The Coolest Trick Ever for Sewing a Pillow

Apr 25, 2012

I just learned the most amazing tip for sewing a pillow from Modern Patchwork 2012.

Pillow Patterns - Hanging Flags by Melissa Lunden
Hanging Flags by Melissa Lunden in
Modern Patchwork 2012
Whenever I make a pillow, I always get extra-pointy, floppy corners that look like dog ears. It completely baffles me because I started out with a perfect square. Well, there's a neat solution for that. I found this in the Hanging Flags Fusible-Applique Pillow project by Melissa Lunden. Thank you, Melissa, for solving one of life's great mysteries!

1) Measure and cut your pillow rectangle.

2) Mark the center of each side of the pillow.

3) Mark in 1/2" from the sides of each corner of the pillow.

4) Draw a line from each side's center to each corner, so that the pillow now looks like a slightly squished square.

How to sew a pillow
Create new curved seamlines inside 
your pillow rectangle. 

5) Trim the pillow along these lines and sew as usual. No more pointy corners!

For more great patchwork projects and tips, check out the thoroughly Modern Patchwork 2012 in the Sew Daily Shop.

Sewing Pillows
Trim 1/2' from the sides of each corner.
Do you have a brilliant sewing trick up your sleeve? Share it below!

Happy stitching!


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on Apr 25, 2012 12:14 PM

That's so cool!! I've got another one for you. If your corners get dog-eared and flop over, it's because most store-bought pillow forms are overstuffed in the middle and don't have much in the corners to fill out your pillow cover. Before putting the form into your pillow cover, simple cram a handful of polyfil stuffing into each corner of the cover. Presto, nicely stuffed and perky corners.

on Apr 25, 2012 12:17 PM

Regarding eliminating pointy corners on a pillow,  when you're sewing up your side seams are you using a 1/4" seam allowance then you're sewing in towards a 1/2" seam allowance at the corners,  or a 5/8' seam allowance?


dottie_dodge wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 12:22 PM

I use this same trick when sewing collars, cuffs and anything that has a square corner.  On fashion sewing (collars etc) I simple take one or two stitches across the corner depending on the weight of the fabric.  Keeps those corners from looking "stuffed".  SueD

CGWhite wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 1:08 PM

I cannot visualize this.  Is there a related post with diagrams?  Just don't understand from these written directions.

astruckmeyer wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 1:28 PM

I learned this recently from a class I took.  I agree, it's brilliant!

on Apr 25, 2012 2:06 PM

Seems to me your previous Stitch editor blogged about this same thing and included an illustration, but I can't find it.  I would like to see her illustration again.   thanks.  

on Apr 25, 2012 2:12 PM

Seems to me your previous Stitch editor blogged this same item and included an illustration, but I can't find it.  Is it possible to pull up that illustration?  

KatrinaMT wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 3:18 PM

I would like to see an illustration as well. I don't even get what you mean by pointy corners!  Don't you want nice sharp corners?

Amy DeCesare wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 3:32 PM

I was just wondering how to solve this issue!  I've been making pincushions lately, and the shape is cute, but kind of distorted once they are plumped up.  I will have to try this!

jeckabee wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 4:51 PM

I don't get it illustration would be helpful. It's not making sense. How pointy WERE your corners to start with, I thought that was the point of a sewn square/rectangle...

riffells wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 7:16 PM

I agree with the others, I just cannot for the life of me figure out what you are talking about. I have always thought pointy corners were nice in a pillow. Perhaps this is a fad to have rounded corners on angled pillows? Anyway, if there were some kind of picture or diagram of what you mean?

sewseeny wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 7:23 PM

I, too, am confused.  Line 3 reads: "Mark in 1/2" from each corner of the pillow." On the right side of the corner? Or the left? And from which point am I drawing a line from each corner of the pillow to each side's center? An illustration would really be helpful. Thanks!

Pink for me wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 10:00 PM

I do not get this at all. Can you be more specific?

Pink for me wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 10:01 PM

I don't understand this at all! Please explain further.

Honeylioness wrote
on Apr 25, 2012 10:04 PM

I like to change my pillows according to season - but don't really want to have to store a dozen different pillows in between - so I make pillow "slip covers" with an easy way to change them.

I buy inexpensive men's shirts in a coordinating color (sometimes I dye them). The I use the front of the shirt as the back of the pillow cover. You button up the shirt then cut out the back of the pillow cover from the front of the shirt. The buttons and placket are the "right" side of the back fabric piece.

Once the front and back are stitched right sides together - ALL the way around (you don't need to add an opening to turn it inside out) you can slip your fingers through the placket and unbutton the shirt piece then turn it inside out. You have a clean finished opening you can insert the pillow form into.

