Thursday, January 19, 2017

DIY Grain Sack Pillows (And Where to Buy Grain Sacks)

If someone were to accuse me of being slightly obsessed with vintage European grain sacks... I'd say they were wrong. 

I am totally obsessed.

And today, I am going to share all of my grain sack secrets and tips... like the best places to buy your grain sacks at the lowest price, how to make affordable grain sack pillows (sew and no-sew options), and if you're not up for making them yourself, where you can shop for a beautiful selection of grain sack pillows.

 Where to Buy European Grain Sacks
(This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.)

While I have purchased a few grain sacks from antique shops and vintage markets, they were expensive! The most affordable grain sacks I have found are from here. Most grain sacks found on this site ship from the United States, so shipping is affordable if you reside in the US. If you don't want to wait for an auction to end, you can refine your search to the "Buy it Now" option (my favorite).

Another great source for grain sacks is here. These ship from Austria, so you may want to order multiple sacks at once to keep shipping fees per grain sack down.

The soft colors and that great "nubby" texture of grain sacks provide that European farmhouse feel that so many of us adore. Part of the charm of grain sacks lies within their history. Did you know that farmers used to deliver their product to be processed in these sacks, and then each bag was returned based on the striped pattern? Some grain sacks also have initials for identification...

Where to Buy Grain Sack Pillows

If you don't have the time, supplies, or desire ;) to make your own grain sack pillows, you can find beautiful pre-made grain sack pillows here.

Why Make Grain Sack Pillow Covers?

Grain sack pillows are expensive to purchase. Did you know that if you purchase one standard size grain sack, you can make up to four 18" x 18" or 20" x 20" pillow covers? This is done by using grain sack only on the front of the pillow cover and using a coordinating (linen, ticking or canvas) fabric on back. It will cost you a fraction of what it would cost to buy pre-made grain sack pillow covers!

DIY Grain Sack Pillows


·      Vintage grain sack (washed before cutting)
·      Fabric for back of pillow (canvas, ticking, etc. - About the same weight as grain sack)
·      Pillow insert
·      Scissors
·      Ruler
·      Tailors chalk (optional)
·      Matching thread
·      Sewing pins
·      Fray Check
·      Iron
·      Sewing machine


Step 1: Measure your pillow. My pillow is 20" x 20".

Step 2:  Cut your fabric. The grainsack front is 20" x 20". Cut two smaller pieces for the back of your pillow to form the “envelope”. You want the same length but shorter in width.  My pieces are 20" x 14".

 Step 3:  Apply Fray Check to raw edges of grain sack.  This is my new find!  It is a liquid seam sealant which prevents fabric from fraying and secures thread ends.  It also prevents me from having to hem so many sides!

Step 4:  Apply Fray Check to 3 sides of your shorter fabric backing pieces.  You must hem one of the long sides of each piece.  (You are only creating a finished seam on ONE of the long sides for each piece.)

Step 5:  Hem one long side of each piece of your pillow back. Iron. 

(Can you believe that's me? Sewing? And that's my mom you hear over my shoulder, cheering me on.)

Step 6:  Lay down the large piece (grain sack) on the bottom (face up), and then layer the two other pieces on top, right sides together (face down). Your two shorter pieces should overlap. Trim any edges so the four sides are matched. The middle flaps are left open to get the pillow insert in and out.

Step 7:  Pin four sides together.

Step 8:  You can sew 5/8ths of an inch around the perimeter you have pinned, OR!!

You can create beautiful corners for your pillow by going the extra mile!  If you sew your pillow cover together forming right angles, the result is often “rabbit ears” for your corners.  Here’s a trick I just learned, and well worth the extra effort:

Step 9 for pillow purists:  Mark all 4 sides into 3 sections and mark (I put a mark at 6 ¾”.  Close enough!). Mark in 1/2" from the sides of each corner of the pillow.

Now, Draw a line from each side's mark to each corner, so that the pillow now looks like a slightly squished square. You are making an obtuse angle rather than a right angle.

Trim the pillow cover along these lines. (Use Fray Check on the unfinished edges now, instead of in Step 3 and 4, if you are choosing to do Step 9.)

Sew as usual.  No more rabbit ears!  Trim corners off, careful to not cut into stitches.

Final step: Turn right side out and put pillow form inside. You did it!

DIY No-Sew Grain Sack Pillows

You can find the tutorial post I wrote here!

Thank you so much for visiting today! I hope you found this information useful.

I'd love to know if you are a fan of grain sack? Do you prefer to DIY or buy? Have you come up with any creative ways to use grain sack in your home?

I'd love to hear!


Sharing with:
Savvy Southern Style
French Country Cottage
The Inspiration Gallery


  1. Thanks so much for the information and links on where to procure vintage grain sacks and material! I had no idea that grain sacks were that large. I hope your New Year is going well.

    1. You're welcome! And thank you for your kind feedback. Yes, they are larger than you might expect... allowing for several pillows to be made. Hope you enjoy the weekend!

  2. I'm with you girl, I am obsessed with grain sack! I have bought fabric off of D├ęcor Steals and made my own, but I would love one with a monogram. You've got some pretties! I appreciate the heads up about the besties. I recently bought a chair with a burlap seat. I'm toying with the idea of adding a grain sack stripe to it. I've added one to a stool, a bench, a box, why not a chair? :)

    1. Hi Jann ~ That would look amazing on a chair! I only have pillows and a runner with the antique European grain sacks... now you've got me thinking furniture! Where will it end?! Lol. Stop me if you see me wearing grain sack... though a messenger bag would be pretty cute... :)

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  5. I read a article under the same title some time ago, but this articles quality is much, much better. How you do this.. Goose down pillows

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