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Make a Travel Pillow by Recycling an Old Coat

written by: Lara Stewart•edited by: BStone•updated: 1/13/2011

If your old coat has seen better days, you can recycle it into a comfy travel pillow. This project is easy enough for novice sewers, but useful enough for advanced seamstresses, too.

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    How to Make a Travel Pillow from an Old Coat

    Reusing old clothing for new crafts is a great way to save money and keep items out of the waste stream. If you have an old coat or jacket that is stained, ripped or shows too much general wear for you to donate it to a thrift store, you can, instead, use the coat to make a travel pillow. Travel pillows are handy to have during long car or air journeys. With fewer airlines providing these during flights, it helps to have one of your own with you.

    Using your ingenuity to recycle a coat to a travel pillow is a way for you to keep from throwing away a worn-out item and also avoid using new resources.

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    Required Materials

    The needed items for your recycled coat travel pillow are ones you probably already have on-hand. They include:

    • A coat. The best ones for a project like this are those that are soft and comfortable. Soft fleece, puffy ski coats and silky materials like cashmere are all great picks. You will want to avoid scratchy fabrics like wool, as they will not make comfortable pillows.
    • Soft filling material. If your coat was insulated, you may be able to use that material to stuff your pillow. Other recycled filling options include stuffing from a worn pillow or stuffed animal and cut up pantyhose.
    • A needle and thread or a sewing machine. Machine sewing, obviously, will go much faster. However, if you do not own a machine, you can sew your travel pillow from an old coat by hand while watching television or relaxing.
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    Sewing Your Travel Pillow

    Cut two rectangles of equal size from your coat. Nine by twelve inches are good dimensions, but, you can make the pillow larger or smaller to suit your needs and your available materials. You will want to pick an area of the coat that does not have any buttons, zippers or other features that will keep you from getting a solid area. Seams are okay as long as they are straight. Curved seams would result in a rectangle that will not lie flat.

    Put the two rectangles together right sides (that is, the outside) facing each other. If desired, you can pin the pieces together to keep them straight.

    Sew three sides of the pillow together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

    Turn the pillow back right side out. Begin stuffing the pillow. Be careful not to overstuff.

    Fold the raw edges of the fabric under about 1 inch. Sew this last side, sealing the stuffing inside your travel pillow.

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    Tips

    • A coat yields more materials than you will need for your travel pillow. Save extra fabric, zippers and buttons for another project.
    • If you are feeling ambitious, you can make matching accessories to go with your travel pillow such as a cellphone or mp3 player case, eye glass case or a small travel bag for cosmetics.

    It is easy to recycle your old coat to make a travel pillow. Be creative, have fun, and even make a few recycled gifts for your friends and family.