Okay, check it: I JUST learned how to sew a couple of months ago. Granted, I had some basic knowledge and SORTA knew my way around a sewing machine, but I recently took a sewing boot camp class (at the amazing Workshop SF with the talented Jenny Lemons) to really lock it down. And with that, I wanted to test out my newly acquired sewing skills to add a little desert chic (it’s so hot RN) to the bedroom with some fun, colorful pillows. I’ll show you how to make three pillows — easy, medium and difficult — so you too can have a dreamy bedroom with some serious desert vibes. But please note this one caveat: The skill levels I’ve assigned to the pillows are based on my very entry-level sewing skills. Pro seamstresses could probably whip these out in no time. So, if you’re like me and want to get reacquainted with your sewing machine, scroll on and see how it’s done.


Easy: Serape Blanket Bolster Pillow

Alright y’all, if you can work a sewing machine in any basic capacity, you can make this pillow. Heck, you can even sew this one by hand if you have the time.


Materials and Tools:



1. Fold the blanket in half and, depending on how large you want your bolster, cut off any excess material using the lines of the pattern as your guide.

2. While still folded in half, pin together and sew the cut ends together using a lockstitch, so it forms a tube.

3. Flip the fabric right-side out so the seam is on the inside of the tube. Position the tube so that the design is in front with the seam on the “back side,” and sew one end closed, creating a ¾-inch edge.

4. Fill the tube with pillow stuffing and pin the other end together. Sew closed, creating a ¾-inch edge, and you’re done!


This is totally an easy pillow to make. The best part is that the serape blanket is symmetrical, so fold the blanket in half and cut. Pin the ends together and use a lockstitch of choice to sew it together.


Now flip that B, and turn it right side out, so the seam is on the inside of the tube. Flatten your tube so that the center of the blanket is on one side and the seam is on the other. Seal one side of the tube with a ¾-inch seam.


Time to stuffffff!


Pin the open end closed and sew. Again, make sure you have a ¾-inch seam.


Bam! And you’re done! This one is easy as pie.

Medium: Cactus Pillow

This one takes a little more skill, but is still very achievable with some basic sewing machine and hand sewing knowledge. It definitely adds some playful character to any bedroom. And don’t worry — this is one cactus that is cute and cuddly rather than hard and prickly.


Materials and Tools:



1. Fold your fabric in half and cut a cactus shape, so you have two identical pieces.

2. Pin the two pieces together. Decide where you want your tassel “flowers” and pin them on the edge of the cactus so that the tassel part is tucked in between the pieces of fabric.

3. Starting at the base of the cactus, sew the two pieces together. Go slow, so you can follow the outline of the cactus, leaving a ¾-inch seam. Depending on how large your tassels are, you may want to release the foot to sew over them.

4. Sew all the way around the cactus, but leave a 3-inch opening at the base. Turn the cactus ride-side out and hand stitch the pom-poms to different places on the cactus.

5. Fill the cactus up with the stuffing. Pin, and then hand stitch the 3-inch opening at the base of the cactus closed.

6. Fluff your pillow up and you’re done!


Go free hand and get a little wild as you cut a cactus shape out of your folded fabric. If you like to play it a little safer, you can always use a pencil to create your pattern.


Pin the pieces together. Add in your tassel “flowers” by pinning them to the edge with the tassels sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric.


Sew this bad boy together! As long as you go slow and steady, it should be relatively easy to follow the pattern of the cactus, maintaining a ¾-inch edge. Leave a three-inch opening at the base of your cactus so you have some space to flip it right side out.


Add some more flowers by sewing on your pom-poms.


Fill ‘er up! And then pin and stitch the opening closed.


Fluff it up and you’re good to go!

Difficult: Mud Cloth-inspired Tassel Pillow

Alright, for those sewing novices, like myself, this one is definitely a bit more tricky. You’ll have to both add a zipper and make sure those tassels are perfectly in place. For those sewing whizzes, it should be a breeze. Regardless, they’re perfect for infusing some pattern to your pillow party.


Materials and Tools:



  1. Paint a mud cloth-inspired design on the one piece of canvas and let dry.
  2. Make a one-inch fold on one side of the painted canvas and press with an iron. Repeat with the second piece of canvas.
  3. Center and pin the zipper to the creased sides of the canvas pieces.
  4. Sew the zipper in place, making sure to stop and unzip halfway before you reach the end so that the zipper pull is out of the way while you sew.
  5. Next, pin the two canvas pieces together, so the pattern is on the inside. Pin the tassels into place at the corners of your pillow, making sure you leave one inch of space for the edge.
  6. Sew the canvas pieces together, leaving a one-inch edge around the pillow.
  7. Flip the pillow right side out and fill with the pillow insert, and that’s all there is to it!

Mud cloth is such a great, timeless design. Find your favorite pattern or make one up of your own and paint it onto one piece of the canvas fabric.


Make a one-inch fold on both pieces of the canvas fabric and iron down to reinforce the crease. Next, center and pin the zipper into place with a piece of fabric on each side. Sew the zipper on and make sure you go slowly for consistency and accuracy. You’ll want to move the zipper down halfway, so you can have an opening to turn the pillow right-side out after you sew both pieces together.


Pin your tassels into place and then start sewing! Make sure you’re making your stitches one inch from the edge.


Flip that pillowcase right-side out and add your pillow insert.


Ta-da! Looks like you’re ready to set your bed.


And now… all together!


There are some serious desert vibes up in here.


Okay, ready to get our chill on now… BYEEEEEE!

How are you refreshing your bedroom this season? Get more home inspo from us on Pinterest.

Photography: Chris Andre + Brittany Griffin

Model: Marianne Koo