There are those of us in the design world who can't get enough pillows. We are self-proclaimed pillow addicts. With so many choices for pillow cover fabrics, it's no wonder anyone who loves textiles would also enjoy a well made global textile pillow. The purpose of my post today is to give you some inspiration for patching together remnant textiles as well as encourage you to try to make one on your own.
In the photo above, I combined a vintage Guatemalan corte cloth with a vintage African indigo mud cloth. I wanted to make two large 24 inch x 24 inch pillows but I didn't have enough of the Guatemalan corte cloth to cover the front and back sides. The African indigo mud cloth was the perfect shade of blue to match the Guatemalan ikat so a match was made. The result are pillows that can be used on either side.
When cutting fabric for the pink and white mud cloth pillow above, I hadn't noticed there was a discolored area on the white mud cloth. I believe it may have come from the steam in my iron. However it got there, I didn't want to toss a perfectly good pillow aside. I had some extra pink mud cloth scraps, so I created a small patch to cover the spot. Not only did the pink mud cloth print patch solve the problem, I prefer the extra design detail it added to the mud cloth pillow.
The pair of African Baule Cloth pillows seen above were cut from a damaged textile that couldn't be used for much else. There was just enough cloth to get two pillow fronts that have a terrific coastal home vibe. Nautical and mud cloth are not always synonymous, but in this case they certainly are.
African Kuba cloth textiles can be found in many different sizes. Some Kuba cloth comes in very long pieces measuring over fifteen feet or more. The African Kuba cloth pillow above was made form a small piece of Kuba cloth I had in my showroom. Clients weren't wanting to use a 24" square piece of kuba cloth on it's own, but when made into a pillow, it becomes a nice home accessory. Plus, this particular piece of Kuba cloth is very sturdy and will hold up to indoor and outdoor use.
Chinese Hill Tribe wedding quilts have become a popular global textile for home accessories. Chinese minority textiles are often found with fading and damages that you can easily work around. I was able to cut the two 22-inch x 22-inch pillows from a well-worn but beautiful vintage hill tribe wedding blanket. The colors lend themselves to a black and white interior or a taupe and gray space. The cloth was hand made and is a Zhaung hill tribe textile. I have these pillows listed on Chairish because the more rare wedding blanket cloth is a higher-priced item.
Hill tribe fabrics from Asia are often very narrow due to the limited size of the back strap looms the indigenous people use. Above is a pillow I made from a rustic hand crafted Asian hill tribe hemp material. The shibori pattern stripes were made by hand. There are similar patterns, but each is unique due to the hand made nature of the vintage fabric. The width on this particular gray shibori cloth was wider than most measuring 22 inches. This made it easy to create a nice size pillow.
The batik pattern pillow above was made from a very narrow vintage batik fabric from Thailand. I fell in love with the black and turquoise pattern, but the cloth measured a mere 12 inches wide. I didn't want to make a tiny pillow, so instead I combined the vintage batik hill tribe cloth back to a textural cotton upholstery fabric. The two textiles compliment one and other and have a coastal or tropical feel.
I can't say I have a favorite textile for making pillows. However, for the 2017 season, by far the most popular pillows have been those made from vintage African indigo mud cloth fabrics. Each pillow is unique because each textile is hand made and has a different history. The vintage indigo fabrics I use are thoroughly cleaned and mended so the resulting pillows have a certain sparkle about them. I am always pleased to use a piece of African indigo that seemed impossible to save. Small pieces of African indigo mud cloth can be used as patches on damaged indigo, or some may be just large enough to provide a full size pillow front. One thing is for certain, you can make beautiful and unique pillows from small pieces, even scraps, of vintage global textiles.