Pillows are easy to make or to buy sofa-ready. They can be as fancy or unadorned as you wish. They add notes of color and texture that catch the eye and sometimes beg to be touched.
"I know people who change their pillows four times a year; every season, different pillows," said Gina Damoulos, co-owner of Triad Plus Fabrics in Roseville, Calif. "Some people change their dining room seat covers seasonally, one set for Thanksgiving and another for Christmas."
The options are endless. Damoulos knows firsthand. She's made hundreds of pillows.
"There's an amazing number of trims and fabrics," she said. "There's so many things you can do front and back. And pillows are a quick spruce-up to make your house look different."
Specializing in fabrics for the home, Triad is a go-to pillow-making source. The 12,000-square-foot warehouse holds thousands of yards of upholstery fabrics plus trims, pillow forms and fill. The company also makes pillows to order.
"Sewing is coming back," added Damoulos, who credits social media sites such as Pinterest for spurring new seamstresses.
Triad's Bonnie Treadway teaches "no-sew" pillows -- just cut, wrap, pin and knot. Sometimes fabric glue comes in handy, too.
"We want to make it as easy as possible," Damoulos said. Think of putting a diaper on a pillow, folding and pinning under the cloth edges. That's the basic concept behind the easiest no-sew pillow.
Treadway also makes no-sew bolster pillows. A little more complicated, these pillows use fabric glue to close seams and attach trim. The tubular pillow is rolled in a piece of fabric. The length-wise edge is tucked under and glued shut. Fabric on the two ends is bunched in rubber bands that are hidden with ribbon or trim. More trim is glued around the pillows at each end to add a finished look.
Pillows can get complex. Treadway's "star pillow" features interlocking squares like a 3-D quilt block.
"The star pillows can be made in all sizes," Damoulos said. "Bonnie makes little stars and fills them with sand for pin cushions. They're so cute."
Damoulos finds inspiration for pillows from many sources.
"I love Pinterest," she said of the photo-sharing site. "I'm always getting ideas from what people 'pin' up. I'm a very visual person. If I can see it, I can figure it out and make it myself."
That's how she spotted some floral creations, made of concentric ruffles around a cloth-covered button atop a pillow. The same effect can be done with ruffled lace.
Another discovered design featured a "mum" made of cones of fabric circles.
Each circle was folded in half, tacked with a stitch or glue to form a cone, then stitched or glued into place on a fabric background. The effect was a 3-D bed-top bouquet.Most pillows take less than a yard of fabric. They can be made with scraps, samples or remnants.
Currently hot in pre-made pillow fabrics are big impact colors -- orange, deep purple, grays, silvers and turquoise blue. Ikat geometric prints, inspired by Guatemalan and Indonesian weavers, are popular, too. So is anything French, from script prints to traditional fleur-de-lis.
"(Faux) fur is super hot," Damoulos said of fake lookalikes. "People love it. It's warm and cuddly -- and washable, too."
So, pile on the pillows. You'll feel cozier all winter.
-- www.bhg.com: Better Homes & Gardens offers an online library of free patterns, most of them requiring only beginning sewing skills. Watch the "how to make a pretty pillow" video at http://www.bhg.com/crafts/sewing/pillows
-- sewing.about.com : This website offers free pillow patterns and lots of basic instructions.
Contact Debbie Arrington at firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.