Preserving Memories With Pillows!

This post has been almost a year in the making.  It was almost a year ago that I received a very special request.  My husband’s cousin asked me to make pillows for her and her two sisters out of a long skirt that belonged to their mom.  My husband’s Aunt Lynda, was a very special lady.  She passed away a few years ago, and I was honored to be asked to make a pillow for each of her girls.

Preserving Memories With Pillows from

Aunt Lynda was special for many reasons.  She was one of those people that lived life to the fullest.

lynda 4

Family was very important to her.  Her three daughters all lived out of state, but she would email them every morning with funny anecdotes about whatever was going on that day.   She had a wonderful way of writing.

This picture was taken when Aunt Lynda’s three daughters flew home to surprise her for her birthday.  You can just see the love.

lynda 6

She loved being a grandma, and tried to see all of the grand kids as often as she could.  This is Aunt Lynda with her oldest grandson.

lynda 7

She and I shared a love of books and the beach.  One of my favorite memories of being with her is walking on the beach in Florida talking about books.  What could be better?

Occasionally, she would email me asking for book recommendations.  We liked a lot of the same kinds of books.  She turned me onto the author Stephen White, and I shared some authors that I loved with her.

So, like I said, I was honored to be asked to make pillows out of one of Aunt Lynda’s skirts.  Here she is wearing the skirt.  I’m not sure when the picture was taken.  I think the skirt dates back to the seventies, but I don’t think the picture goes back that far.


I think that she probably made the skirt herself.  She did sew, and was very creative.

skirt on table

I have to admit, it was more challenging than I expected to make pillows out of this skirt.  Before I received the skirt, I was picturing two big pieces of fabric to work with – the front and back sides.  Easy to make pillows out of!

Aunt Lynda’s skirt is lovely, but it’s made in four gathered sections.  No large pieces big enough to make a pillow out of.  Also, it was made out of a thin knit fabric.  Very stretchy, and not ideal for making a pillows.  (I imagine Aunt Lynda was having a good chuckle about my dilemma!)

skirt close up

So, I knew I would need to put on my thinking cap for this project.  I needed to come up with a design that would work with the strips of fabric.  I decided to make pieced pillows, and each one would be a different design.  (See below for more information about piecing.)

First, I started cutting out strips of the fabric, making sure to leave a 1/2″ seam allowance on each side.

fabric stripsTaking care of the stretchy issue of the knit fabric wasn’t too hard.  I had some fabric stabilizer, so I ironed it to the wrong side of the fabric strips, and that made the stretchy knit fabric much easier to work with.

Two of the pillows were simply fabric strips sewn together.  On one pillow, the strips ran horizontal.

pillow 2

On the other pillow, the strips ran vertical.

pillow 1

I simply sewed strips of fabric together until they were the size that I needed.  Both of these pillows are 18″ wide by 14″ long.

I had a green fabric that worked well with the skirt fabric, so that became the back side for each pillow.

back of pillows

The third pillow was a bit more challenging.  It has more of a patchwork quilt design, so I drew the design out on paper first.  Then I figured out how big each strip of fabric needed to be, including the seam allowances.

design of patchwork

Then, I sewed all of the pieces together, starting in the center of the pillow and working outward.  Here’s a picture of the back side of the pillow.

back of patchwork

Here’s the finished pillow.

pillow 3

Aunt Lynda’s skirt was lovely, but it was sitting in a closet or drawer never being seen or worn.  Now the girls each have a pillow that they can see every day, that will remind them of their mom.

3 pillows square

Have you ever made a pillow out of a loved one’s piece of clothing?

You may also like these pillow projects!

You may also like these Craftsy classes!

piece like a pro  piece by piece

Between Naps On The Porch


  1. The pillows are beautiful, and knowing the problems you had to overcome in order to do them was remarkable.

    I think your Aunt Lydia deserved to be honored in this way. I wrote a little booklet for my family about my dear Granny’s life. These women deserve to be remembered and loved –they didn’t run for the Senate, or star in a movie, but their lives touched so many in many ways.

    Your Aunt is a beautiful woman and looks like she loved life. She, like my Granny, was a wonderful role model in a time where there are few.

  2. Wow that is so creative. I just lost my Mom and have not looked on her closet. This gives me an idea to keep her memories.
    Thanks for sharing.

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