How to Make a Pillow Form

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It’s easy to make a pillow form out of any fabric you might have in the house to use with a pillow cover or even on its own.

My pillow form is made from part of an old pillowcase and I intend to cover it, so it’s not quite as perfect as I might make it if I expected it to be on display, but the process is the same regardless of whether you’re making an interior pillow form out the outside pillow itself.

Materials to Make a Pillow Form

Regardless of the size you want to make, you’ll need a few basic supplies to make a pillow form.

First, your fabric. As I said, this is a pillowcase from a set of sheets we no longer use. You could also use an old T-shirt or other piece of clothing (for an interior pillow form, stains and little holes don’t matter), an old towel, or whatever fabric you have on hand.

You’ll need something to stuff your pillow form with. Fiber fill stuffing is the classic, but if you’re a crafter who can’t resist saving all the little bits, you can use old swatches, little bits of thread and yarn, fabric scraps, leftover bits of upcycled clothing you didn’t use for other projects (such as the hems of old T-shirts) and so on.

Basically anything that’s kind of soft and squishy is fair game for using in a pillow form. It will depend on your preferences how firm you want it to be, which may alter your choices on what to stuff it with.

Also if you think you might need to wash the pillow form at any point, make sure you only use items that are washable as stuffing.

In addition you’ll need a tape measure or yard stick, scissors, a sewing machine and thread. You can sew a pillow form by hand if you want, but it’s a lot faster with a machine, and the seams will be more stable. That means whatever you stuff it with won’t come out. You can also sew the last little bit of the last seam by hand if you want, which makes sense if you’re making a pillow that will be used without a cover. In that case you’ll also need a sewing needle.

How to Make a Pillow Form

First, decide how big you want your pillow form to be. If you’re trying to fill a particular cover, measure the cover and make your fabric pieces about the same size. The pillow shown here was made to fill a knit pillow cover that’s about 12 by 12 inches (30.5 by 30.5 cm) so I made my pieces about the same size. You will note I didn’t cut it super straight, but it’s fine.

That way when the seams are sewn it should be just a touch smaller than the pillow case, which makes it a little easier to fill.

Since I started with a pillow case I actually kept the sewn seam on one side, but this works the same if you have to sew all four sides.

At the sewing machine, with the fabric wrong side out, sew one edge with your desired seam allowance, working almost all the way to where you will want the seam on the next side to go.

Hand crank your machine so the needle is in the down position, through the fabric.

Lift your presser foot and turn the fabric so it’s pointing as it needs to for you to sew the next side.

Bring the presser foot back down and begin sewing this seam.

Repeat on all sides until you get to the last open side. Leave about half of this side unsewn for ease of stuffing.

Trim your seam allowances if you like and turn the pillow form right side out.

Stuff it with stuffing or other materials as you like.

Mash it around with your hands to make sure it feels good and is stuffed to the degree you would like.

The final part of the last seam can be sewn by hand or machine. Fold the seam allowances to the inside of the pillow and pin or clip as desired.

I sewed mine on the sewing machine but if you don’t want the stitches to show you can do an invisible stitch like the ladder stitch shown in this tutorial from Positively Splendid.

Squish the pillow form around some more to get your stuffing in all the corners and get it feeling the way you want.

Making a Big Pillow Form

The process to make a pillow form is the same regardless of the size of the pillow. The one shown in this demo is small but I’ve done the same thing on a much bigger scale.

These pillows are the cushions for the back of our porch couches. When we took the covers off to wash them last, the fabric of the pillow forms was falling apart.

The stuffing was still in good shape so I just measured the pillows as they were and made new pillow forms to put in the cushions.

I did these on my serger but the process is exactly the same except I didn’t turn them inside out so all the stitching is on the outside. I used a king sized sheet and you can see I patched some pieces together but it was still a really easy project.

It’s so easy to make a pillow form I’m sure you’ll start wanting to make all sorts of custom pillows for your home and to give as gifts!

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