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!
- White cotton material (pre-washed, of course!)
- Poly-Fil Fiberfill for stuffing the pillow forms
- White thread
- Sewing Machine
- Measuring Tape
Variation One: Using Two Pieces of Fabric
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″.
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.
Reinforce the seam by stitching another row very close to the first (on the outside).
Clip any excess from the seam allowance and clip the corners.
Turn the pillow right side out.
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.
With the seam allowances folded inwards, pin the opening together.
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.
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.
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.