February Sewing: Pillow Covers for Ellie and Mark (and a bit about choosing a sustainable/ethical pillow)

Almost four years ago, Nik and I bought organic wool pillows for ourselves.  They were definitely a huge investment but it was worth it to us to be sleeping on pillows that are sustainable and good for our health.  (See my review at the end of this if you’re interested.)

When they arrived, the pillow cases were incredibly OVER-stuffed with wool.  We ended up pulling out a couple garbage bags worth of wool before the pillows were flat enough to not give us neck aches.  This made our big investment feel slightly more justifiable!

So, now that Ellie is old enough to want/need a pillow, rather than buying her one, it made sense to use all that extra wool to make an organic wool pillow for her too.  While I was at it, I figured I’d put the assembly line principle in place and make one for Mark too, so that it’s ready when he needs a pillow.

I bought an organic Kona solid in ivory from HoneyBeGood, a store that only sells organic fabric.  After a bit of searching online, their prices seemed to be comparable to most and their shipping was very reasonable.  Plus the order shipped the same day I placed it!

Ellie chose the zippers (invisible for ease of zipping).  I made two pillow cases for each pillow – one to contain the wool and the other one to protect the inside case.  This way, I only have to take off the outside cover for washing occasionally and don’t have to disturb the wool.

002 (800x533)per Ellie’s choice – light blue and bright green for her, bright blue and orange for Mark

First we stuffed the cases with the wool.

003 (800x533)Ellie’s great love – zipping!

Then we inserted the pillow into the second cover.

004 (800x533)

Then we added the pillowcase, made by Nana for Ellie’s second birthday!

005 (800x533) (2) 006 (800x533) (4)“sleeping” on her new pillow

007 (800x533) (2)this pillow = not for playing.  We put it up during the day.


In short, we have not fully loved these pillows.  We love that they come from a renewable, sustainable source .  We love that they aren’t off-gassing dangerous fumes around our heads as we sleep every night.  They are a bit hard to maintain – i.e. if you move them much, the wool shifts, gets lumpy, and then isn’t so comfortable.  The problem is easy but a bit time-consuming to fix.  You just have to pull out the wool, pull all the little pieces apart, and then stuff them back in.

I think that if we didn’t have kids, they’d be fine because they wouldn’t get moved much.  But especially with co-sleeping and babies in our bed, it’s been a bit tricky to keep them comfortable and functional.  So, in summary, I do recommend getting a wool pillow but with reservations.  They’re definitely not as easy to use as a synthetic or down pillow (but they do come without the moral/ethical/environment/heath issues of synthetic or down)!

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