This DIY Fringe Pillow Looks Like It's Straight Outta Anthropologie

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If dropping a few hundred on a handmade artisan pillow isn't in your budget, here's a tutorial that'll show you how to turn a mass-produced (read: affordable AF) rug into a one-of-a-kind statement cushion. The pillow's unique diagonal fringe criss-crossed with its raised pinched seams are details that scream "painstakingly" handcrafted — yet we promise you that this is project is unbelievably simple. Like, we-actually-got-it-right-the-_first-_time simple. The hardest part, by far, will be picking the the right rug!

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Things You'll Need

  • Fringed woven area rug, 2-feet-by-3-feet, preferably machine washable (see tip below)

  • Pencil or water soluble fabric marker

  • Sewing machine (optional, but makes for quicker work)

  • Heavy duty shears

  • Upholstery needle and strong upholstery thread (you can also use a standard sewing needle and thread, but make sure you use very strong thread)

  • Yard stick

  • Machine-washable pillow form or poly-filler, 15 inches by 15 inches

Tip: You should be able to easily find an affordable rug with these dimensions or very close to them, but if not, any small rectangular or square rug (around 2-feet-by-2-feet in size) will do.

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Step 1: Mark Rug for Removing Excess Length

If you're actually lucky enough to find a small square rug (we had no such luck!) then you'll need to turn your rectangular rug into a square by cutting out a piece from the center. We found a lot of woven rugs that were 2-feet-by-3-feet (or very close), and many of them were at or under $20 — as ours was. If you've got a square rug, scroll down to Step 3. If not:

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Turn the rug upside down and fold in the corners until the fringed ends meet, as shown below.

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Then, using a pencil or water soluble marker, lightly mark a straight line across the entire width of the rug, 3/4 of an inch from the folded-in edges, as shown below.

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Image Credit: Maya Marin
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Image Credit: Maya Marin
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Repeat on the other side. The fabric in the middle, between the lines, is the fabric you'll remove.

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Step 2: Cut Excess Fabric From Rug

To prepare for cutting, use a sewing machine to sew a zig-zag stitch over the marked lines. This will secure the cut edges to ensure that your rug won't unravel on you. (If you don't have a sewing machine, you can do this by hand.)

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Cut out the center piece, as close to the zig-zag stitch as you can get, taking care not to cut into the securing zig-zag stitches (see photo below). Note that the zig-zag stitches should NOT run along on the edges of the pieces you discard, but on the pieces with the fringe.

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Your rug should now be in three pieces, as shown.

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Remove the center piece and you'll now have two identical fringed pieces.

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Step 3: Sew Cut Pieces Together

Place one piece over the other with the right sides facing each other and the fringed edges aligned, as shown below.

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Then, stitch the cut edges together with 3/8-inch seam allowance. After sewing, you should now have a square rug:

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Tip: To make a removable pillow case, you can opt to sew a zipper at this seam instead of simply stitching the two pieces together.

Step 4: Stitch Diagonal Fringe Seams

Turn your piece wrong side up.

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Fold the rug in half, wrong sides facing, with the seam in the center and the fringe at opposite ends, as shown below.

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Stitch together the fringed edges on both sides of the folded rug, with about a 3/8-inch seam allowance, as pointed out in the photo below.

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The stitched rug should now be a "pouch." Take one side of the "pouch" at the center seam (as shown below), then likewise, take hold of the seam on the opposite side with your other hand.

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Now, pull open and flatten it out so that the seams now run diagonally, as shown below.

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You now have something that looks more like a pillow case!

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Step 5: Insert Pillow Form

Insert a 15-inch-by-15-inch form inside. If the rug you used has different dimensions than ours, use an appropriate-sized pillow form, or stuff with poly-filler (see tip below).

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Tip: If you'd like to use poly-filler instead of a pillow form, proceed to stitch your pillow shut using blanket stitch, as shown in Step 4. Before sewing completely shut, leave a 5-inch or so gap, allowing you to stuff with filler until you've reached your desired firmness and loft. Finish sewing it shut.

Step 6: Stitch Shut

Now all that's left is for you to stitch your pillow shut! Simply pinch together the final seams and use a simple blanket stitch to close it up.

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All done and ready to decorate your couch, chair, or bed.

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Image Credit: Maya Marin
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Image Credit: Maya Marin
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