DIY How to Sew a Lumbar Pillow from a Placemat (or Anything Else!)

DIY Placemat Lumbar Pillow | RevamperatePillows are my favorite. Every time I go shopping somewhere, I find myself gravitating toward pillows and wishing that I had ten couches and three beds in my house to fill with pillows. BUT since I don’t, I end up being so critical and picky that I don’t buy the beautiful pillows that I lust after and only have a couple on my couch. Plus, it’s kind of crazy how expensive pillows are…or maybe I’m just that cheap? Luckily, it’s Christmastime now, so I can make pillows that are just for Christmas! It’s a perfect excuse to have MORE PILLOWS and then store them away for the rest of the year. 

So today I’m sharing how to make a lumbar pillow from a placemat (or pretty much anything else). The great thing about a pillow is you can recycle any fabric to make it, so grab a placemat, scarf, table runner, table cloth, old t-shirt, etc. and get to sewing! This is a super easy sewing project for anyone, and I like making pillows this way because you can stuff the pillows yourself and make them as full as you want. I find that pillow forms are just never as lusciously full as I would like them to be, and the cost of a giant bag of fiberfill is still cheaper than one pillow form. 

DIY Placemat Lumbar Pillow | RevamperateTime: 30 minutes 

Supplies:

  • One standard sized placemat (can also use a scarf, table runner, etc.)
  • 1/2 yard matching fabric (for backside)
  • Fiberfill pillow stuffing
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors
  • Cutting board (if you have one)
  • Needle 

I laid my eyes on this cute, simple placemat with “Merry & Bright” embroidered on it at Target and instantly knew that I could use it for something and it was only, like, $3 and I just had to have it. So that’s how I decided to turn a placemat into a Christmas pillow…because I don’t actually use placemats as placemats but I love pillows.

You can follow this tutorial to make a lumbar pillow out of pretty much anything (a scarf, table runner, recycled fabric, etc.). Your pillow can vary sizes, but I based mine on the length of the placemat, so I ended up with a pillow about 12 in x 4 in when I allowed room for seams. Plus, because I have an embroidered pattern, I wanted to make sure that portion showed up in the middle of the pillow. Whatever size you choose, just be sure to add at least 1/2 inch to your desired size to allow for seams, but know that I’m writing as if we’re all making a 12 in x 4 in pillow.

Because this placemat was double sided, I didn’t actually end up using a different fabric for the backside, but I added it in the supplies list because I had fully intended on using it at first, and it’s likely that you’ll need more fabric for the back of the pillow.

First, cut the placemat to be about 12.5 in x 4.5 in, taking into account the direction you want the pattern (or in this case, embroidery) to be in, making sure that pattern is centered. Because a placemat has a fairly thick seam around the edge, I cut that off first before cutting the rest of my measurements. 

Then cut the same size from your matching fabric for the backing. You can either use a color that stands out against your front side or that blends well with it – whatever you want! Place the two right sides (or patterned sides) together, line up the edges and pin all the way around. 

DIY Placemat Lumbar Pillow | Revamperate
Beginning at a corner along one of the long sides of the fabric, back stitch and then sew all the way around the pillow with at least a 1/4-inch seam, leaving a 3-inch hole before you reach the end of the pillow and back stitching again. Trim the threads and cut your corners. Then turn the pillowcase right side out and iron down the seams (not entirely necessary but recommended). 

Grab your pillow stuffing and push it into the corners from the opening left in the side of the pillowcase (I use a little chopstick-looking tool). Fill the pillow until you reach your desired fluffiness. 

Lastly, use a ladder stitch to close the opening with an invisible seam. Then you’re left with a cute lumbar pillow and even though you’ll know that it’s made from a placemat, no one else will ever guess it. It looks great on my chair for the season. Definitely a worthwhile Target purchase!

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