Monday, November 28, 2022

Boot pillow inserts

I decided that I should make some little shoe pillows to keep the shaft of my boots some shape and support so they don’t get squished flat when I store them. I knew that I didn't want a boot tree - they're often not really designed for shorter boots or boots that have laces anyway. I wanted something that would be easy and quick to make using supplies that I already had on hand, so the solution that I came up with works perfectly for me.

I used the amazing Alexander Henry Deadwood Saloon quilting cotton fabric from my stash.

I chose quilting cotton for my pillows, but you could easily use flannel, a lightweight canvas, or even Minky. Keep in mind that the thicker the fabric, the harder it may be to get nice corners on the pillow. When you clip the corners, you may need to clip a bit more to reduce the bulk.

I'd suggest making one so you can see if you like the dimensions before you make a bunch. :)

You will need:
  • Fabric - The amount needed will depend on the size of the pillow (formula in next section)
  • Ribbon or twill tape (you don't have to add this, but I like the look)
  • Poly-fil stuffing
  • This will depend on your specific boots so grab a ruler or a tape measure!
  • Measure the length of the shaft of the boot - I decided to do 6 1/2" (the shaft length of my boots) so mine would fill up most of the height but not extend beyond the top of my boot (don't forget that you will lose length as you stuff the pillows). Once stuffed, mine finished around 6" tall (plus the loop).
  • Determine how large of a pillow you'd like to have - I have a neck pillow with a circumference of 8" which is a great size for. my boots. It filled up the space pretty well, but it isn't anywhere near large enough to make it difficult to remove or insert. Once stuffed, mine finished around 3 1/2" wide.
  • Once you know those 2 measurements, you need to ADD 1" to both the length and width to account for seam allowance. This is the size of the fabric you will cut for each pillow.

You can see that my pillows don't fill up the whole interior, and they aren't as tall as the boots.

Cut (dimensions listed are based on my boots, so just substitute your measurements):
  • Cut (1) 7 1/2”L x 9”W* from fabric for each pillow (*Use the measurements for YOUR pillow)
  • Cut (1) 5” ribbon or twill tape for each pillow
  • Fold right sides together and pin on 7 1/2”* edge (*Use the length measurement for YOUR pillow)
  • Mark 2”* from fold along top edge for loop placement (*This should be the center of YOUR pillow MINUS seam allowance. My folded piece measured 7 1/2"L x 4 1/2"W, so it's 4 1/2"-1/2" =  4" then divide that by 2.)
  • Fold ribbon in half and place raw edges centered on mark between the layers of fabric 
  • Sew 1/2” seam along top, side, and bottom edges leaving a ~2" hole in the bottom edge for turning and filling. For durability, create a second line of stitching* at 3/8" or a scant 1/2" (your preference). (*To be honest, it's not quite as important as if you were using poly beads or a material that is likely to make a huge mess if a seam failed but I didn't want to take a chance.)
  • Clip corners (make sure you don't clip through the line of stitching - you just want to get some of the bulk out of the corners)
  • Press well then turn fabric right side out through the hole in the bottom 
  • Make sure you poke out the corners (I like to use a chopstick or a Purple Thang tool)
  • Press well then fill with poly-fil stuffing to desired firmness (adding more fill will make the pillows a bit smaller because they fluff up)
  • Stitch 1/8” seam across bottom edge twice to close

The boots stand up well on their own with the pillow inserted.

Safely tucked away into their drawstring bag (it's Jeni Baker's Lined Drawstring Bag pattern if you're curious)