SEWING DIY | Geometric Pillow Top Storage Box

Our storage box was in need of a pillow top. I used some leftover geometric fabric from the Modern Rose Gold Geometric Benches Makeover, fleece, cotton, and some Fairfield World products to create a custom sized pillow. We store movies inside my brother's former toy box. Last year, I gave it an update with DecoArt Americana Decor Satin Enamels paint in Classic Black. The cats love to lounge on the box, when it's by the window. We've moved the box to beside the couch, to make room for our Christmas tree. It now serves as an ottoman and table, in addition to still storing movies. Adding a pillow top makes it the perfect height to plop your feet on. I backed the pillow with kitty friendly fleece, since the cats are known to love a good sleeping spot. Using the leftover geometric fabric ties the pillow back to the benches, which is a great way to unite decor in two adjacent rooms.

Fairfield World and DecoArt provided me with their products for this project. Fairfield World paid me to create this project. All photos, opinions and instructions are my own. I use Amazon Affiliate links. Any items purchased using those links will result in Amazon paying me a small commision. Use of those links is greatly appreciated.
1) If you want to paint your storage box, it's just like painting anything else, or at least similar to the Black and Metallics Ottoman Makeover. We found removing the contents to be the easiest way to handle the storage box.
  • Have someone help you lift the box and slide a drop cloth underneath.
  • Clean the wood areas that you want painted. Let the wood dry.
  • If you are not a steady painter, use blue painters tape to mask off the edges of the areas you don't want paint. You can use newspaper to block off bigger sections. I skipped masking, as I'm a good painter.
  • Shake up the jar of paint. Using the 4" wide paint brush, apply an even layer of paint to the areas you want painted. Use the 1" wide brush to paint any small edges. I never got around to getting the edges/lips painted. Apply a 2nd coat of paint if the coverage isn't opaque.
  • Wash brushes well with soapy water. Lay them flat on an old towel or over a sink edge to dry.
  • Let the storage box fully dry before removing the drop cloth.

2) Measure the storage box top with the measuring tape. Jot down these measurements, for reference later Note that my storage box has an inset, and my pillow extends beyond that inset. The final pillow will appear smaller than the box top due to the Poly-Fil stuffing. My box top is 20" x 40".

3) Measure your scraps, to see what configuration will cover the box top. I realized that my two big scraps weren't wide enough to cover the box top, so I added a black strip between them. This also prevents trying to match up stripes. Cut your fabrics to fit your box top plus 1/2" seam allowance on every side. My center black strip is 3" by 41".
Sophie is an excellent cat model.

4) Cut a piece of Smooth Fusible Fleece Interfacing to be 1" wider and longer than the box top, making my piece 21" by 41". Lay on large scrap onto the Smooth's rough side, lining up two long edges. With the iron set on cotton and seam on, iron fuse the Smooth and fabric together.

5) Line up the black strip with the fused fabric's inner long edge, right sides together. Straight pin in place. Load the sewing machine with black thread. Straight stitch the fabrics together, 1/2" from the edge.

6) Open the black strip flat, iron fusing it to the Smooth interfacing. Line up the 2nd big scrap with the black strip, right sides facing. Straight stitch the two fabrics together, 1/2" from the edge. Open the 2nd big scrap and iron fuse it into place. I had to take care ironing my striped fabrics, as the woven pattern is loose and can warp the stripes easily. Fabrics without stripes or plaids won't show obvious warping.

7) Lengthen the straight stitch on the sewing machine. Following the stripes, straight stitch lines across the 3 fabric pieces, about 2"-3" apart. I followed the stripes, as the width isn't even. Stitch around all 4 sides, 1/4" from the edge, if your fabric is a loose weave and prone to fraying.

8) Lay the pillow top onto the fleece, right sides together. Smooth the fabrics and straight pin them together. Cut away the excess fleece. At the sewing machine, straight stitch around all 4 sides, 1/2" from the edge. Leave an 8" gap along one side for turning and stuffing.

9) Trim the corners to make turning easier. I curved my corners, instead of at an angle, to reduce the bulk. Turn the pillowcase inside out, shaping the corners with your fingers or a chopstick like object.

10) I learned a new technique for stuffing pillows or anything, from Vickie Howell's new show, The Knit Show. At the end of the Amigurumi episode, she demos shredding Poly-Fil stuffing before filling toys, for a smoother texture and less lumps. I wondered if doing this would be handy for pillows too. Turns out it is.

Grab a handful of stuffing, and break it apart above the Poly-Fil packaging. This way any falling fibers will end up back in the package and not all over your pillow...which took some trial and messy error to learn. Insert the Poly-Fil into the pillow. Repeat this process as you fill the pillow. Fill the corners, bottom and two perpendicular sides before filling the middle. This will make the pillow stuffed more evenly and prevent floppy corners. I swear that's a real pillow stuffing problem. I pat down the pillow to check for any lumps and voids, adjusting the stuffing amount in an area as needed.

11) When your pillow is sufficiently stuffed, turn the gap edges in 1/2". Straight pin in place. Cut a length of black thread. Insert one thread end into the eye of the hand sewing needle and pull through slightly. Matchup the two thread ends. Double knot the thread ends together. Insert the needle under where the machine stitching is on one side of the gap. Pull the needle up, hiding the thread knot. Use an invisible/ladder stitch to close up the pillow gap. Knot the thread into the fabric at the other gap end. Insert the needle under the machine stitching about 2" and pull up. Give the thread a little tug to hide the last knot. Cut the excess thread.

12) Give the pillow a hug to shift Poly-Fil towards the now closed gap. The printed side is people friendly, while the fleece side is better suited for pets with sharp claws.

As you can see, this new pillow is well appreciated by our newest cat Darcy. I sat her on the pillow as an introduction, and snapped some photos. I went back to writing this tutorial. I took a break and noticed she was sprawled out on the pillow, showing it some love. Hours and some wandering later, she's back on the pillow taking a cat bath. The only cat not featured in this post is Pippi, who likes to hide out in our bedrooms or in the den. This storage box pillow was long overdue. If you have a surface that your pets like lounging on, consider adding a custom sized pillow for your pets. Whatever you're making, have fun with it. Happy Makery!


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