You’re going to love learning how to sew this easy DIY reading pillow you can make with my free book pillow pattern.
In a house full of readers, I have stacks on stacks of books everywhere, and everyone likes to be cozy. And what’s more cozy than a comfy reading pillow to hold your latest book?
Bonus awesome: I designed this free book pillow pattern with an extra pocket for adding a small notebook and a pen. I love to keep a notebook handy for writing down cool quotes, drawing pictures or other thoughts as I’m reading.
And the carrying strap will make it easy for you to have everything you need to take quickly to a quiet corner and escape into a good book.
This kind of project is the perfect gift for anyone who loves to read. Make a bunch of these pocket pillows and enjoy the brownie points you’ll be earning.
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Table of Contents
DIY reading pillow: supplies
Seam allowances note
Seam allowances for this pattern are 1/2″ for this reading pillow.
Cutting the pieces for your pocket pillow
Before you begin, wash and dry your fabrics.
After that, use your ruler and chalk to draw out rectangles on the corduroy the following sizes:
The corduroy will be the main pillow fabric for this DIY reading pillow. From here, use your ruler and chalk to draw out rectangles on the cotton quilting fabric the following sizes:
|Small pocket band
Make the large pocket
Fusing the pocket
First things first, fold the large pocket in half on the long edge. It will now measure 12″x19″. Press the pocket on the fold line.
From there, open up the pocket and cut a piece of fusible interfacing the size of half the pocket.
Fuse the interfacing in place with steam.
Fold the pocket on its pressed fold line again and press.
Adding the foldover elastic
After this, cut a 4″ piece of foldover elastic. This is what is going to make some space for you to store a couple pens or pencils in your pillow.
Set your machine to a short straight stitch of 1.5mm.
Stitch down one side of the elastic 3″ down from the top right on the edge.
Wrap elastic around a pen, then slip the pen out. Use your finger to hold the elastic in place, then line up your needle with where your finger is. Stitch on either side of the space, then backstitch over what you just stitched.
Repeat the same process to make space to hold another pen.
Set aside the pocket.
Make the small pocket
Your DIY reading pillow needs a small pocket too!
Fold the pocket band in half on the short edge. Press along the fold line.
Match the raw edge of the pocket band to the wrong side of the corduroy along the top edge.
Sew the pocket band to the small pocket with a 1/2″ seam.
Press open the seam. Trim the seam down to 1/4″.
From here, cover the seam with the decorative ribbon. Use a glue stick to hold the ribbon in place. Set aside the pocket to dry for a few minutes.
Stitch on either side of the ribbon close to the edges.
Make the handle for your pocket pillow
Fold the raw edges of the handle piece towards the middle and press.
Next, fold the folded edges together and press.
Stitch on both long edges of the handle with a 3.0mm long straight stitch. Set aside the handle.
Assemble the pillow front
Now that you have all the DIY reading pillow pieces ready to go, it’s time to assemble the pillow front.
Stack the pockets on top of the bottom of your pillow front with the small pocket on the top.
Line up all the edges then use the Wonder Clips or regular sewing pins to hold all the layers together.
Lengthen your straight stitch to your longest machine setting (5.0mm on my machine). Baste the edges of the pockets and the pillow front together.
After that, center the handle along the top of the pillow front. Pin the edges in place.
Baste the edges of the handle in place.
Finish up the front by drawing a line with chalk 9.5″ from the side down the middle of the pockets. Sew through all the layers along this line, backstitching at the top of the pocket.
Adding the zipper
Prep the zipper
Cut a small strip of fusible interfacing the length of your zipper. Fuse it in place on one of the sides of the front and the side of the pillow back piece.
Unzip the zipper and cover it with your silk organza press cloth. Roll the coil of the zipper towards the center of the zipper and press with steam on the nylon setting on your iron.
Be sure that the zipper is covered with the press cloth so you don’t melt the zipper.
Sew the zipper
We’re using an invisible zipper on this pillow, so first, switch your machine foot to an invisible zipper.
Open the zipper.
Lay the zipper face up next to the pillow front. Turn the zipper towards the pillow front, so that the right side of the zipper is facing the right side of the pillow front.
Pin the zipper about 1/8″ from the edge.
Using your invisible zipper foot, stitch from the top of the zipper down towards the stop. Be sure to let the zipper’s coil run through the groove in the foot. Sew as close to the zipper’s pull as you can get. Backstitch when you can’t sew any further.
Pin the right side of the second part of the zipper to the right side of the pillow back.
Stitch from the top of the zipper down just about 1/2″. Zip up the zipper to make sure that the top edges of the pillow back and front are aligned.
If everything looks good, keeping stitching down the zipper towards the stop. Sew as close to the zipper’s pull as you can get. Backstitch when you can’t sew any further.
For a more complete tutorial on working with invisible zippers, check out how to sew an invisible zipper (easy fancy).
Sew the reading pillow together
Flip the pillow front and back together so that the right sides are facing. Pin or Wonder Clip the edges together.
Sew a 1/2″ seam on the side of the zipper. Stop when you get to the zipper bottom, sewing as close as you can to the stop.
Unzip the zipper.
From here, sew around the other three sides of the pillow with 1/2″ seam allowance. Be sure to pivot your needle on the corners so that they come to nice square corners.
Trim away the corners of the pillow close to the stitching line at an angle.
Turn the pillowcase through the zipper. Use your fingers to wiggle out the corners.
Press everything one last time, then pop in your pillow insert.
So that is how you make a DIY reading pillow. Pretty simple, eh? This is a fun, fast project, that’ll make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves to read in your life. Now you can go make some book pillows for everyone.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.