How to Sew a Pillow for Your Home

Pillows are an excellent DIY craft because they are extremely customizable. Forget the days of trying to find the right decorations to match your home color scheme.

With DIY pillows you can choose a fabric that ties the whole room together or add a pop of color that you can easily change with the seasons. All this project needs are a few materials and that perfect fabric that you’ve been wanting to incorporate into your home.  

Once you have those items there is no stopping the creativity that can flow from sewing your own home décor!

Materials Needed: 

-The fabric of your choice (see step one for the amount needed) 

-Thread to match the fabric 

-Sewing Machine 

-Straight Pins

-Pillow Stuffing or Pillow Form  

-Scissors 

 

1 – Choose Your Fabric 

 

Choosing your fabric is the first and possibly the most fun step of this whole pillow making process! This step is the inspiration and often the motivation behind making custom pillows in the first place. 

 

There are so many fun fabrics and textures to choose from, so considering the purpose of the fabric is a helpful step. If you are using the pillow to sleep on, consider a soft cotton blend that you would love to rest your head-on. Home décor pillows need to be more durable which is why brocade and upholstery fabric are popular choices for these pillows. Ultimately, I prefer to have a fabric material that is cotton or thicker. I’ve found that stretchy, polyester blends turn out to be more lumpy and uneven pillows. Simply find that ideal fabric for you whether it is a trip to the fabric store or an old curtain that you cannot throw away. 

 

Once you have chosen the perfect fabric for your pillow, make sure you have enough for the craft after it has been pre-shrunk. Usually buying a yard of your desired fabric is enough for a 14” by 14” pillow. Take that yard of fabric and wash it in order to allow any shrinking that may happen.  Preshrinking the fabric before using it for a pillow will make sure it does not get ruined later if you need to throw it in the wash. 

2 – Cutting the Fabric

After washing your fabric, you will want to have double the desired size of the pillow, plus ½ inch. For example, I wanted my pillow to be 14” by 14”. So, I bought 1 yard of fabric, shrunk it, then cut the fabric into 2- 14.5” by 14.5” square pieces. The added ½ inch will allow for a ¼ seam on each side of the pillow.

3 – Lay the Pieces Together

When preparing to sew the fabric, you will need to lay both of the “right” sides together. What this means is that the sides you want to be shown on the outside of your pillow, should be facing each other. Then you will only see the inside of the fabric facing you. To make a pillow you first must sew it inside out, so that is why we start with the fabric “inside out”. This step may seem simple, and it is, but it is one that you will want to double check that you have it correct before sewing. 

Once you have the fabrics right sides in, it is up to you if you would like to pin all the edges. Some fabrics are textured enough to hold their place without pins while you sew.

4 – Sew All Edges – Except 6″

Using the thread color of your choice, start off sewing 5 stitches, then reverse the sewing direction 5 stitches backwards. The reverse stitch creates a natural knot in the thread. Then go ahead and begin sewing the edges. I recommend reinforcing the corners of the pillow by doing the reverse stitch, or “back-stitch” on the corners when you get there. Lastly, and very importantly, leave at least a 6 inch opening. This opening will allow you to turn the pillow right side out, and stuff the pillow with filling.

5 – Flip and Fill Your Pillow

Use the 6 inch opening to turn the pillow right-side-out. Depending on the fabric you choose, you may want to use a pencil to push the corners out from the inside to fulfill the square shape of the pillow. A pro tip for a crisp look is to iron your pillow before stuffing it. The fabric I used for this tutorial was heat sensitive, so I did not iron mine. If you are using a cotton blend fabric it is a good idea to iron your pillow. When you do this fold the edges of the 6 inch opening in and iron over them. Ironing these edges inward will help you maintain a crisp look for the final step of sewing that edge up.  

Once your pillow looks good with the right sides out and the corners nice and square, you can begin filling the pillow. Little by little add the stuffing and fluff up the areas that need it. You will not want to have any lumps after the final step. 

6 – Pin and Sew the Final Edge

This is where your straight pins come in handy. The last edge of the pillow will need to be sewn, but from the outside. To make this look clean and professional, you will want to fold in the edges of the opening, and pin them closed. Once you have the 6 inch opening pinned and looking good, you can take it to the sewing machine. Start with a thread that matches the pillow fabric well. Then make 5 stitches forward, followed by 5 back-stitches. Continue to sew the opening closed. If you want, you can add back-stitches throughout the final edge to reinforce the closure.

7 – Enjoy Your New Custom Pillow!

This craft comes with a warning! Once you see how easy it is to make these pillows, the harder it is to stop! Though when you can affordably mix up your home décor and add an extra element of comfort to your home, why would you want to stop? Enjoy this simple DIY pillow craft and share your project progress in the comments below!