Dollar Bin Decor – Ruffle Pillow

I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to enter a Target without checking out their dollar bin section.  I have re-purposed so many items from that section that I thought it was time to share a couple with you guys.  Introducing Dollar Bin Decor – the Ruffle Pillow!

Pillow Title


Dollar bin?  What?


For real!  These waffle towels are from Target’s Dollar Spot.  You get two towels, making them technically $1.50 each, but if you use Cartwheel, you save even more!  Run – there are a ton of cute designs right now. also has a good selection of Waffle Knits and a handy Guide to Waffle Knit Fabric.

To get started, let’s gather up the supplies.


What you need:

  • Dollar Bin Towel
  • Fat quarter size scrap for backing
  • Half a yard of fabric for your ruffle
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Ruffler Foot (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Quilting Ruler
  • Cutting Mat
  • Pins

First thing, get the edges cut off your towel.  This is a great time to decide what size you want your pillow to be and cut your towel accordingly.  I made mine a long skinny pillow for this tutorial.


Cut your backing fabric to the same size as your newly cut towel.  Grab your yardage and cut 3″ strips for your ruffle.  I used five for my pillow (measured 22×12).


Sew your ruffle strips right sides together until you have one long strip.


Trim off excess fabric at seams.


Head on over to your iron and iron the seams open.  If you’ve ever made a quilt binding, we are doing the same thing.


Now, with wrong sides together (right sides out) you will iron the gigantic strip in half like you are making bias tape or a quilt binding.  You’ll end up with a super long 1.5″ in strip.


There are many different options for making ruffles.  You can gather them on your own if you like, but I have personally found a ruffler foot to be an excellent investment.  Thank you to the sewing shop ladies who talked me into one years ago!  This is the beauty!  It looks like a crazy contraption, but is actually a very cool little machine in itself.


My foot has four settings for stitches and I used the 6 setting.  That means that every six stitches, the grabber thingy (technical term) is going to jump back grab a hold of my fabric and tuck it under to make the ruffle.  If you are looking for a pleated look you use setting 1 (and cut a lot more fabric).  If you want more of a wave, use setting 12.  You can make many adjustments on a ruffler foot including how much fabric to grab, when to grab it, and where the stitch falls on your fabric.


Right, so get your machine all set and your ruffler foot on the settings you like.  Feel free to practice on a scrap to see what your settings will do with your chosen fabrics.  Slide the long strip under the grabber thingy and line the raw edge of your strip a little over 1/4″.  It is important to continue to hold your fabric as it is pulled through the foot.  If you lose control, you will ruffle the top layer of your fabric and the bottom layer won’t catch.  If this happens, you have to stop, pull stitches, and line it up again.  A pain.  So, hold on to your strip!


When your foot gets going, it can cachunk a bit.  That’s ok!  Just make sure all the knobs on the foot that hold it in place are tight.  If they loosen and the foot slides, you can easily break a needle.

Look at the big pile of ruffle you made!  Woo!


Pin your ruffle with raw edges meeting the raw edge of your towel.  Your towel should be right side up.


You’ll work your way all the way around the towel.  As you get to the corner, round your ruffle a bit to make a more rounded corner.


You may have to adjust the ruffle a bit to make the corner smooth.


Leave a tail on either end of your ruffle.  We will be stitching them closed next.


Simply put, you will be rolling the end over once, and then one more time.

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Stitch it closed with coordinating thread and do the same to the other part of the ruffle.  Hint:  You want your ruffle to overlap just a little so your meeting place is less noticeable.


See how they overlap just a little?


Now, you will sew the ruffle to the towel.  You can use 1/4 allowance here.  Go slow around the corners!


Clip away the excess corner.


With right sides together and your ruffle sandwiched in between, pin the backing to the towel.



With a 1/2″ seam allowance begin to sew.  This will ensure you get the ruffle threads tucked into the pillow.  Leave about a four inch gap for stuffing.



Mind the gap!



Trim the corners.


Flip your pillow right side out.  Check your ruffle by giving a little tug.  If any part doesn’t seem sturdy or you see the threads from the ruffler foot, go back and adjust your stitching.


Your pillow should look like this!


Now comes the fun!  I always use an old washed pillow to stuff new pillows at my house.  You can use old stuffed animals, pillows, cushions, or go get some fluff from the store.  🙂



Get to stuffing!


When your pillow is stuffed enough, grab some pins and close up the gap.


Carefully and with coordinating thread, stitch the gap closed.  You can hand stitch here if you are so inclined.


Tada!  You made a dollar bin pillow!  Just because I love to see what things actually cost, here’s my cost breakdown:

Towel – $1.50

Backing – $1.50 (quilt store bargain bin!)

Stuffing – Free

Ruffle – From my stash

Thread – From my stash

Total cost for pillow – $3!!!

Magnus immediately claimed the pillow as his own.  🙂


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If you’re interested in seeing some of the other dollar bin decor items I’ve created over the years – pop on over to my blog and have a gander!  Happy sewing!



2 Responses

  1. love this tutorial. I never would have thought about using those little towels for a pillow. I have walked past these multiple times thinking I don’t need any more towels. Hahaha little did I know!

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