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How To Hand Sew A Pillow. Quick 2-Step Guide

You can learn how to hand sew a pillow in two simple steps. This will be a useful skill to have because you can experiment with different materials and pillow sizes. However, this guide is for your typical bed pillow, so feel free to modify it according to the shape you’re making.

Besides a pillow insert, it’s also common to make the pillow yourself at home. It gives you the freedom to customize a pillow to suit your needs and guarantee the best sleep quality. Furthermore, why not impress your friends by making them pillows as gifts?


How To Hand Sew A Pillow

How To Make A Hand-Sewn Pillow


Step #1. Make a pattern

Making a pillow yourself gives you complete freedom over its shape, size, and design. Therefore, before sewing, the first step is making the pattern and cutting the fabric pieces for the pillow. If you already have a pillow form, you can use the exact measurements or use any size you like. 

Cut two pieces of fabric that will make the front and back sides of your pillow. Then, pin the bottom edge of these fabric pieces with their right sides together and wrong sides facing out. You can make sewing easier by pinning two inches from one corner and end it two inches from the other corner of the bottom side. 


Step #2. Sewing

The final step is sewing itself, and you can start where you placed the first pin at the bottom edge of the pillow liner. A useful tip is bringing the needle upward and then moving it over 1/8 inches before sewing back to the liner’s bottom side. You should easily sew around the pillow, but remember to leave two inches open for turning the pillow liner right side out. 

When making knots, you want to include a bit of fabric to where you want to place your next thread. Then, leave a small thread loop and pull your needle through it for added security. Clip the four corners of the pillow and turn it right side out. 

You can then stuff the pillow with your choice of filling and amount to reach your desired firmness and loft. Remember always to check if the pillow is snug and has no spaces inside. Then, pin the opening and stitch it closed with a ladder stitch or use a different type of closure like a zipper if you don’t want to permanently shut the pillow. 


Common Types Of Pillows

Before anything else, it’s worth noting that some pillow types may overlap. One can consider a body pillow a bed pillow, a bolster pillow as a body pillow, or a wedge pillow as a pregnancy pillow. Some bed pillows can also become decorative pillows like the European pillow. 


Bed pillow

When we think of a bed pillow, the standard-size one comes to mind. You can also find other rectangular bed pillows in king and queen sizes. However, you can think of any pillow as a bed pillow, so don’t be confused when choosing pillows in the market. 


Body pillow

Body pillows are larger pillows that are meant to support various body regions and maintain a good sleeping posture. Still, there are body pillows from various brands that are smaller and target specific areas in the body. In general, anything that supports the body and influences the sleeping position can be a body pillow. 


Pregnancy pillow

Pregnancy pillows look like body pillows, but they come in different shapes and sizes to support pregnant women. They can relieve the pressure on the back and stomach and maintain the ideal side sleeping position during pregnancy. Some pregnancy pillows can even become nursing pillows and are usable postpartum.


Bolster pillow

Bolster pillows or roll pillows are cylindrical pillows that you can use as decorations and support the body. You can place them under the neck or legs to keep the body aligned. Bolster pillows come in various shapes and sizes, and you can sometimes find them labeled as body and pregnancy pillows. 


Wedge pillow

Another good pillow for elevation is the wedge pillow. You can find it in different sizes, and even pregnant women can benefit from it. Furthermore, a wedge pillow is useful for relieving pain, acid reflux, and breathing issues thanks to its angle


European pillow

Decorative pillows come in different shapes and sizes to improve the look of the bed or couch. However, the most popular one is the square-shaped European pillow. It’s not limited to being a decorative piece because it can work as an additional cushion. 



You don’t need a sewing machine to make a pillow at home. You can quickly learn how to hand sew a pillow using two simple steps. Start by designing and measuring your pillow and cut two fabric pieces accordingly. 

You should end up with the front and back sides of your pillow. Pin them together for easier sewing and then stitch around the pillow. Be mindful of how secure you’re sewing, and leave a gap for turning the pillow later. 

Finally, you should be ready to stuff the pillow accordingly. Don’t forget to check its firmness and loft before you stitch the opening close. It’s also worth noting that you can make other types of pillow closures if you want to adjust or replace the stuffing later on. 

