How To Make A Pillow
Beginner Sewing Project Plus
No Sew Bolster Pillow Tutorial

how to sew a pillow

Learning how to make a pillow really isn't too difficult at all. If you are looking for beginner sewing projects, this is a perfect one to get you started on learning how to sew.

I have a hard time reading and understanding sewing patterns. So for this tutorial I really tried to illustrate all the instructions with plenty of photos. Sewing decorative pillows will save you money on your decorating budget. And who knows, you may start your own business in sewing decorative pillows!

how to make a pillow

Also, be sure you scroll to the bottom of the page and check out the no-sew bolster pillow tutorial! Fabulous cheap decorating idea from a great blogger!


Beautiful decorative pillows are one of my favorite accessories. If you are trying to decorate on a budget, learning to sew is one of the smartest ways to save money. Once you get the hang of this simple sewing project, you can sew pillows for every room! You can make decorative sofa pillows, pillows with sayings, pillow shams, etc. The sky is the limit.

Learning how to make a pillow really is one of the best easy sewing projects to begin your journey of becoming a seamstress. For the average size pillow you only need 1/2 yard of home decor fabric. If you add ruffles or pleats you will need a little more fabric.

how to sew a pillow

For the pillow in this tutorial, I want to illustrate how to make a pillow with simple ruffled pleats.

how to make a pillow

First, you need to decide the size pillow you would like to make. Most standard pillows are 16" or 18". The pillow in this illustration is what I call a "lumbar" pillow. It fits nicely in a small chair. I cut my pillow 12 1/2" x 14 1/2".

Be sure to add 1/2" to the finished size for your seam allowance.

how to make a pillow

Since this pillow is smaller, I wanted my pleats to only be 1 1/2" wide. I cut my strips 3". That way, when you fold them in half they will be 1 1/2".

When sewing pleats, add up the four sides of your pillow and times it by 2 1/2. This will give you plenty of fabric for your pleats.

how to sew a pillow

After you have cut all of your strips of fabric you are ready to sew them together. Next, iron all of your seams open.

how to sew a pillow

This is one of my favorite products! Magic sizing is lighter than starch, and it doesn't flake on my fabric. And it smells great!

how to sew a pillow

After you have ironed all of your seams, fold your strips in half and iron flat. Be sure to use Magic Starch to give it a crisp finish.

how to sew a a pillow

Now you are ready to sew your strips into pleats. While you are sewing, begin folding your fabric into a pleat using the same idea as if you were creating a paper fan.

Once you have made two pleats, sew over them. Keep folding over the fabric being careful to keep the pleats the same size.

how to make a pillow

This is the part of the project that takes a little patience. Don't rush through it, just keep moving along creating one pleat at a time!

When I was first learning how to make a pillow, I really was impatient. My mother would always say "a stitch in time, saves nine". Well, that is really true! Don't you hate it when your mom is right?

how to sew a pillow

Now you are ready to add the pleats to your pillow. When attaching your pleats, pin the unfinished edge of the pleats and unfinished edge of your pillow.

how to sew a pillow

Once you have completely sewn all around your pillow it is time to connect the two open ends of the pleats.

how to sew a pillow

This part can get a little tricky, but just be patient and you will get it! Basically, you don't want to be able to tell where you started or stopped your pleating. You are going to trim your pleat with enough left over to be able to fold under the raw edge, and then fold over the beginning of your pleat trim. You want to make it look continuous.

how to make a pillow

This is how your pillow should look once you have finished attaching your pleats.

how to sew a pillow

Carefully, make three vertical cuts close to the stitching on all four corners. This will help with attaching the back and front together, allowing the corners to move better while stitching.

how to sew a pillow

Next, with right sides together you are ready to sew your pillow together. Make sure you tuck in the pleats in the corner so you don't accidentally sew them in the seam. Pin all the way around your pillow.

Leave about a four inch opening for turning your pillow right side out.

make a pillow

Before you turn your pillow right side out, you want to trim all four corners like shown. This will remove the excess fabric and make your corners smoother after turning.

how to make a pillow

Now you are ready to stuff your pillow! I like to use polyester fiberfill. Make sure to get the stuffing in all four corners of your pillow.

how to sew a pillow

Once you have finished stuffing your pillow, you need to slip stitch your pillow closed.

how to make a pillow

Once I am finished I like to spray my pillow with Magic Starch and press both sides.

Tutorial for A No Sew Bolster Pillow

how to make a pillow

Ready to learn how to make a pillow without your sewing machine? This wonderful idea is from Rie, of Home and Harmony blog. It is a wonderful idea! She was decorating a girls room, and choose a pink quilt to match the room.

how to make a pillow

"I didn’t want to spend any money on bolster inserts, so here’s what I did…"

Using the string Rie rolled up the pillow and secured it tightly. Isn't that a great idea? Not only does it save money, but this pillow will be extremely sturdy!

how to make a pillow

Wrap the quilt around your secured pillow.

how to make a pillow

Using a safety pin is a great substitute for sewing. It won't show, and it will hold up just perfectly.

how to make a pillow

Next, take the string and tie it around the ends of the pillow very tightly. Then add some ribbon, and you have a finished project!

Now, you have a gorgeous pillows! I hope learning how to make a pillow was fun and easy. Learning to sew is a great way to save hundreds of dollars on your interior decorating bill! Thanks for stopping by, come again!



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