How to Make a Pillow: Your Step by Step Guide


There’s just something about throw pillows that tie an entire room together. They take a sad, boring couch and add a pop of color to them.

Pillows aren’t only amazing as a decoration tool. You can’t get a goodnight’s sleep without resting your head on one. The thing is, a good pillow is both hard to find and expensive.

That’s why we’re going to teach you how to make a pillow that looks like you got it from a store. As long as you have some basic sewing skills, you shouldn’t have a problem. Check out this step-by-step guide to get started!

Choose Your Fabric

The first step is to choose your fabric. We recommend using a heavier cloth option like the kind that goes on your upholstery. Doing so will help your pillow keep its form. If you find a pattern you like in a lighter fabric, you can still use it, but you might want to use a layer of batting with it.

We will say that the upholstery fabric might not be the most comfortable option if you want to sleep on your pillow. If you’re going to use the pillow in the bedroom, high-thread cotton will be ideal.

You can start your search with these ikat fabrics or head to a local store. Most places have tons of options to choose from that are available in bulk.

Measure Your Pillow Form

Now that you’ve chosen fabric to make your couch throw pillows, you can get started with your project. Something you need to know is that there are a million ways to stuff a pillow.

You can buy pillow forms, sew a cover over a current pillow you have laying around, destroy an old pillow, or buy your own stuffing.

In the case of the first two options, you’ll need to do some measuring. Use a tape measure to record the height and width of the insert that you’re going to be using.

Cut the Fabric

It’s time to grab a pair of scissors and get to cutting your fabric. You’re going to cut two squares or rectangles of equal size. If you’re using an insert, the fabric pieces will obviously need to be the same size as the measurements you took.

Sometimes, the fabric will fray as you cut through it. It’s no big deal because you can fix it after you’re finished cutting out your squares. All you need to do is put it under your sewing machine for a minute and do a zig-zag stitch along the edges.

Pin and Sew

Place the two pieces of fabric together so they’re right side in. Grab a few straight pins and pin down three sides of the fabric, leaving one side open. Doing so will allow you to turn the pillow right-side-out later and stuff it.

Find a colored thread that’s the same shade as your fabric and load it into your sewing machine. You’re going to sew the three pinned sides together using a straight stitch. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can do everything by hand.

Remove the pins as you go along, and if you’re doing things with the machine, don’t forget to do a back stitch at the beginning and end of your sewing. That will prevent your stitch from coming undone later.

Fold and Iron

When you’re finished sewing, you’ll go ahead and turn the pillow right side out. You may have some problems with this step if you used a heavy fabric. You can make things easier on yourself by cutting the corners a little.

Turn your attention to the end that you didn’t sew and fold the raw edge in a little (about half an inch). Press your iron over the crease. It will act as a nice guideline later when you’re finishing up the sewing process.

Stuff the Pillow and Close the Opening

Grab whatever stuffing you’re using and put as much of it into the pillow as you can. Again, there are a lot of options that you can use. Polyester is the most popular choice because it’s easy to come by at the fabric store.

When you’re done stuffing, pin the opening closed before you start sewing. You finish up the sewing process by hand or with your machine. Keep the stitch as tight as possible, and again, don’t forget about back stitching.

Envelope Pillow

There’s more than one way to make a pillow. If you’re running into trouble with the instructions that we gave you above, you can try out the envelope style. It’s a pretty simple and easy option.

Cut the Fabric

Like before, if you’re going to use a pillow insert, you’ll need to measure the size of it. Cut a single long piece of fabric that is a bit smaller than the numbers you get. That’s going to be the front of your pillow!

Next, you’re going to cut out your back pieces. They need to be the same width as the front piece but only half the height. Well, half the height with an added 5 inches.

Hem the Edges

After you have everything cut out, you can hem the edges of both your back pieces. To do this, turn them so the back is facing you.

Fold the edges and pin them down before you take your back pieces over to the sewing machine. Sew the hem while removing the pins as you go along.

Pin the Pieces and Sew the Edges

Turn the front piece right side up and place the back pieces on top right side down. Make sure that all the edges match up. There will be some overlap on your back pieces, and that’s okay.

Grab a similar color thread and sew along the four edges of the pillow. Yes, we said four. You’ll be stuffing the pillow using the middle space where the two back pieces are overlapping.

Stuff the Pillow

The last step is to stuff the pillow with the insert. You won’t have to worry about sewing the middle together. The overlapping back pieces will prevent your stuffing from falling out.

No-Sew Pillow

Are you not so handy with a sewing machine? That’s okay. You can make yourself a no-sew pillow. You’ll tie pieces of fabric together to hold in the stuffing instead of sewing.

Grab Your Fabric and Cut

For this project, you’re going to need a non-fraying fabric. Fannel and fleece usually work fine. You’ll be cutting two large squares out of the fabric.

You can use the same pattern or pick out two different ones. As long as you use the same type of fabric for both pieces, the sky’s the limit.

After you’ve cut the rectangles out, you’ll take a 3-inch square chunk out of every corner. It will sort of look like a fat cross when you’re finished.

Make and Tie the Tassels

You’ll now create your tassels by cutting 3-inch strips on each of the four edges. You should cut an even amount of strips on all sides because you’ll be tying them together.

The top tassels will go with the bottom ones. You’ll have to make a tight double knot, or you’re going to have issues keeping your pillow together.

Stuff the Pillow and Finish Tying

Leave a small space, so you can stuff your pillow. Most people go the polyester route when making one of these pillows. Whatever option you choose, you’re going to stuff the pillow until it’s full to bursting.

When you feel like enough is enough, you can finish tying the pillow together. Like before, you’re going to use a tight double knot to close the pillow off.

That’s all there is to it! It might not look store-made, but it will act as a unique focal piece that will have your guests talking. It will also be pretty comfy to lay on.

How to Make a Pillow That’s Comfy and Functional

Throw pillows can add a lot of visual interest to any space. They take a boring couch and give it a beautiful pop of color that will impress your guests.

They’re also comfortable to lay on if you know which ones to buy, or know how to make a pillow. We hope that you’re able to use this guide to create the best pieces for your living room or bedroom.

Are you looking for more amazing DIY projects to fill your boring weekends? Visit the Lifestyle section of our blog for additional articles like this one.