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Before & After: Out-dated clothing become throw pillows

by Grace Bonney

In the attic, or the garage, if you’ve got a box (or two, or five) of old clothing (grandma’s wedding dress? mom’s patchwork summer-of-love skirt? that Mexican embroidered shirt you wore almost every day in 10th grade?), raise your hand.

I thought so.

Let’s be honest: The only time you have nostalgic moments with those items are when you’re moving and can’t remember what’s in those dusty boxes in the corner.

But they’re in good shape, you say. And they’re too precious to give away. Okay, ask yourself this: How would that skirt pattern look as a pillow? After you get over the idea of taking scissors to clothing, you just might love it.

Check out the project Sunset style editor Miranda Jones and I crafted for a Sunset May issue story appropriately titled “I found it in my garage!”. We profile five items someone might think they have no use for (thus garage-stricken) and reinvented them to bare new function.

Check out the full story here.

And for more ideas on how to repurpose your furnishings check this out.

Next, we’ll have “virtual coffee” with one of my favorite décor re-inventors. Stay tuned.

“Before” photograph by Rob D. Brodman
“After” photograph by Thomas J. Story for Sunset Magazine

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  • love it. I’m actually propping up on a pillow this very moment that I made from a ombre-eyelet top that didn’t fit right. it doesn’t have to be fancy… and a lot of the work may be done for you already if the piece is a standard pillow size (or if you’re using polyfill)


  • I made a cherry-stone pillow from an old tshirt (I wore religiously in 8th grade) too bad my sewing skills suck and stones keep spilling out :/

  • I’ve thought about this idea many times, but I’ve never seen it done so well! Awesome pillows!
    Should say excellent post. Looking forward to seeing your next one!

  • ” The only time you have nostalgic moments with those items are when you’re moving and can’t remember what’s in those dusty boxes in the corner.”

    Totally love that line. I have just moved house and my partner and I are going through those kinds of boxes.

    He says “This stuff is great and totally worth keeping, only for the fact that next time we move we can open up the boxes again and look at them and go awww”

    I guess he has a point. hahaha

    But thanks for the great idea!!

  • I Recently purchased a beautiful Indian skirt at Goodwill. When I wore it for the first time my grandmother pulled me aside and said “honey, that skirt makes you look so fat!” I looked in the mirror when I got the chance and realized she was sadly correct. I ripped the skirt off and turned it into a pillowcase! Now I can show off it’s beautiful design every day!

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