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Projects- DIY Pleated Drop Cloth Pillow

Have I mentioned lately that my crush on drop cloths is going strong?
That nubby texture, their versatile size and color, their price?
 I love them.
I think there are probably 101 ways to use a drop cloth for something 
other than catching paint drips in blogland by now
 It's pretty thrilling to go into Lowes and pick up a fresh drop cloth 
that is ready to be something so much more than it was intended to be.

Like this cute little pleated pillow

This pillow is about a simple but charming addition to your sofa or on the bed.
 The easy, basic pleats just add that extra oomph that makes it that much more darling.

I have made several styles and sizes of drop cloth pillows before
some with long ruffles, some with shorter ruffles
oh and I have made outdoor drop cloth panels
and window shades
and more...
yes, I might be obsessed...

Here's how to make one of your own.

You need:

a dropcloth
sewing machine
scissors, etc.
pillow forms in the size you would like

 I always recommend washing the drop cloth at least once or twice to soften it a bit.
This drop cloth is a fresh out of the package variety
and if you don't wash ahead of time- no worries- you can always wash away when you are finished.

First you need to measure the amount of fabric you will need to cover your pillow.
I do that by placing the form on top of the fabric to see about the size of each piece and then add several inches on each side for seaming and folding, etc.

 If you already have a cover and are simply replacing it
you are in luck- you can just copy that size- but do add a tiny bit more to each side either way.

Cut your fabric size for the front and back

Another tip? 
How about one of those
 I need to make 6 new pillows for the sofa before the ladies party tonight 
tips that saves some time and sewing?
 Just fold the fabric over the top so that you have only the bottom seam to sew.

With these pleated ruffles- they are basic- nothing fancy.
 Simply cut a piece of fabric that is about 4" total width- you will need the length of the side of the pillow- but since it is folded- I usually use about 2-3x the length
and cut it when it is right after pleating. For example- for a 12" area- I would start with a 30" length depending on how tight and detailed your pleats are.
The first step is to take the ends and fold them under so that they are not open- sew the opening closed by running it through the machine. 
The next step is to make the pleats.

These are really just folds- and you can make them larger or smaller
 tighter or a little more floppy- totally up to you. 
Simply fold the fabric and pin it to tack it and move on to the next one and the next one and so on until you reach the end.

Repeat for the other side and you then tack the pleats into place by running through the machine about 1/4 of an inch inside- then it's on to sewing the pillow covering.

Place the 'pleated pieces'  on the inside of your fabric- with the pleat edging facing towards the inside of your pillow. 
When you reverse this after sewing the pleats will then be facing out instead of in.

Pin the pleated strip into place in between the front and back fabric and sew all the pieces together. Repeat for the other side.

I usually will also sew closed about 5-6" on each side of the pillow covering opening 
on the bottom- and then finish the rest by hand after inserting the pillow form.

(You can see the difference in the two pillows I made
One has a relaxed look and one has a more distinct pleat) 

Once you are finished sewing - flip your pillow covering inside out and voila
 you should have a darling simple pleated drop cloth pillow.
I find there are always little threads and fibers to clip with drop cloth projects
but after a little clean up  and ironing the pleats if you would like 
you are finished and have pretty new pillows to enjoy

A fun and easy Summer project
Happy Monday everyone!

I am a member of the Lowes Creative Ideas Network and was compensated for this post
but all opinions and designs are my own of course.

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  1. Fantastic! Lovely and really easy...

  2. I have been on the drop cloth bandwagon myself. I actually use one as a slipcover on the sitting room sofa, and another as a lightweight coverlet on my bed. We have a chocolate lab that luves to be on there and this saves my bedding from doggie hair. Not to mention drapes... it seems to get softer and nubbier with each wash. LUV that!
    Luv your pillow idea. :)

  3. I bought one just havn't made anything yet. I need to get my act in gear.

  4. So nice - just the perfect little pillow, love it.

  5. I couldn't agree more! I have used them to make slip covers for my wing back, to reupholster our dining room chairs, chair pads, etc. We have a Jack Russell who is very spoiled and this durable, inexpensive fabric is perfect for furniture pieces that she claims for herself!

  6. Very pretty, Courtney! I love your pleated pillows. I just finished up the last good size pieces of drop cloth that I had here. I need to go get more from Lowe's myself. I had wanted to try my hand at your double ruffled drapes for the master bedroom. I have enough scraps left over to maybe make a banner.

  7. Slipcovers are awesome and oh how I love your little pleated pillow. That is really pretty.

  8. Oh sooo pretty...
    Love your idea, your pillow turned out beautiful...


  9. Cute!!! Love your new pillows! I was just looking at pillows today at Home Goods; thinking of refreshing our L-shaped sofa down pillows for something new. :) We do lots of dropcloth iideas over here! Last week I recommended a dropcloth teepee to a lady at a fabric store -- it would save her money in the long run because you get SO much yardage with one. :) She and her mother were excited about the idea. She liked that it would be easy to sew or not sew, depending upon how large her child's teepee was to be.

    My 22-year-old daughter, Amy, likes to use dropcloths for painting on, like canvas. She has yet to stretch her own canvases but could! :) She has also made pillows with fabric-for-the-printer projects sew into the middle of dropcloth pillows for her friends' birthdays (with photos copied from Manga drawings from the internet).

    Happy summer!!!! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Barb :)

  10. Une publication qui relance l'envie de créer de nouveaux coussins pour mon atelier !!

    ❁ Gros bisous ❁

  11. Hi...I really love this idea, Courtney! I have looked at the dropcloths at Lowes and could not make up my mind exactly which ones to choose. They seemed darker in color than the one you used. Is there a particular brand to purchase? Thanks for the help! Diane

    1. Hi Diane,
      Some of them are definitely a little different in color and texture so I usually just sort through to find what I am looking for. The brand I have been using is Blue Hawk.

  12. Love turning something into something fabulous. Your cottage is beyond beautiful -- you've worked to get it to look that way and you certainly can tell you enjoy doing what you do!! Great ideas.

  13. I love this! Your dropcloth pillow looks fresh and polished - so clever!
    Sally @cottagefix

  14. Very pretty Courtney!....thanks for the tutorial!...

  15. wouldn't you need to cut the pleated pieces more than the length of the side? You would need extra length for the pleating. That is where I would need help estimating.

    1. Yes, the length of the fabric that you would use to make the ruffles should be at least double- maybe more the length of the area you will be using it. I added more detail to the post to explain how I do it.

  16. Courtney, I made table cloths out of drop cloths and saved the side pieces that I cut off. I just may use them to make a few pillows. Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. LOVE these!!! How gorgeous and simple!

  18. Very nice thanks.. u make ruffles look simple. I must give this a try!!

  19. I read somewhere that the drop cloth fabric is hard to this true?