How To: Sew and Stuff a pillow

Have you been putting up with terrible, horrible, pillows?  Do you have issues with these pillows poking you in the face with their evil feathers right in the middle of your Breaking Bad marathon?   One day in a fit of rage, did you grab those pokey pillows, march yourself outside, and violently throw those pillows in the dumpster?

Well I did. And then we needed replacements.

I went and picked up some materials and got started making my own new, soft, non-pokey pillows.  Here’s how you can make your own.

Materials needed:

  • fabric of your choice (I only needed about half a yard, combined, for one pillow) I used white for one side, yellow polka dots for the other.
  • poly-fil stuffing found at craft stores (less than one bag needed for a 12×18 inch pillow like the one I’m making)
    * Cost-saving note:  Pre-made pillow forms are found at most craft stores.  They range in size and price, but an 18×18 insert costs around 10 bucks at Hobby Lobby.  One bag of poly-fil stuffing was $2.99. Easy choice for a cost-saving gal like me.
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • sewing machine and thread
  • iron

1.  Pre-wash and iron your fabric.

2.  Cut out 2 identical rectangles. For a 12×18 inch finished pillow, cut your rectangles to be 12 and ½ inches by 18 ½ inches.  This gives us a ¼ inch seam allowance when we sew them together.  I used my rotary cutter and mat, but you could easily cut these dimensions by measuring, marking, and carefully cutting with scissors.

3.  Pin the 2 rectangles together, with the “right sides” facing each other on the inside.  You want the decorated/vivid side of the fabrics facing each other on the inside, since we’ll be turning this sucker inside out after sewing.  Place your pins around the edges, a couple inches apart, just to hold it together when it’s run through the sewing machine.

4.  Starting in the middle of one side of the rectangle, sew a ¼ inch seam around the edges.  When you get to a corner, keep the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, rotate your fabric, lower the presser foot back down, and continue down the next side.  When you are sewing down the last side of the pillow, leave 4-5 inches or so un-sewed. You need to able to fit your hand in the opening.

5.  Cut the corners off!

6.  Now wriggle your hand in the opening you left un-sewed, and turn that baby inside out. Or, right side out? Anyways, do this gently, and when you’ve got it all situated the right way, stick your fingers in there and push the corners all the way out.  To make the corners even more perfect, use a chopstick or something similar to really get in there.

7. Now it’s time to stuff!  When you grab a handful of poly-fil stuffing, pull it apart gently with your fingers so you aren’t stuffing your pillow full of lumps.  Keep putting handfuls in and get those nooks and corners well-filled!

8.  Once your pillow is sufficiently stuffed, now’s the tricky part.  Sewing that last edge together.  I found it was easiest to tuck the raw seams in and pin closed, before hand sewing it shut, taking the pins out as I went. I used a ladder-stitch, which keeps those stitches hidden. Click here for the link to the ladder-stitch tutorial I used.

Boom, pillow! I went a little nuts and made 3 more in different colors and sizes. whoops.

Looks like a certain beagle I know is digging the new pillows.

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