Throw-pillow tutorial using a Pottery Barn table runner

Last week I decided I needed a short-attention-span project in the middle of all the busy-ness that was going on. So I whipped up a couple of throw-pillows that have been on my to-do list f o r e v e r. It was so satisfying! I actually made these from a table runner, which is why they came together so quickly. Here’s the details.
During the “Great-Basement-Cleanout of ’12” I went through my box of upholstery/home-dec fabrics.  A while ago, if I ever saw a good remnant for cheap I would buy it for bags or throw pillows. (I stopped buying not long ago because I had accumulated a large stockpile that I hadn’t actually done anything with.)  As I went through that box, I resolved to pull them out and put them to use. 
One such accumulation was this fabulous orange stitched table runner from the Pottery Barn that I got for 75% off.  I’d originally thought I’d make it into a bag, but the color is so great with my living room, I opted for fast throw pillows instead. Here’s how I made them. 
(I bought this table runner 3 years ago, so obviously it’s no longer available.  Other table runners will be different sizes so you may have to use your imagination, adjust pillow sizes etc. to make something similar. I share only because I think this method is simple and adaptable enough to use in all kinds of shapes and sizes. I’ve also done similar pillow covers with finished napkins and placemats from places like Pottery Barn as well.)
You’ll want to cut your length to measure twice the width of your runner. My table runner was long – I think 18″ x 70″ – so I was able to get two lengths by cutting it in half .
Since the edges of the runner were all nicely finished already, and I was mostly doing topstitching,  a good, matching thread is a good idea.
First, I folded the table runner piece in half, right sides together, and sewed the cut edge to the top edge of the runner piece.  I used slightly larger than a 1/4″ seam allowance. Once that was done, I turned the piece right-side-out and it resembled a large tube with two open sides. 
Making the new seam, the bottom of the pillow cover, match-up the open sides and pin. Sew one of the open sides, closed, by top-stitching right along the edge, hiding the stitching in the finished stitching that was already there. Now my piece resembled a large square with only one open side.
 Stuff the new case using a pillow form – I used an old pillow I already had.
Then I top stitched the other side closed with the pillow already inside it.  (It helped that the old pillow was slightly smaller than the new case.)  Be careful to pin the sides closed to hold those edges in place. (Yes I sewed right over the pins – I like to live on the edge sometimes.)  It may be helpful to use a zipper foot for this last seam. (One of these days I may use my zipper foot to sew in an actual zipper.)
And voila- a fancy finished throw pillow!  Not the most professional method, but it worked for me and was so slick and easy. Fortunately, the throw pillows in this room don’t get quite as hammered as the ones in my family room, so I feel they have a good chance of lasting for a while until they get beat-up or I somehow get tired of the orange.  And I figured for $4.50 a pillow, it was worth the risk.  
Now I’m motivated to actually make some other throws with this other piece of yardage that has been sitting next to my couch for way too long. Maybe this time I’ll actually put a zipper in too.
Thanks so much for all the sweet comments on ‘real life.’  In exciting news, I get to getaway this week to a little sewing retreat in the mountains for a couple of days. Woohoo! It’s probably going to be hectic getting myself out the door, but I have a feeling it will be worth it. The timing is GOOD.


  1. says

    These are so pretty! I like the phrase "short attention span project" because that's just about all I do anymore:p Thanks for the tutorial! Hope you have (are having) a great time at your retreat!

  2. says

    Where are you off to for your retreat?? Next time you are headed to one of these let me know and I will see if I can make it to. I would love to hang out and sew with you for the weekend :)

  3. says

    I did the same thing but with white table runners that I had purchased years ago. I've been doing applique or embroidery on them for different holidays. Never thought when I bought them to find other colors for pillows, my mind went straight to what it already was. I had purchased 3 and I'm now down to my last 1/2. Have fun on your sewing retreat.

  4. says

    Love these. I'm a bit jealous. I wish I could run out and buy the table runners to make some for myself. I adore the design and the color.

  5. says

    Fantastic pillows! You are so hip using the color Tangerine, little did you know when you kept your orange chairs and orange table runner that you were ahead of the wave! Have fun retreating, wish I was. You will come back all energized and ready for more "Real life". Your awesome!

  6. says

    these look great!!! i love using something like that runner for something new…a year or so ago i used a old curtain to back all my new quilted living room pillows. so much fun. this is a great idea.

  7. says

    me too! I love getting a great buy and then using it for something other than what it was intended. The orange print is great and just Puuurrr..fect! Have a great time relaxing and retreating!!

  8. says

    Love the quick pillows, I need to make some too because the kids are slowly destroying the ones that came with the couches. Love the pop of orange, you are so on trend! :)

  9. says

    My mother picked up a ton of table runners and place-mats after the holidays at a local Dollar General Store. Some of them are really nice and look almost like tapestries. We are going to make a few into pillows and even into wall hangings by adding a tree branch and loops. These literally cost her anywhere from 10-80 cents, yes CENTS!

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