take your closed sewing scisors (or a pen with the cap on, erassor end of a pencil – anything pointy), and poke each of the corners out from the inside – that will give you nice crisp pointy corners. You might have done that though, since yours look fine!
I used my finger, haha. But scissors sounds much smarter and nice and pointy. Love it.
If you are lucky, your seam ripper handle curves to a point which is used to poke out corners. The curved part is useful for turning peter pan collars on little girls’ school dresses. Veddy British.
Ooh so smart. Love that idea too!
ok you are a girl after my own heart. im OBSESSED with bethanny every after. modern family is also at the top of my list. the hair rings/earrings was awesome. “its not hair rings its hair rings (=earrings)” i also loved last week when phil said “where did all the people go…oh wait i just blinked” when they were arguing over luke. best. show. ever. lets just say i get all your references. and burger…well i cant even start there. so freaking cute. i love the bed videos. i have a little maltipoo myself. those guys are just the best!
Lauren B says
Was in crate and barrel outlet by my house and saw these napkins for 1.50 each – immediately thought of you guys! Pillows look great and napkins are such a super cheap easy way to bring in color!
Yancey Young says
Do you guys plan to “drill holes” in Clara’s ears for some Hair-rings? I was rolling with laughter at that part also!
Congrats on the pillows, tension settings can be a B***H, but once you get it set you should be good to go, oh yeah and of course buy the correct bobbins…live and learn right!
Congratulations on conquering the sewing machine and getting great looking pillows too.
Love the whole napkins as pillow covers idea. I followed Kate’s no sew instructions from Centsational Girl to make some removable pillow covers and I love them! Great job making Sue a legit pillow!
Hmmmm…..now that I have typed the word legit, I have MC Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit stuck in my head. :-/
I was curious if you chose to close up the seam on the bottom as opposed to making the pillow close in the back more like a pillow sham for any particular reason?
A sham style seems easier, well for me, no sewing experience at all. But it will leave a visible seam causing the pillows to be somewhat “one-sided” when placed on the couch.
Side note: A friend turned my on to your site and I’m totally addicted. In the last month we’ve painted our bedroom, refinished the front door and kick plate, turned antique bronze door knobs into oil-rubbed bronze….etc. It’s been DIY non-stop at my house. Thank you so much for the inspiration and the addiction! lol.
Woah Charles, I’m just not that advanced. Haha. Someday…
Hah! I just posted about the sham-side pillow covers. I do all mine that way, and it is SO easy. :)
Please do tell – how do you turn antique bronze door knobs into oil-rubbed bronze? And how’s it holding up?
Some people use spray paint – maybe google around for tips? We actually are planning to look into it ourselves and will keep you posted!
It’s funny you call your machine a “he”. In Portuguese, it’s a she :) Nice hand stitches by the way.
They look great! Congrats on your victory over the sewing machine :)
The pillows look great. My grandmother was a seamstress for her career, yet somehow that didn’t get passed down to my mom and I. In high school sewing class I couldn’t even thread the machine.
And yes, as soon as Mitchell nodded right along approving hair rings I knew he had no idea what Gloria had said and was going to freak out. Loved the end too when Cam went back to the forgotten plot line of photographing Lily as famous singers.
now you might want to pick up some of these from Crate and Barrel to further accent your dining room with more “Sue-ness”! (is it bad that the first thing I thought of when I saw this design was Sue the Napkin?!)
Oh my goodness, obsessed!
This is so funny you published this link today. I had to go back in your previous posts to see who “sue ” was. We have a Sue too, we call her “Natasha” and her twin sister “Natalia”–because two pillows need two names and she is a sexy little napkin pillow. She actually is the inspiration for our whole house–actually our one bedroom apartment… aka our tin can. I found her at World market and fell in love with her silver blues and glorious corals.
Hilarious! She’s the most named pillow in the whole world.
karen @ our slo house says
Sue and her sister-wife pillow look great!! They do look professionaly-made. ;)
Modern Family was a rerun last night! Boo :(
They look great! And trust me, even sewing three straight lines was a HUGE challenge for me when I started sewing!
