With all of the indigo that I’m planning around here, both in the nursery and in the living room, I have been looking around the internet a lot recently for affordable indigo options. Most of the vintage and handmade indigo pieces that I’ve seen are pretty pricey, and dying indigo yourself can be a little messy. For a super quick and simple way to get the look, I fell back on my bleach pen trick that I employed for my DIY mud cloth just last month.
Not only does the bleach pen allow you to control the pattern a little more, it also is very quick. The whole pillow took me about 45 minutes – and that included washing, drying, and sewing.
The funny part about the whole project, is that I ended up liking the back of my pillow the best! I wanted a longer lumbar pillow, and was originally just going to fold the napkin in half, sew, and be done with it. I quickly realized, however, that just folding the 20 x 20 napkin in half make the pillow a bit too skinny, so I took it one step further. After bleaching, washing, and drying, I took out the top and bottom hems of the napkin to give me just a little more fabric to work with.
Those two raw edges, plus the color loss in the hem gave the napkin a really cool look! I wanted to showcase this rough and exposed feature, so I overlapped the edges, keeping one raw edge exposed when I sewed the pillow.
Getting the main part of the pattern was really simple, I just got my bleach pen and a ruler and went to town. Before I started, I did look online at some vintage indigo pillow options to give me a little guidance, but found that the simpler patterns with dots and lines were my favorite.
I ended up going over the bleach marks twice since there was a little pinkish color left over after just one pass. Then I used a little laundry detergent and hand washed the linen before sticking it in the dryer to dry.
You can see the exact seams of my sewing, since it was pretty raw and simple. I just folded back the two raw edges so they met in the middle and sewed down the overlapping raw edge. Then I sewed one of the short ends by just sandwiching the ends together. I did not turn it inside out for a clean hidden seam. I stuffed it with a pillow, then sewed the other end shut. Yes, the insert is sewn in there, but I wasn’t in the mood to deal with a zipper (nor did my raw edge design really warrant a zipper).
I’m pretty excited with the outcome and think I’ll be making a few more and maybe even a blanket or throw for some of the upcoming room redesigns.