Holiday Gifting DIY: Pillow Insert with Removable Cover

Is your fabric stash a scary large bag in the corner of your sewing room? Are you wondering how you'll ever make a dent in all those off cuts that were too large to scrap, but too small for that scary large bag? 

Let us help!

Decorative pillows are a very easy holiday gift, or if you're hosting this year a very budget friendly way to spruce up your living room!

This is a two part project: One pillow insert full of scrap, and one removable cover. If you only need one or the other, feel free to skip around.

Let's start by going over standard decorative pillow insert sizes:

14" x 14" (36 cm x 36 cm)

16" x 16" (41 cm x 41 cm)

12" x 16" (30 cm x 41 cm)

18" x 18" (46 cm x 46 cm)

20" x 20" (51 cm x 51 cm)

Once you have selected your size, cut out a front and a back for your pillow adding 5/8" seam allowance to your finished measurements on all 4 sides. It is best to use a light to medium weight woven fabric such as linen, cotton, or muslin.

I will be making a 14" pillow insert, so my squares are 15 1/4" 

I used offcuts from a tablecloth-turned-pajama pants so I have pieced a little bit to get the square size I needed. It feels great to use up this awkward scrap!

Pin the two squares with right sides together. Stitch using a 5/8" seam allowance, leaving a 5" opening for easy stuffing.

Trim corners, turn right side out, and begin stuffing with fabric scraps. To avoid a lumpy pillow, slice your scraps into smaller ribbons with a rotary cutter. I sew up a pillow form and hang it in my sewing closet for emptying out my serger basket, yarn trimmings, and any small scrap I have after a project. When it's full, I simply fluff it up and sew it shut.

Whipstitch your opening using a needle and thread, or press and stitch close to the edge with a sewing machine.



To make the zippered pillow cover:

*It is up to you whether you use the same material for the front and the back of your cover. If you are using a scrap-filled pillow insert, a thicker material will help to disguise any unwanted lumps and bumps. 

*Your zipper should be shorter than the bottom edge of your cover, but long enough to insert a pillow through. Follow the instructions on your zipper package for whichever zipper style you have selected. 

1. Add 1" to your pillow insert measurements. Mine is a 14" insert so I will be cutting 15" squares. 

2. Line up the center of your zipper with the center of your bottom edges. Using fabric marking chalk or pen, mark the two ends of the zipper coil. With right sides of fabric together, sew outwards from each mark to the side edge using 1/2" seam allowance, making sure to backstitch at zipper opening. Press seam open.

3. Install your zipper between these marks using your preferred technique.

4. Making sure your zipper is partially unzipped, finish sewing around the edge of the pillow cover with right sides together using 1/2" seam allowance. Clip edges and turn cover right side out. Press.

5. Smoosh your pillow insert into your cover, making sure insert reaches all 4 corners.

Zip and enjoy!



And I am going to add that this is a great project to do with kids. A few years ago, I helped my son and the neighbor kids make pillows to gift to their grandparents for the holidays. Enjoy!