Sew a basic pillow this week-end!

Decorative pillows add a finishing touch to any room. Today’s home decor market has many offerings ranging in price from budget friendly to couture. Sewing your own can save you money and/or allow you to create a custom pillow that will add that perfect accent to your home.

Today I want to show you a very basic sewing tutorial, one that you can use to create your own custom designs. This is a quick and easy pillow to make. The design is very simple and many times simple is best. If you are new to sewing, my best advice is to be patient and don’t get in a hurry!


Here are the basic supplies you will need:

-Sewing machine


-Measuring tape or ruler

-Straight pins (I like the kind with the plastic ball on the end)



-Bag of pillow stuffing (not pictured)



Fold your fabric in half, so that the finished edges are even. Lay your ruler along the bottom edge like shown here. Using a pencil draw a line along the bottom of the ruler…


so that you have a line like this. Cut along this line so that you have a nice straight edge.


Measure and draw a 20″x10″ rectangle along your new straight edge. If you want to make a different size pillow, draw your rectangle one inch larger that your desired size.


Cut along your lines. Remember your fabric is folded, so you will cut through both layers at the same time. After cutting, you will have two pieces like this.


You will place one piece on top of the other, with the right sides of your fabric facing each other. The right side of your fabric will the decorated side or the side of your fabric that you want to show. Next, pin along the edges about every 2″ or 3″.  On the bottom of the pillow, leave the middle unpinned. You will not sew across this section, so that you can fill it with stuffing later.


Take the fabric to your sewing machine. Beginning at the bottom of the pillow, where your opening will be, place the fabric under the presser foot and drop the lever down so that the foot is secure against your fabric. You will want to place it so that the needle is about 1/2″ away from the edge of your fabric. Begin sewing, by taking 3-4 stitches. Stop and use your reverse button and take 3-4 stitches in reverse. Sew along the edge, stopping to take each pin out before it goes under the presser foot. Continue sewing until you get to the corner…


then stop the machine, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric. Make sure that your needle is approximately 1/2″ from the edge. Sew down this side. Don’t forget to drop the presser foot back down before you begin sewing again. Continue this process until you get back to the bottom edge stopping at your last pin. Back stitch 3 or 4 stitches. Remember, this will leave an opening for stuffing.

This is what your pillow will look like after you have finished sewing. Next you will need to turn your new cover right side out.


Now, you are ready to stuff your pillow. Pull some stuffing out of the bag and pull it apart in to small pieces like this.


Begin placing the stuffing in the pillow cover, pushing it into the corners as shown above.


Continue filling the pillow until you have it filled to your liking. I have filled this one loosely to make a floppy pillow.


Press the open edges inward using your fingers to pinch them into a crease, as shown above.


Next, pin along the pressed edges, liked pictured.


This is what your pillow will look like after you have the pins inserted.


Thread a needle with thread and tie a knot at the end of the thread. This is a difficult technique to show using a still camera so I recommend viewing this video, by, explaining how to thread a needle and tie a knot.



Insert the need into the fabric and pull the thread through the fabric until the knot is secure in the fabric.


Whip stitch the lower edge closed.


Place a knot at the end of the opening by taking three very small stitches, one on top of the other.


After the last knotting stitch, pull the thread tight and trim the excess thread with your scissors. Your pillow is now finished. Here is another video, by, showing how to sew this type of stitch. A different kind of end knot is shown too.


I added two buttons to the pair I made. You can leave your pillow plain or embellish as you wish.


Many home textile elements are constructed using basic straight stitch sewing. Curtains, duvets, pillows, and table runners are just a few examples. You may find what you are searching for in home decor stores, but you may not. If you haven’t found that perfect pillow for your room, why not give this tutorial a try. With so many beautiful fabrics on the market, you are sure to create something spectacular!


P.S. Feel free to ask questions or let me know if there is a part of this tutorial that isn’t clear. I would also love to hear from you if you use this tutorial and create your own design!

Please join me at the following parties and you’re sure to be inspired!

Inspiration Friday

Home Sweet Home

Feathered Nest Friday

Vintage Inspiration

Saturday Night Special

Craft-O-Maniac Monday

Tuesday’s Treasures

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday


15 thoughts on “Sew a basic pillow this week-end!

  1. Gee, Kristie, you almost have me convinced to pull my sewing machine out of the attic. I love pillows and you gave such a great tutorial on making them.

    I like how you gussied up your page, but I really miss the cherub!

    Distressed Donna Down Home

    • Donna, I don’t know why, but the hardest part of sewing seems to be pulling out the machine! But, once you do it and the project is finished there is so much pride of accomplishment and excitement about your new creation! It is so worth the effort! Which cherub? The Turquoise Angel or or the crowned angel with the empty frames? ~Kristie

    • I hope you have fun with it. It was actually a fairly quick project, taking me less than 45 minutes to make both pillows. For someone just learning to sew, it might take a bit longer.

  2. You’re right … Getting the sewing machine out IS the hardest part! If I could just get past that hurdle I can make a bunch of pillows with all that fabric and trimming I have in the drawers.

  3. Your little embellishment gave the pillow such personality. You’ve got wonderful taste! Thank you for sharing this tutorial…it’s very helpful!

  4. Pingback: Embellish! Make a button out of an old brooch | Market Nine Home

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