How to Make a Throw Pillow

I love throw pillows.  They can change the feel of a room and my living room was in need of more of them!  I decided to make one square throw for the couch and two rectangle throws for the one and a half chairs.

I went to my local craft store and could not find a tan fabric, only white.  So I decided that I would tea stain the fabric (to make it the antiqued color I was looking for), stencil it and then make it into a pillow.  A novice at crafting and never have used the sewing machine before, I knew this would be interesting.

For the purpose of this post, I am only going to focus on making the making the pillow.  If you are interested in the tea staining or how to make a stencil and apply it to fabric, then please go to the individual posts for those topics.

Items Needed to Make a Throw Pillow:

Items for Making a Throw Pillow

Items for Making a Throw Pillow

  • Fabric
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Needle
  • Pillow Stuffing (polyfil or pillow insert)

I decided to make a square throw pillow that was 16″x16″ so I only needed a 1/2 yard.  If you are using a pillow insert, use the dimensions as a starting point.  Whatever dimensions you choose, make sure to give yourself at least 1/2 inch to 1 inch of extra fabric on each side so you can sew your fabric together.

When I was looking at options for the stuffing, I was surprised at how much a pillow insert was — at Walmart, a 19″ pillow insert was $19.  The polyfil was only $4.  No contest there!

OberBargain Tip: The cost for the three throw pillows came out to $11 (not including stenciling materials or tea for staining). Throw pillows don’t need to be an expensive project or cost anything at all.  Use current pillows as the ‘stuffing’ for the new pillows and/or sweaters and button downs as the ‘fabric’.  Upcycle!



1. Cut fabric to the appropriate dimensions and iron if wrinkled.

  • I cut two 18″ x 18″ squares. If applying a stencil, then you will want to check out this post before sewing.

2. Place fabric together with the right sides facing each other and matching any patterns together.

Pin Fabric Together

Pin Fabric Together

  • Pillows are sewn inside out so the seams are visible in the finished product.  Place and pin the fabric together evenly and lightly penciled the sew line.  The hem or sew line should be 1/2 inch to 1 inch (depending on how much extra fabric you allowed for).  After this sewing project, I starting penciling the sew line and found this technique to be ideal for to me to maintain a straight line and perfect seem.
  • Pinned the fabric together along the sew line to keep the fabric smooth and even on both sides.  I pinned about every inch or so since this was the first time I ever sewed.

3. Mark the area that needs to be kept open for stuffing.

Marked Area to be Kept Open for Stuffing

Marked Area to be Kept Open for Stuffing

  • I used a light pencil and left a 5″ opening.  Make sure it is at the bottom of your pillow so it is not so noticeable.

4. Set up the sewing machine making sure to thread the machine and put in the bobbin.

  • As a first time user of a sewing machine, this took a little learning!  (I found this site helpful.)  Select the straight stitch.  If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can hand stitch the fabric.  (I did the curtains in my place this way and they still look great years later!)

5. Sew the two pieces of fabric together

  • Insert the fabric at one corner of the sewing machine, leaving 1/2 inch to 1 inch (depending on how much extra fabric you allowed for).
  • Backstick the few first stitches so it is secure.
  • Sew in a straight line to the end of the seem.  Turn the corner. (For other novices out there, you will need to make sure the needle is securely in the fabric.  Lift the pressure foot and turn the fabric 90 degrees.)
  • Continue to sew finishing the other three sides, remembering to watch out for the pencil mark for the opening!  When you get to the pencil mark, be sure to back stitch to hold of all of the stitching.

6. Trim away the excess fabric on all four sides.

Removing Excess Fabric After Throw Pillow Sewn

Removing Excess Fabric After Throw Pillow Sewn

  • I recommend cutting the corners on a diagonal (not cutting your stitches of course!) as the fabric will lay nicer.

7. Turn your fabric inside out using a pencil, chopstick, etc. to push out the corners.

8. Insert stuffing into fabric

  • If you have a pillow insert, stuff into insert.
  • I used a polyfil.  So, I took a handful, pulled it apart a little to stretch it, then stuffed the pillow starting in a corner.  Fill pillow until it is the desired density.

9. Close pillow opening

Sewing Seem After Pillow Stuffed

Sewing Seem After Pillow Stuffed

  • Using a needle and thread, sew the opening closed.  When starting the knot, be sure that it is on the inside so the seem is smooth.
Completed Throw Pillow

Completed Throw Pillow



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One Response to “How to Make a Throw Pillow”

  1. […] have been on a roll with the sewing machine via the throw pillow and shirt sleeve wine bag so I thought why not try my hand at another craft…after all I did […]

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