How to Make Your Own Pillow Forms

I have a confession: I really like decorative pillows. I have another confession: I am very picky when it comes to pillows and rarely find one that completely satisfies what I want. A few months ago, I bought three pillows from a big box store. They were on sale, and I liked their fabric. But when I brought them home I realized why they were on sale– they were flat as a pancake with barely any stuffing. Ugh. So now I have to use three pillows all at the same time just to have enough cushion. The pillow forms from places like Pottery Barn look awesome but also a little steep on price. But I know how to sew, so why not make my own? Here’s how to make your own pillow forms or, as they are otherwise known, pillow inserts. I’ve included two variations. This is a great beginner sewing project, and they are quite inexpensive. I already had all the materials on hand in my stash to make three, so they were essentially free to make!


How to Make Your Own Pillow forms from It Happens in a Blink


  • White cotton material (pre-washed, of course!)
  • Poly-Fil Fiberfill for stuffing the pillow forms
  • White thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Measuring Tape

Variation One: Using Two Pieces of Fabric

Step One:

Cutting the material: Pick what size pillow form that you would like to make. I made a few, and I had actually chosen a few sizes from the Pottery Barn pillow options that I liked. For this pillow I made a 16″ by 20″ form. For a pillow form this size, I cut 2 pieces of fabric that were each 17″ and 21″.

Cut pillow insert fabric

Step Two:

Pin the pieces with right together (if you have a right side and a wrong side) and sew using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Be sure to leave at least a 3″ opening for turning and stuffing the pillow.

Pin and sew pillow form

Reinforce the seam by stitching another row very close to the first (on the outside).

Reinforce pillow stitching

Clip any excess from the seam allowance and clip the corners.

Clip corners

Step Three:

Turn the pillow right side out.

Turn pillow right side out

Step Four:

Stuff the pillow to the desired firmness. If you like a flat pillow (heaven-forbid!) or a firm pillow, the great thing about making your own pillow forms is that they can be any way that you want. Be sure to spread the stuffing out to the corners, as well.

Stuff pillow

Step Five:

With the seam allowances folded inwards, pin the opening together.

Pin opening closed

Step Six:

Stitch the opening closed across the top using a 1/4″ seam or less. I find that stitching this way (as opposed to trying an invisible stitch) holds better. And since this is a pillow insert, the seam will not be visible.

Stitch opening closed

Variation Two: Using One Piece of Fabric

This variation begins with how the fabric is cut. For a 16″ x 20″ pillow insert, I would cut a piece of fabric 32.5″ x 20.5″ (want the math? double one side measurement, leave the other the same, and add .5″ to each side for seam allowance). Fold the fabric in half and pin, then continue with steps 2-6 above.

One piece of material variation

Fold pillow fabric in half

Now experiment with different sizes. You can virtually make any size insert that you want! Stay tuned in the coming weeks- we’ll be making fabulous pillow covers for them.

Square Pillow Insert from It Happens in a Blink

Make Your Own Pillow Inserts from It Happens in a Blink


  1. says

    How much cheaper do you think this is? I love the idea, but sometimes I find myself doing DIY that actually is more costly than prebought. (Maybe I’m the only one who has done that, LOL!)

    • sue morgan says

      I’m really a feather pillow girl…like the way they can be shaped. So I watch the clearance pillows at TJ and home goods along with thrift stores also buy feathers by pound and then go with a zipper . It really is cheaper in the end!

  2. says

    Just like you, I am also very particular with the pillows I used. When I am out of town, I find it hard to sleep without my pillow..

    Thanks for the detailed instruction on how to make pillows. I should try this when I am not blogging.. :)

  3. says

    I used to make pillows like this all the time when I was little but I would use dryer lint to stuff them! Yes I was a bit imaginative. They’d be made of the leftover scraps from my mom’s sewing for the cover instead of white.

  4. Carol Studie says

    I buy inexpensive bed pillows, then cut them in half. Sew up the two ends and have two pillow forms. They can end up costing around $1.50 each

  5. says

    I am going to do this! I wonder if you could seem down the middle and make an extra large two headed pillow. Say if your partner steals your pillow in the night and sewing them together makes it so that they can’t.

  6. Cathy says

    I can’t keep the fiberfill in the corners unless I overstuff the pillow and then it’s too firm for my liking. Any hint on how to make the fiberfill stay in the corners?

  7. says

    This is a dumb question, but don’t you need to cut your fabric a whole inch larger than your finished size if you’re using a half inch seam allowance?

  8. says

    Thanks for the great DIY instructions! the form that gives the pillow its puffy shape can be a DIY project too! Making our own pillow insert allows us to make pillows of any size and shape, even something unusual or irregular.


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