Just a little tip on the pillows: Instead of sewing them completely shut, If you sew it on all four sides with the machine, you can leave a slit in the back to take the pillow in and out for washing without having to rip seams. Think like the back of a pillow sham. It will require a few more seams to “hem” the edges of the slit, but all in all, it is very convenient to be able to quickly take the covers off when needed!
Great job, once again!
Ooooh I’d love to master that someday when I’m feeling more advanced! Haha.
I did the same thing with napkins a few weeks ago! I looked for months for pillows that were cheap and had the moroccan look. They are so expensive! I was walking through Target, and a Dwell studio tablecloth and napkin set was calling my name! My husband thought I was nuts and I was like, “If Katie Bower can make pillows out of a place mat, I can make pillows out of this!” They turned out perfect and yours did too!!
Your pillows look great!!! I too have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine but I do find it gets better (easier) each time. You may already know this (or not need to know since you are so good at sewing by hand) but I love the envelope pillow (a.k.a. pillow sham) No sewing by hand required and no ripping out stitching for changing out pillow inserts. http://sewing.about.com/od/freeprojects/ht/envelopebkpill.htm Hope this is helpful!!
Nice job…see, you can SEW!!! I like Sue in any form she is in…but the pillows look great.
Happy SUE PILLOWS!
Modern Family was a repeat last night!! :( (All the shows except Cougar Town were repeats)
I just heard that. Booooooooo to that.
Serina Shook says
Those are fantastic Sherry! I too started using my mom’s sewing machine when I was a child, luckily I never damaged it though. Learing how to use a darn sewing machine is a loooooong process that can only happen with LOTS of practice, so you go girl for keeping on keeping on!!!
Here are some curtains I sewed back in February:
The pillows look great! I haven’t tried to make a pillow from napkins but I might have to give it a whirl.
I haven’t watched last weeks episode of Modern Family yet. It’s killing me! My hubby and I watch together and he’s been out of town so it’s sitting on the DVR taunting me!
Katie @ explanationrequired says
No napkin sewing here, although I did just stuff a placement with batting to make a pillow. No sewing machine required on that, just a bit of hand stitching.
This gives me hope because I am deathly afraid of my sewing machine, but I have quite literally a stock pile of fabric and patterns that I want to try. Last night’s episode was a re-run, but it was probably one of the best… the one where the kids walk in on Phil and Claire doing it. “I’m 80 percent sure you’re hitting on me” I die laughing. Cougartown afterwards is worth a watch too if you don’t already watch it. What is Bethanny ever after?
Oh yes- love Cougartown too! Bethenny Ever After is on Bravo and it’s amazing. It’s about Bethenny Frankel from NY Housewives who is now married with a baby who was born right around the time that Clara was (I think five days earlier). She just cracks me up. So brash but hilarious.
haha love that Bethenny Frankel is your imaginary BFF. Not to sound uber stalkerish, but I’m pretty sure that between you and Katie Bower I have two imaginary BFFs haha. Okay you just can’t say that without sounding crazy… Love the napkin pillow and how you went from not being able to work a sewing machine to making two awesome pillows and that great banner for Clara’s birthday. You rock!
Love it! I’m on the phone with Katie right now. She loves it too. She giggled like a schoolgirl.
haha….agreed! My hubby definitely knows who Sherry is….I call you my “blogger buddy”. Too funny!
Yea boo on a rerun and I fell asleep last week and missed half of it…so annoying. Of course I was wide awake for the re-run. IT SENDED…IT SENDED…PLEASE COME BACK…
Haha, that was hilarious. Best Gloria moment ever.
Bethenny is my TV BFF too. My boyfriend and I enjoy watching her antics and crazy funny relationships with everyone. I get no laundry folded or dusting done when I’m staring deep into Bravo’s amazing TV programming, lol.
I believe that you guys are starting a color revolution! I work in a hospital so I see LOTS of people all day long and I swear I have seen numerous blouses with sue the napkin and can I just say..love sue the napkin…hate sue the shirt!
Haha, uh oh, I might wear Sue as a shirt. I’m a full on addict.
Molly P-H says
Hooray! Sue is official! I’m so happy for her :). And the B-Man.
These are great. My dogs do that exact same thing to every pillow in the house! It makes me so mad!