Sewing a Decorative Pillow

Some pillows are designed for utility and comfort, while others for decorations. If you would like to try your hand at sewing, crafting a pillow cover is a great place to start. You can hone your sewing skills with a fast, simple project, and add color to your bedroom or couch.


A four square pillow is simple to make and the materials are easy to gather. It is small enough that leftover scraps from other projects can easily be used. To start, you will need four 8 inch squares of fabric for the front and two 9.5 x 15 inch pieces of fabric for the back. The squares can be two complementary colors of fabric, or for a bolder look, four different patterns. The back should be all the same pattern or color. You can use a pattern that is the same as one of the front squares or a solid color that brings out the prints of the front squares.

Step by Step

Simply piece the squares together. Next, finish stitch one long edge of each of the 2 pieces of the back fabric, add velcro or buttons for a closure. Baste the finished sides together. Then, sew the back to the front right sides together. Remove the basting and flip the pillow cover right side out. More detailed sewing instructions and definitions can be found at the Utah State University Cooperative Extension. This is an excellent step by step pattern, especially if you are new to sewing.

Adding Flair

Once the pillow cover is finished, you can place an old decorative pillow, a new pillow form, or batting inside. A four square pillow is a good way to re-energize and re-purpose older pillows. For extra flair, you can add decorative trims around the entire pillow. You could also add pom-poms, or tassels to the corners. Sewing decorative buttons or beads to the front of the pillow is another way to add a design or texture to the pillow.

A Great Gift

A four square pillow can be a fun way to spruce up your own home, but it can also make a very thoughtful gift. Many people appreciate a handmade gift, and a four square pillow   will add to anyone’s home decor, without eating up all of your time crafting it. Once you have mastered the four square pillow, there are any number of creative pillow cover designs you can try!

Photo “New Pillows” courtesy of Lisa Clarke



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