How to Make a Pillow Insert

how to make your own pillow inserts

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Throw pillows are one of the finishing touches to your rooms. The right pillow inserts make all the difference. These inserts can get to be pretty expensive and learning to make your own is a good way to save money. Especially if you have unused bed pillows hanging around. Read on to learn how to make a pillow insert.

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Things You’ll Need

  • Feather or Down Alternative Bed Pillows (see notes on sizes)
  • Sewing Machine (you can also hand stitch)
  • Ruler or soft tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Sewing Pins

Pillow Insert Notes

I used King Sized Bed Pillows for this project. The finished pillow inserts are not a standard size insert – but since I make my own envelope pillow covers anyways, I just made them fit. 

My king-sized pillow was 20 in. x 36 in.  I wanted two even-sized pillows, so I cut them in half to make two equal-sized inserts at 20×18 inches. If you want a standard 20×20 insert – you will only get one of those pillows out of a king-size bed pillow. You could use the rest of the pillow to make a smaller size insert. The same story goes with a standard size pillow – they run about 20×26 inches.

Expert Tip:  I always make my covers smaller than the insert so it has a full look to it.  You can certainly make a standard size out of a bed pillow – but depending on what size you make you will only get one pillow versus two.

How to Make a Pillow Insert

Follow these steps to turn your bed pillow into a couch pillow insert.

  1. I took my soft tape measure and pinned it to each seam so it stayed put.
  2. I drew a small dot at exactly 18 inches (half of 36).
  3. I measured a straight line all the way down the pillow using that dot as the guide.  (Yes, I used a level – didn’t have my ruler near me).
  4. Then, I took my scissors and cut all the way down the pillow.  (You will be eating feathers.  You will be in a feather snowstorm.  You will have to vacuum after this.  But it is worth it.)
  5. I stuffed as many feathers as I could back in the pillow and pinned it back up.
  6. Then I sewed the heck out of it so those feathers never come back out.  It took some finesse.  The feathers just wanted out! I had to keep shoving them back in there.  I sewed several times back and forth and back-stitched the ends too.  It’s not very pretty looking, but it’s going to be the bottom of the pillow and it will be covered up with a pillow cover. That’s it!
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how to make a pillow insert

Here’s how they look with a pillow cover on them.  I’m very happy!  Keep in mind, I only used one King Sized Pillow. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to avoid this feather mess??

If you don’t want to squeeze your pillow under the machine, try this option. Push as much of the pillow filling as you can to the sides of the pillow.  Hand stitch two parallel lines down the middle of the pillow (but leave a small line to cut in the center of the lines).  Cut the pillow in between the lines.  Then run each pillow through the machine to tighten up the seams. Your pillows may be a bit smaller this way but you won’t have as big of a mess to clean up.

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10 Comments

  1. Great idea! I’ve got extra pillows that rarely get used, so I’ll be trying this DIY! One Healthy Hint: Wash & dry the pillows before starting this project. You’d be shocked at how dust mites multiply and cause allergy problems! Or you can throw them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes.

    1. Such a great tip, Karen! I’ll add that to the post to remind others as well. Thanks so much! 🙂

  2. Thank you Vaibhavi! Definitely have your mom give it try if she’s interested! I’d love to know how she makes out with the project. And for the Amazon products – it’s one of their ad widgets that you can get through the dashboard when you are an affiliate. You apply the code to your website then. It should be on your dashboard if you are affiliate with them. I hope that helps! 🙂

  3. What a great idea. I make my own pillow covers and constantly buying inserts can get expensive. Like you, I have extra pillows laying around taking up storage space. Thanks for the idea.

  4. What if you dont own a sewing machine how do you get a neat stitch on yhe covers you make ? I have a bunch if feather pillows i could use great idea

    1. Hi Dawn! You could certainly just hand sew a seam on the pillows with needle and thread. I’m not the best hand sewer and I found it easier to just use my sewing machine. I would just make sure to really hand sew a tight seam so that filling doesn’t come out. Thanks!

  5. Ann Burgess says:

    I sew or baste 2 lines in center of pillow and cut between so you don’t need to fight with the feathers.

    1. Great idea Ann! I added an update to reflect this great idea. Thanks for your input! Either way, the pillows turn out great! I am very happy with the outcome.

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