How To Sew A Pillow By Hand

Buying pillows and pillowcases can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re trying to keep up with the latest styles. Therefore, many people have turned towards making their own pillows. 

Sewing a pillow by hand is a process that may not be as complex as you think. You don’t even need to have a sewing machine to make awesome pillows. Our post below takes you through the various ways to sew your pillow by hand so that you can feel more confident about making your own pillows. 

How to Sew A Pillow By Hand

The main things you need to start sewing a pillow by hand include the following:

  • A spool of thread
  • A pair of scissors 
  • A needle
  • A minimum of 20 sewing pins
  • Pillow stuffing
  • Pillowcase materials 
  • Chalk 

Once you have the above tools, you’re ready to start sewing. Let’s take a look at the exact steps to sew a pillow by hand so that you can start making them for yourself and others in no time. 

Steps To Sewing Your Pillow By Hand

Once you have all of your supplies ready, start by assessing which side of your pillow that you want to have as the exterior of your pillow. When you’ve made a decision, lay the fabric out with the desired exterior side of your pillow facing upwards. 


Fold the fabric in half so that the exterior side of the pillow is one the inside when you make the fold. While keeping the cloth folded up, measure one square foot, and cut it out from the material. 

steps to sewing your pillow by hand

When you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to begin sewing. Start sewing at one of the corners that are next to the fold that has been made. It’s best to sew along the edge at a perpendicular angle. 

Furthermore, be cautious of not making your stitches too close to the edge. It’s best to make your stitches small and fairly close to the edge but not to the point where it comes off the piece at the bottom of your fabric. 

You may also need to re-thread the needle throughout the sewing process. Sew perpendicularly across both edges until you have two sides of the fabric that are sewn so that they’re closed, with one side folded, and the other side as an open edge. 

In other words, you should currently have a pouch. Turn this pouch inside out so that the desired exterior part of the pillow is facing outwards. You can then grab your stuffing materials and place it gently inside the open hole. 

steps to sewing your pillow by hand

Most people like to use cotton materials because they’re soft, comfortable, and provide the pillow with a full design that’s smooth. We advise you not to stuff your pillow too much because it can lead to the seams ripping open easily.

Having said that, you still want to provide it with a full look. So, make sure that you stuff the materials into the corners gently. After this, you can sew up the open edge.

It’s critical to maintain a gentle touch while sewing up this edge to prevent the other seams from opening up. When you’ve stitched up the open side, we recommend that you re-sew that last stitches.

This is to make sure that the open edge is completely secure and less likely to open up after being stuffed. When you’ve re-sewn the last few stitches, you can cut off the thread and tie a knot. 

Ensure that the knot you tie is tight and cut any excess materials that are near the knot. Once this is done, you will have successfully made your own pillow. 

How to Make A Closed Hand-Sewn Pillow

It’s best to serge the edges at the bottom of your pillow before you sew it closed. This will make sure that the materials on the edges of the pillow don’t fray too much. 

When you’ve serged the edges at the bottom, sew a stitching line that’s approximately ⅜” from the fabric edges on the bottom. This is what will enable you to have a clear guideline when it comes to making a seam and having an allowance of ½”. 

Begin at the right-hand side of your pillow and use a small stitch that goes through just one side of the material. Use a separate stitch to go right across on the opposite end of the pillow. Keep on repeating this process on the bottom part of the pillow starting from the right and moving towards the left.

steps to sewing your pillow by hand

Once you reach the left part of your pillow, finish it with a tight knot. Stitching your pillow in this way provides it with the visual appeal of looking like the seam has been stitched by a machine.

How To Use Images Or Designs On Your Pillow

When it comes to making pillows for yourself, many people like to add images or designs to make them more unique and special. When you’ve chosen which design you’d like to have on your pillow, start your sewing process by having this side of the pillow facing downwards.

Underneath this piece, you should have the other plain side of the pillow. Make sure that both sides of the fabric are lined up properly by making cuts where necessary. You can then use pins to keep both of the pieces of fabric together. 

how to use images or designs on your pillow

It’s best to use around 4 pins on each side of the fabric that is approximately 2 cm from the very edge of each side. Once you’re happy that both pieces of the fabric are securely in place together with the pins, you can begin sewing it using the steps mentioned above. 

The Burrito Pillowcase Method

One of the other methods that you can use to make your own pillow by hand is the burrito pillowcase technique. It involves placing your cuff material flat facing upwards with your pillowcase fabric being placed on top of it, also facing the right way up.

Make sure that the raw edges are lined up and proceed to fold the accent strip and make sure that the raw edges line up with the raw edges that are at the top of the other materials. 

Being at the bottom and gradually roll up your main material like a burrito until you reach the middle of the cuff material. Hold the bottom part of the cuff material and bring it up over the burrito that you’ve just made. Have all of the edges aligned and use a pin to keep it all in place while keeping the accent strip trapped. 

Once everything’s secure, you can stitch the edges using a seam allowance of ¼”. Next, hold your main material that’s on the interior of the burrito and pull it out gently until it has been completely unrolled. 

the burrito pillowcase method

Place it flat and remove any of the wrinkles that may have formed while ensuring that the accent strip is still in the correct direction and that it’s flat. You can then cut the pillowcase until it’s 28” long by measuring the cuff at the top to the opposing end. Cut the pillowcase until it’s 20” in width to provide you with a full width of 40”. This will enable you to have a regular-sized pillow. 

You can then complete your burrito pillowcase in several ways. One of them is to use the serger method which involves folding the pillowcase in half and serging the raw edges that are located on the right and topsides. You then turn the pillowcase from the right side out and press it down. 

French seams can be another good choice where you fold your pillowcase in half with the right sides facing outwards. Use a seam allowance of ¼” and stitch them together along the raw edges before cutting these edges down to ¼”. Turn out the pillowcase and be sure to poke through the corners to get the full shape before pressing. 

You should then sew a seam of either ½ or ⅜” depending on your preference to ensure that the raw edges are trapped. This will help the edges look more defined. Flip out the pillowcase next and poke out the corners gently, press it down and you’re ready to start stuffing it. 

Related Questions

How Can You Prevent Pricking Your Finger While Sewing

how can you prevent pricking your finger while sewing

One of the easiest ways to keep your fingers protected when sewing by hand is to use a thimble. Thimbles can be handy for helping you avoid accidentally pricking your fingers. 

Should You Wash Your Fabric Before Cutting It

If you believe that the fabric you’re using will shrink when you wash it at a later date, it may be a good idea to wash and dry it before you start cutting it. 



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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