This way when you want to change pillow covers and/or wash the cover you just unbutton the back and slip the pillow form out.

mellymellun wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 12:08 AM

Hey ladies,

I am the one who wrote this pattern and I think I can answer some of the questions below.

@Jam.Piecemaker - I used 1/2 seam allowance only.

I think the language in the first paragraph is causing some confusion. The trick is to eliminate the "dog ear" effect that can happen when you use a pillow insert and the points of the corners aren't totally filled by the insert and end up looking odd or floppy. By tapering the corners, the insert ends up fitting the corners better.  If you click on the second picture, you can see how I shaped the corners so it is no longer a proper rectangle.  You can see in the top picture that when the two sides are sewn together, it does makes a perfect rectangle.

Krista's suggestion to fill the corners with stuffing also works really well.

I hope this helps.


Pink for me wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 2:03 AM

Sorry, but your explanation doesn't clear it up for me.

Pink for me wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 2:05 AM

Melissa, this still makes no sense. An illustration might help.

lintemp46 wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 9:51 AM

I'm pretty sure what she means is the sides are slightly rounded ( See second picture and look at grids.).  The corners are cut in 1/2 inch.  So, really instead of it looking like a squished square it looks more like a puffed square. Does this help?

foxe wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 12:36 PM

I think what is trying to be said here is:

Sew the pillow sides as usual and just cut the corners at a angle when you are done and before you turn it.  OR you can sew up the side till you get to the corner sew at an angle and then continue that for the other corners- at least thats the way I interpert it - Eileen

Honeylioness wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 5:53 PM

Okay, being a "little" compulsive I made up a graphic for those visual learners. It is on my Photobucket account at:

My comment on the graphic should read "trim" not "sew"

Hope this helps

Pink for me wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 6:41 PM

Thanks Honeylioness. I get it now :)

on Apr 28, 2012 3:44 PM

OK, I am a dunce.....If you use a 1/2" seam allowance but measure in 1/2 from the corner, isn't it still a 1/2 seam your sewing? And where on the corner do you measure? From the point in towards the middle of the pillow? From either edge of the fabric? awaaaaaaaaa, I don't get it.

bkirk2 wrote
on Apr 28, 2012 7:01 PM

Thank you Honeylioness for the diagram.  That is much clearer!

I am glad to see I am not alone in not being able to visualize this!  I thought I was losing it!  The photos do not enlarge when I click on them - so that did not help!

Thanks again.  This is a good trick.

hallcarole wrote
on Apr 28, 2012 8:49 PM

That is so neat, can't wait to try it on my next cushion.

riffells wrote
on Apr 29, 2012 4:16 AM

OK I get it now. Sorry I was so ditsy! Thank you  Honeylioness! You pic was the one that made my light bulb go on. For some reason I could not click on the picture either.

jennyebner wrote
on May 3, 2012 7:41 PM

I would like to see a picture with the drawn lines.  Not sure exactly what you mean.  Do you draw the lines from the center to the corners or do you just draw a square.  And if you just draw a square, trim it and sew, how does that keep you from having pointy corners?

sewseeny wrote
on May 4, 2012 9:36 PM

Thanks, Honeylioness! I get it now, thanks to your diagram.

AmberStitch wrote
on May 10, 2012 2:56 PM

Hi: You are actually redrawing the seamline so that it's a little curved at each end, rather than straight. Seam allowances remain the same--1/2"

I will upload a further illustration to clear up. But I am wowed by the interest! --Amber

AmberStitch wrote
on May 10, 2012 5:28 PM

Or you can look at Honeylioness' diagram. Much prettier! Also, love the tip on using men's shirting to change pillow covers.

Gloria E wrote
on Jul 12, 2012 7:49 AM

This technique is also used by the pros to sew beautiful custom pillows.  Funny thing is that I made a pillow just last night, but I could not remember how to get rid of those too perky points on each corner of the pillow ( I call them cat or rabbit ears).  I wasn't happy with the pillow,  so  I set it aside and then I read your post today.  I should have caught up on my email before I started sewing that pillow, LOL.  I  haven't closed the pillow yet, so I can still fix it easily.  Thank you!  You always give great tips that I can use.

AmberStitch wrote
on Jul 12, 2012 9:05 AM

Thanks Gloria!

on Aug 10, 2012 12:12 PM

I also used this technique when I designed the pattern for "Mod Pillows" available here

When using a stiffer material such as felt, I prefer this technique to give the pillow a cleaner, more tailored look. I have also been know to put a curved dart in the corners just as I would for a fitted blouse if it works with the overall design.

AmberStitch wrote
on Aug 10, 2012 12:29 PM

Great tip, Cathy! Love that pillow!

on Feb 12, 2014 12:23 PM

Here is another article that explains how to create this type of pillow template to ensure that the corners end up square.