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Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Outdoor Pillows for About $1 Each

At the beginning of May I bought this lime green and white, all polyester shower curtain at Value Village (thrift store) for about $4.50. It was 72 X 72 inches.

We have several of these old, mildew-stained, torn, and faded outdoor pillows/cushions. I gave them a good washing in the kitchen sink, then let them thoroughly dry for a few days before recovering with the shower curtain fabric.

Meanwhile, I sewed covers for 4 of the washed pillows a week ago. I just didn't put the old pillows into the covers yet.

This afternoon I finally had time and motivation to stuff the pillows and sew them closed. I didn't bother taking the stuffing out of the old filling, but covered the old, but washed pillows with the new fabric.

Here's how the first four turned out.

I measured the remaining fabric and I have enough to make 4 additional pillow covers for a total of 8.

Cost analysis

My cost for this project was $4.50 for the shower curtain and $2.80 for a new spool of 100% white polyester thread, for a total of $7.30. (I had read that you should use all polyester thread when sewing outdoor items, as cotton breaks down over time when exposed to the elements.)  I also used some Fray Check on all of the raw edges to add integrity to the seams. This was Fray Check from my sewing basket and I didn't use all that much. If I use all of my fabric to make a total of 8 pillows/cushions, they will cost less than $1 each. If I were to buy 8 all new outdoor pillows, my best guess is I would spend about $75 or $80.

I like how they turned out. By using thrifted fabric (shower curtain), and spending about 30-40 minutes on each pillow, I spared money in our outdoor living redo budget, money which is now available for some of the big ticket items. 


  1. The pillows looks so nice and fresh and a good price, too. Around here, you can get a small outdoor pillow for $5-8 and a bigger one for $15 shopping at places like Walmart and Costco. Your patio is going to be so nice, you won't want to spend any time inside this summer.

    1. Thank you, Live and Learn.
      I hope we all want to spend our summer outdoors. We get enough indoor time once the fall rains return.
      Hmm, thanks for the info on outdoor pillow pricing in your area. There's always end of season clearance for great prices on outdoor stuff too, which actually comes many weeks before summer is actually over.

  2. Love them! I would have done the same thing you did--thoroughly cleaning the old pillows and placing the pillow covers over them instead of unstuffing-restuffing. When are we all coming over for a bonfire? :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      Thanks for saying that about leaving the old covers on. I was on the fence what to do, and this way just seemed simpler.
      Anytime -- I'll supply the graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate!

  3. Hooray, Lili! I wondered if that was what you were sewing all day yesterday. They look wonderful and cheery!

    I'm with you (and Kris). It's much more practical to just cover the cleaned old pillows, rather than remove and replace the stuffing. Fill has a tendency to wad up and/or squash down where it's been under pressure, not to mention, you never REALLY know what you'll find when you open up a fiber-fill pillow (or dog bed, etc.). I've found mixed fillings, and a lot of fill that's too clumped to fluff up or get anywhere near as smooth as it was in the original. So, covering a pillow that is still acceptably-shaped seems much safer to me than pulling the fill out, and trying to re-stuff. Also, I figure that the previous cover, even if worn, ought to continue to give support to, and reduce strain on, the new covers. It also ought to make recovering again, when that time comes, as we know it might well, easier.

    Have a great day, everyone. Sara

    1. Hi Sara,
      We had a coyote or raccoon that tore a hole in one of the old pillows one night last summer. So I got a look at what the stuffing looked like. It was dark in color, which surprised me. In addition to just being simpler to leave the old covers on, I also was afraid the dark color of the stuffing might show through the new cover, since it's light in color. You're right about sometimes finding stuffing that can't be fluffed very well, or some that wants to ball up when deconstructing a pillow. It can be a real mess. And yes, when these become too mildew stained or faded or develop tears, yes, recovering will be that much easier. Who knows, maybe I'll leave both covers on when recovering someday in the future.


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