September 13, 2022 3 Comments on Making Use of Fabric Scraps to Make a Zabuton (from 305 A Japanese Interior)
by Esi Hutchinson
You can never have enough pillows can you? I showed you how I made a Makura pillow from 305 A Japanese Interior, and this blog post will focus on the Zabuton. Victoria made a beautiful Zabuton, or floor cushion, and shows her process in this blog post. I am making basically the same pillow (there are 3 options for the cover in this pattern), but using fabric scraps for stuffing the pillow. This is probably the most simple pillow in this pattern. The cover can be made to be removable so it can be easily washed when dirtied. And if you are going to use a poly-fil or fabric scraps to stuff your pillow (which I will be doing), you would have to make a separate cover that is non-removable to hold the loose stuffing of any kind. The filling that the pattern calls for (layers of batting), make it easier to remove and wash the cover.
If you want to make a separate removable cover repeat instructions for Cover #1, adding an extra 1 in. (2.5cm) seam allowance at one edge of both top and bottom pieces. Turn this inch under as a facing, then topstitch. Add several snaps so that this final edge overlaps by ½ in. (13mm). A cheap muslin would be fine to make the inside cover and hold the fill.
However, I am just going to make this pillow with one cover. It will be just a display pillow so I am not worried that I will need to wash the cover.
Since you know, as a sewist, fabric scraps build up. Often they are small pieces that you might save thinking, "this is too large to throw away" or "this fabric is so nice, I can't throw it away" or "maybe I can make a pocket from this scrap in some other project". Or maybe you have scraps you test stitches or buttonholes or muslins on. Either way, we always end up with loads of scraps of fabric. We at Folkwear, don't like to throw them out, but sometimes it is hard to find uses for them. Filling pillows is a perfect option, especially if the pillow needs to be quite firm. I wanted to show you how I made this pillow and filled it with fabric scraps (and reduced our scrap pile), so you might be inspired to do the same!
I found these scraps to work with in our fabric scrap pile.
To make an even surface for my pillow, I cut about 5 layers of fabric the size of the pillow batting. I used some of Folkwear's larger pieces of muslin that could not be used for other prototypes - even cutting up some of the old garment muslins we had made. Having these smooth layers of fabric to sandwich the rest of the scraps helps to keep the pillow without bunched fabric which can easily make the pillow feel uneven. Cut as many layers as you like for this "sandwich".
Then, I took the smaller fabric scraps and laid them in between the larger layers of fabric. Trying to make it feel plush and even and and not flat.
I sewed one edge of the two of the two layers to sandwich the scraps together in order to hold everything together more easily when inserting the stuffing in the cover.
Layers of scrap fabric (the size of Zabuton batting) sewn together at one end.
The scrap fabric batting is finished and ready to but inserted in the cover (it almost looks more like a taco than sandwich). Now you can make the cover!
This is the simplest cover. Just follow directions in the pattern. I used a gorgeous cotton ikat that we have in stock here at Folkwear.
Like Victoria, I found it difficult to insert the batting I'd made with the technique used in the pattern. So I just left open one side of the pillow and inserted the "batting" gently, adjusting as needed to fill the pillow with the scraps. I added more scraps to the pillow after getting the "batting" inside the cover, again adjusting to make everything even. Then I just slip stitched the opening closed with a 1/2" (13mm) seam allowance turned to the inside.
Note that if the pillow is not fully stuffed with fabric scraps, the scraps will tend to shift around with use. You can try to fill the pillow very full, or you could be sure it is not in heavy use. Or, you could add the center stitching to be more authentic and would help prevent fabric shifting.
This is a very simple pillow, and a good way to use your fabric waste rather than throwing it away. Here at Folkwear we try our best to not be wasteful. We hope you are inspired to make something to use up your fabric scraps! The pattern 305 A Japanese Interior will be on sale all month. Use it to make your own beautiful pillows (and use up fabric scraps)!
September 15, 2022
It seems as though this filling would be lumpy. Is it? I have a purchesed zabuton, and it is indeed heavy and firm, but very smooth. It was made from multiple layers of a coarse upholstery-style batting.
September 15, 2022
I found that if you wrap a pillow insert from left side to right side in brown paper or plastic bags, keeping the front an back open, it is easier to slide the package into the pillowcase and then remove the pape or plastic. Even typewriter paper can be taped together to fit around it.
May 12, 2023
May 11, 2023 1 Comment on Making Use of Fabric Scraps to Make a Zabuton (from 305 A Japanese Interior)
September 16, 2022
Thanks for the tip, Kat!
Martha, the filling is not lumpy, but you do need to spend some time even-ing the fabric out to be that way. The pillow is heavy and firm and quite smooth. Folding fabric scraps to not be lumpy may help too.