how to sew a pillow

How To Sew a Pillow: A Beginner’s Guide To Cozy Comfort

Are you craving a cozy night’s slumber? Look no further than crafting your pillow!

There’s something incredibly satisfying about sinking into a plush pillow after a long day. But why settle for a mass-produced option when you can create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece tailored to your dreams? Sewing your pillow is a delightfully simple beginner sewing project that will add a personal touch to your sleep sanctuary. In this artisan’s guide, we’ll unravel the secrets of stitching the coziest companions.

Gathering the Essentials

Before you begin your pillow-crafting journey, you must gather a few essential materials and tools. Let’s start with the fabric selection.

Fabric Selection

Your choice of fabric for the pillow cover will impact its overall appearance, texture, and longevity. Consider choosing a high-quality cotton or linen blend for a breathable yet sturdy option. Flannel or velvet can add a touch of luxury, while quirky prints or vintage finds can infuse your creation with personality.

Stuffing Options

When it comes to stuffing your pillow form, the possibilities are endless. Polyester fiberfill is a popular choice for its loft and affordability. For an eco-friendly alternative, consider natural fillings like wool, kapok, or even buckwheat hulls for a unique texture.

Tools Needed

Aside from your fabric and pillow insert, you’ll need a few basic sewing supplies:

  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  •  Pins or clips
  •  Sewing machine (or a trusty needle and thread for hand-sewing)
  •  Coordinating thread
  •  Ruler or measuring tape
  •  Iron (optional but recommended for crisp seams)
  •  Zipper (for a zippered pillow cover) or velcro (for an envelope closure)

Cutting the Fabric

Cutting the Fabric
Photo credit: freepik

With your materials assembled, it’s time to wield those scissors and transform your fabric into pillow pieces. But first, let’s determine the desired size.

Measurements for Different Pillow Sizes

Standard throw pillow sizes range from 12″ x 16″ for a decorative accent to 20″ x 26″ for a plush king-sized option. Measure your desired pillow size, and add an inch or two to each dimension for seam allowances.

Pinning and Cutting Technique

Fold your main fabric in half, with the wrong sides together, and use pins or clips to secure the layers. Carefully measure and mark your desired pillow dimensions, then cut along the lines with sharp scissors or a rotary cutter for a clean edge.

Sewing the Pillow Case

With your fabric pieces prepped, it’s time to bring out the sewing machine (or your trusty needle and thread) and start stitching.

Stitching the Seams

Arrange your pillow front and back pieces with right sides together, and pin or clip the edges to prevent shifting. Sew along the perimeter, leaving a small opening for turning and stuffing later or sewing an invisible zipper or envelope closure. Backstitch at the beginning and end for reinforcement.

Turning the Case Right-Side Out

Carefully turn your pillow cover right-side through the small opening you left or the zipper/closure. To achieve a squared shape, utilize a tool that is not sharp to push out the corners.

Inserting the Stuffing

Now for the fun part! Fluff up your chosen pillow stuffing and gently insert it into the pillowcase through the opening or zipper. Distribute the filling evenly; don’t be afraid to overstuff slightly for a plumper pillow.

Personalizing Your Pillow

With the basic pillow construction complete, it’s time to let your creativity shine and add personal touches that will make your creation unique.

Embroidery and Appliqué Ideas

Embellish your throw pillow with embroidered designs, from initials to intricate patterns. Or, try your hand at appliqué by stitching on fabric shapes or motifs for a multi-dimensional effect.

Adding Trims and Tassels

For a touch of whimsy, consider adding trims, pom-poms, or tassels along the edges of your decorative pillow. These small details can elevate your creation from simple to showstopping.

Mixing Fabric Patterns

Who says a pillow has to be made from a single fabric? Mix and match complementary patterns or textures for a unique, eclectic look that will be the envy of your friends.

Care and Maintenance

Your handmade pillow is ready to grace your cozy abode, but proper care is vital to ensuring its longevity.

Washing Instructions

Most pillow covers can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergent, but always check the care instructions for your specific fabrics and fillings. Air-drying is recommended to maintain the pillow’s shape and fluffiness.

Storing and Fluffing Tips

When not in use, store your throw pillow in a breathable container or pillowcase to prevent moisture buildup. Regularly fluff and reshape your pillow to maintain its loft and prevent permanent creases or lumps.


What is the best fabric for sewing pillows?

High-quality cotton, linen blends, flannel, and velvet are excellent choices for pillow covers due to their durability, breathability, and textures.

Can I sew a pillow by hand instead of using a sewing machine?

Yes, you can hand-sew pillows using a needle and thread. It may take longer, but it’s an excellent option for those without a sewing machine.

How do I determine the right amount of stuffing for my pillow?

Generally, it’s better to overstuff slightly for a plumper, cozier pillow. Distribute the stuffing evenly and adjust as needed.

Can I wash my handmade pillow covers?

Most pillow covers can be machine-washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Make sure to always review the care instructions that correspond to the fabrics and fillings of your belongings.

What are some creative ways to personalize my pillows?

You can add embroidery, appliqué designs, trims, tassels, or mix and match fabric patterns to create unique, one-of-a-kind pillows.

Can I sew a zippered pillow cover as a beginner?

Yes, sewing a zippered pillow cover is a beginner-friendly project with the right tools and instructions. An invisible zipper foot can make the process easier.

What is the best type of stuffing for pillows?

Polyester fiberfill is a popular and affordable option, but natural fillings like wool, kapok, or buckwheat hulls offer eco-friendly alternatives with unique textures.

How do I prevent my pillow from losing its shape over time?

Store your pillows in a breathable container when not in use, and regularly fluff and reshape them to maintain their loft and prevent permanent creases or lumps.


With a handmade pillow, you’ve crafted more than just a resting place – you’ve stitched together a cozy companion for restorative slumbers. What unique design will you dream up next?

By following these steps, you’ve learned how to sew a pillow and infuse it with your style. From fabric selection to embellishments, your pillow reflects your creativity and is a testament to the joy of handmade craftsmanship. So, snuggle up with your new cozy companion and let the dreaming commence!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 169

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