How To Make A Pillow With Piping And A Zipper

How To Make A Pillow With Piping And A Zipper

Those interested in learning how to make a pillow with piping and a zipper only need three steps. You can choose to make a pillow with cording and an invisible zipper, but the technique below is a more straightforward way to add definition to your throw pillows. Don’t be intimated with the details because even those without any experience with sewing pillows can create an eye-catching throw pillow. 

But why bother with piping? Adding this nifty detail creates more definition to your pillow. This guide will also teach you how to add a zipper for a more convenient closure style. 


How To Make A Zippered Pillow With Piping


Step #1. Make the pillow

The first step is to construct your pillow according to the size you want. Since it will look best fluffy for a typical decorative pillow,  you can cut your fabric according to the exact pillow dimensions. On the other hand, you can cut the fabric pieces an inch bigger than your pillow dimensions if you don’t want an overstuffed finish. 

Compared to a fully closed pillow without a zipper, you want to cut the back piece of fabric to be an inch longer on one side for the zipper. Once you have the fabric pieces to construct your pillow, you want to serge their edges before putting the zipper in. Finally, lay the two fabric pieces where the smaller ones are right side down and their long sides aligned, and the right sides facing. 


Step #2. Add a zipper

What size of the zipper should you use? You want a slightly shorter zipper than your finished pillow, then center it at the edge of the fabric. To guide yourself in stitching, mark a line from the zipper’s edge to the fabric’s edge at half an inch from the top edge on each side of the zipper. 

You can sew by hand or use a machine along the line with a straight stitch and make basting stitches at the top between the two lines you made. Open the seam and iron it before pinning the zipper face down and sew its sides with a straight stitch. You can then rip the basting stitches with a seam ripper so that you can unzip the zipper underneath halfway. 


Step #3. Place the piping

After you finished the zippered pillow, you can pin the piping around the edge of the pillow front with the piping facing right side down. Round the corners by clipping their edges and align the cords, so they meet before basting in place. Flip your pillow right side up and pin the front side to make it easier for you to see where you basted. 

Sew the two sides together and trim your edges to finish your pillow. You can flip it inside out and check it for points that may fray. Add some fabric adhesive to these areas, and you’re done!


How To Make An Envelope Pillow With Piping

Perhaps you prefer a pillow with an envelope closure instead of a zipper for quicker removal. For this pillow type, it’s also easy to add piping to make the finish more professional-looking. Start by cutting your front piece and two back pieces on the fabric.  


Step #1. Prepare the fabric pieces

Remember that the back pieces will become your envelope closure by overlapping them. Their dimensions have the same width as the pillow form, and their height will be ¾ of the pillow’s height. As for the front fabric piece, it should have the same dimensions as the pillow. 


Step #2. Make the piping

What about the fabric for the piping? The width of the strips will be cording’s width plus seam allowance multiplied twice. The length, on the other hand, should be enough to go around the pillow.

Place the cording in the middle of a fabric strip and fold it in half before sewing down its full length. Attach it to the front pillow piece’s bottom panel and make a stitch two inches from the end of the piping. Sew around the curve and adjust the fabric as you go until you are close from the beginning. 


Step #3. Construct the pillow

Let the cording ends meet to finish sewing, and you should be ready to make the envelope pillow itself. Pin the back pieces to the front piece and sew with half an inch of the seam allowance. Trim the corners and turn the pillow right side out to finish. 


Why Add Piping To A Pillow?

As you have read, adding piping to zippered and envelope pillows are relatively straightforward. But why should you bother attaching this detail? The quick answer is this simple addition enhances definition and style to the finish. 

Your decorative pillows will look more refined because of the added body from the cord covered in fabric. The process is quite simple anyway, and you can experiment with the colors and fabric designs to add. The key is to master how to let the cording ends meet smoothly. 



Sewing a pillow is relatively easy, so why not add more details and improve it more? If you’re interested, you can quickly study how to make a pillow with piping and a zipper. The zipper makes cover replacement easy, and the piping enhances the pillow’s features, especially for decorative purposes.

The guide above teaches you how to make a zippered pillow and how to add piping afterward. You can sew with a machine or by hand to make straight stitches and baste stitches. And before you know it, you just made a zippered pillow with piping!

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