How to Make a Pillow – Simple Sewing


How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

I’ve said it over and over again – I think throw pillows are the easiest way to spruce up any space in your home.  The easiest way to make a pillow that is easy to create, and then change out when you become bored, is to sew an envelope-style pillow.  In contrast to a zippered pillow, the envelope pillow has a simple overlapped back where you can easily slip a pillow form in or out.  When you’re not adding any embellishments or extra elements to your pillow cover, you can probably whip one or two out in less than 15 minutes.  Today, I’m going to show you how to make a pillow – a great project for beginners, too!

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

You will need:

one pillow form

upholstery-weight fabric or lighter weight fabric backed with interfacing

sewing machine, thread

Measure you pillow form.  I cut the dimensions of the fabric the same size as the pillow cover and use a 1/4″ seam – then the pillow fills out the cover perfectly.  So, cut a front cover piece and two back pieces.  The two back pieces should be the same width as the front, but the height should be a few inches larger to account for the overlap (and hemming) on the envelope closure.

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

Hem one horizontal side of each back piece.  Serge, fold down by 1″ and stitch two parallel lines.  You can also turn and press the edge twice and then stitch if you don’t have a serger.

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

Next, lay the front cover piece right side up.  Place the two back cover pieces right side down with the hemmed edges to the center and overlapping.

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

Stitch all the way around the perimeter of the pillow, keeping a 1/4″ seam.  Trim the corners.  Turn the cover right side out and press.

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

Tuck the pillow form in there and you’re all set!  You just made a pillow!!  Now make a bunch more because they’re super easy!

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

These pillows are, obviously, decorating my deck.  They sure make it a lot more comfortable and pretty!

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

The yellow prints are upholstery-weight fabric.  The black and tan prints are that Sunbrella fabric, I believe.  Both purchased from, but they’ve been sitting around for over a year, so I don’t know if these exact prints are still available.   I’m curious to see how the Sunbrella fabric holds up in the summer sun – I’ll let you know!

How to Make a Pillow - quick tutorial!

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  1. says

    I am often working on sewing for my etsy shop so I rarely make stuff for the home anymore. However, I agree–the easiest sew job ever. (That and cushions for the dining chairs.) I have some ticking fabric coming for two pillows and I have to try to cut out the size for the pillow dimensions. I am always afraid it will not be enough yet end up going back to the sewing machine two more times to bring it in more! I will try the exact dimensions this time–promise!

    • Jamie says

      I used your instructions to sew my very first project with a sewing machine. Im decorating my sons room in marvel heroes. I wanted to make a quilt and realized I needed to learn ALOT more before I do that. So, pillow first, curtains next, and then if all goes well, I may tackle a quilt. Wish me luck. Ill try to post pics somewhere of the finished project. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! :) Thanks for the simple instructions.

      • girlinspired says

        Yay!!! What a great accomplishment – congratulations! Pillows are such a great place to start. When you’re ready to tackle a quilt, I’d recommend the “Quilt in a Day” series by Eleanor Burns – I picked up one of those patterns and it was the first thing I ever sewed as an adult – the pattern booklet was easy to use! I just posted a curtain tutorial last week if you’re looking for extra instructions – Have fun!!

  2. says

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit
    my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that
    over again. Anyways, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  3. Amy says

    They look great! As soon as we move into our new house this is the 1st project on my to-do list. In the past I’ve always made them a bit bigger than the pillow from and they’ve looked a bit sloppy. Glad to know the secret now!

  4. Gena says

    I found some burlap coffee bean bags and wanted to make pillows out of them. Would you have any suggestions on working with the rough burlap?

    • girlinspired says

      Hi Gena! Burlap pillows sound super cute!! I haven’t worked much with burlap – I’d think you would want to make sure you get any wrinkles out by ironing (and steaming?) with a press cloth. And then just go slow when you’re sewing so that the bulky fabric doesn’t bunch up or get your needle caught up. I’d also think that the seam allowances might be bulky, so think about trimming those down after you’ve stitched the pillow together (but not too close to the stitching!!) Good luck!

  5. says

    Please send me name of fabric for the pillow with the heart and black and white piping. I make pillows for Angel foundation (My daughter had Breast Cancer) to raise money in her name for research to cure this tragedy . thank you so much for your help. Love the mud pie recipe and the ruffled cake. You are an amazing woman and your mom should be very proud of you.


    • girlinspired says

      Hi Marianne, The fabric for the heart pillow is called Who’s That Girl by Robert Kauffman – it’s great, isn’t it? Thanks so much for stopping by!

  6. says

    Thanks Stef for sharing! I am looking for a instructions to do pillow for my parent in their wedding anniversary and I came here. Thanks again


  1. […] Admittedly, this is really soon to share another Silhouette project, but I was so excited to use this machine, I signed up for ALL the upcoming promotions – hahaha!  And, I’m glad I did because I just found out I get to give away ANOTHER Silhouette Portrait electronic cutting machine!!!  The heat transfer materials for the machine are one of the products that I have been drooling over for quite a while!  I didn’t have a lot of time to get fancy with this first heat transfer project and I have been wanting to cut out this little bicycle for so long, it had to be done before anything else.  The bicycle is one of the images that is included in the free set of heat transfer downloads that you get when you purchase the heat transfer kit.  Could it be any easier?  I put this bicycle onto a fabric frame that I also cut out with the Silhouette using the sewable fabric interfacing.  I first ironed the background frame onto a plain-ish pillow; then I used a really narrow, short zig-zag stitch to go around the whole thing.  After the pillow was ready, I ironed on the bicycle heat transfer.  Done!  You can find a simple, envelope-style pillow tutorial here. […]

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