Last year, I bought four kilim and two Moroccan pillows from a Turkish dealer during Round Top Antiques Week. I carefully hand picked the ones that had the brightest colors and in good condition. However later, when I closely looked at the inside of the pillow covers, I was not happy with how they were sewn. Raw, fraying edges on the rugs and overall poor quality in the fabrics that were on the back. So, I decided to rip the back covers off and redo them myself!
Original pillow inside out
Backing removed. Notice all the fraying edges.
Before I removed the backings, I carefully hand washed the pillows. I wash all textiles and fabrics before I sew any project. The dyes can run and bleed. Dry cleaning the finished pillows is recommended!
Once the rugs were clean, I had to figure out how to line the rug pieces and bind the raw edges. I had some black cambric material that would be ideal for a protective lining.
I cut the black cambric cloth a little bit larger than the kilims to be able to wrap over the raw edges to sew. Not only did this protect the rug pieces, but it was easier to sew and handle.
Rug with cambric cloth
Wrapped the lining around raw edges and sewed into place.
For the back cover of the kilim pillows, I used a 100% cotton duck canvas with a hidden flap for a 20" zipper. The raw edges were serged to prevent any fraying. Plus, I double stiched the canvas backings to the kilims to reinforce and strengthen the seams.
Canvas backing with hidden flap zipper enclosure
Zipper close up
Inside lining and double stitched seams.
I did the same with the two wool Moroccan pillows that I found at Round Top. Instead of the tan canvas backing, I used a medium weight cotton blend in a cream color. I lined the wool rug remnants with the black cambric fabric and sewed hidden flaps for the zippers.
Original Moroccan pillow
Close up of back of pillow
I'm very happy with the results and now I know how to sew woven rug pieces into pretty pillows. I plan on sewing more pillows from vintage textiles and weavings. Take a look at my Pillow Collection to see if you want one in your home!
Till next time,