Pillows, of course!  Some loyal Patwig followers may remember the Hermes tie pillows.  At the time I thought those were nice and that I might make more someday — even for myself.

And so it happened that a need arose in Patwig’s household.  A munificent gesture from our landlord revitalized our living space and brought about the arrival of unadorned couches — which just cried out for pillows (their slender arms, though elegant, offer no cushion).  Project!

We were also harboring an old feather bed that had been soiled years ago by an unfortunate kitty

We had Kelly just a few short months — having adopted her from a local vet (not our own) who was somewhat misleading about her health.  It turned out she had an advanced cancer and we essentially served as a kitty hospice for her.

and I had an abundant collection of men’s ties, largely donated after the Hermes projects (thank you Nancy Matsumoto, Nicole Miller, and Matthew Van Houten!).

I sorted them by color, with the carpet as a guide. It was hard to go wrong given the splendor of the fabric and patterns

The challenge was to get the feathers out of their old soiled casing

Googling  gave me courage because yes, others have cut open feather beds before me.

and into a new casing made from old curtains

I slit it open and let the contents tumble, ever so loftily, into the casing

This stuff just has no respect for gravity.  It drifts and pivots away just as you think you might grasp a wisp.  Should you ever decide to try this, don’t do it outside, though you might be tempted.  The slightest air movement might as well be a raging hurricane.

Though it seemed a shame to cut them they were given for this purpose.  It’s amazing how much product is manufactured that isn’t put to its intended use.

Taking apart ties is a delicate business.  They are quilt-like, with an inner batting enfolded by a large piece of silk, each end hemmed down with a smaller piece of silk and loosely handstitched up the center, sides joined by the manufacturer’s label.  Each scissor nip must be precise.

I gathered golds for the first, largely left in tie shape

This one ended up just right for an arm bolster

For the second pillow I also stayed close to the tie shape

The Bally tie pictured above is background between the darker ties in the center of this pillow, although the receding effect disappears at the bottom without enough contrast

Next I  went for variation of pin-tucking to add texture to the surface

I love this whimsical skiing gnome pattern from a Nicole Miller tie

The only problem with pin-tucking is that it gobbles up limited  fabric real estate.  I needed to prep several more ties at this stage

Along with cutting them up, prep includes ironing fusible interfacing to the ties, a supplement that strengthens delicate fabrics. Without it a silk pillow might easily tear

It finished up a puffy 22-or-so inches square

Somehow the balance or harmony of the colors isn’t ideal, but I like the pleats and shape

By now scraps were piling up from the cutting I’d done on the first few pillows

Of course it’s unthinkable to let these go to waste

So I thought I’d make the last couple with more traditional quilt blocks.  Though quite deflated by now, the feather bed looked like it might fill two more 20-ish-inch casings

I would love to have yards of this gorgeous, painterly blue

The last is the puffiest, thanks to the fact that the feathers had run out and it’s mostly filled with goose down.  This block is “Pineapple,” a Log Cabin variation.

Pineapple is a bit laborious and leaves yet more scraps, but is rather jewel-like

I like what’s happening on the backside, too.

Having run out of curtains, this casing was made from donated upholstery samples (thanks Lana Lenar!)

With tassles (now there’s a material/item I don’t have in my stash) this could stand on its own

It gets stuffed into the cover  —

The backing for all five is a linen/”hopsack” from an old Pottery Barn slipcover

— then it’s ready for the final seam

It was hard to get the pins in this one

And voila, five pillows for our new couches

Keeping the cats from scratching should be interesting

That’s why I recommend Softpaws

Pillow commissions are available.  Just send me an email or comment below. Seymour is ready as well.