These leather pillows are one of my favorite projects to date. There is just something so satisfying about taking an unwanted item that was destined for the thrift store and/or dump, and turning it into that perfect something that you were unable to find.
If you remember a couple of weeks ago I shared this post (that has the best title of my life. I mean, I know I will never top So…I Skinned A Couch. It is one for the ages.) For those unfamiliar with this tale, I bought a couch off of Craigslist with the sole purpose of cutting it apart to make pillows. Strange? Yes. Welcome to Vintage Revivals.
Did you know that if you make a pillow with leather on both sides it is the equivalent of laying down on a floatie? You know floaties like the orange things you put on kids arms while they are swimming? It will take an hour for all of the air to drain out of your pillow…and 2 days to fill back up.
I wanted my pillows to be really slouchy and a little saggy and really used looking. A floatation device was not a good look for this project.
This simple fact left me at a crossroads. I could try and match the fabric to the leather and fake it. Or I could embrace the change of plans… what do you think I did?
This is so much more than embracing. This is a full contact body hug, the kind that lasts 15 seconds too long… with a bit of uncomfortable breathing.
I was a little concerned with the whole sewing through leather thing. But with the right needles it was like buttah. They make needles just for this type of job. They are called Leather Needles. Mind Blown.
Start by literally skinning a couch. Leave the leather as intact as possible.
Cut roughly the size of your pillow out of the leather (you may have to piece it together, which makes it all the more awesome. FYI.
Fine tune your cut so that it is a perfect square. My pillow insert is euro size (26×26) AND I wanted it to be shluppy so I made it 29” square and allowed for a 1/2” seam.
Cut the contrasting fabric to the same dimensions. I LOVE using Duck Cloth for throw pillows. It is a really thick canvas that comes in about a billion colors at Joann’s. It usually runs $10.99 /yd, so use a 40% of coupon to save a bit of cash! You are also going to want to snag a coordinating zipper. Don’t be scared. Zippers are easy.
Place right sides together.
Turn your machine to the longest stitch length.
Sew your 2 pieces together with 1/2” seam allowance.
Press your seam open and for goodness sake, the leather has already been tanned, take care to not tan it more.
Pin your zipper facedown in place. Now, I am a rule breaker at heart and sometimes just cant bring myself to do things the right way. Feel free to pin your zipper the whole way down, or if you are a rebel looking for a cause you can pin it at the top like me.
Sew and backstitch over the upper part of your zipper a few times to tack in in place.
Now with your sides still separated sew down one side of the zipper and then the other. Make sure your zipper stays lined up with the center seam.
When both sides of your zipper are sewn in sew a horizontal stitch at the bottom of your zipper, just like you did at the top.
Now unpick the stitch between the leather and the canvas and TADA! There is your zipper! This is the best kind of magical surprises.
Line up the right sides together again, and stitch the remaining 3 sides. Unzip the zipper a little to get it started and the finish unzipping it when everything is in place.
For really sharp corners cut off the excess before you turn it right sides out.
Turn it right side out, clip your threads, stuff, and enjoy!
Pillow from Homegoods, Antique Kilim Rug
I actually made 3 of these cute guys for my bed, but couldn’t wait until my wicker headboard was done to show you how great they turned out.
So what do you think? Was it worth a couch dying?