Reading Pillow Pattern – Free Easy Cushion Tutorial

A couch cushion that doubles as a reading pillow pattern is the home sewer’s idea of ​​getting two for the price of one. This pattern can be used to recycle fabrics and is perfect for updating old cushions in your home. Do away with your old couch cushions and bring in something fresh and trendy.

reading pillow pattern, how to make a reading pillowPin
Reading Pillow Pattern

Reading Pillow Pattern Tutorial for Beginners

This reading pillow pattern will take just a few minutes to complete. Don’t waste a second – choose the fabric and materials you need and get sewing with this quick and easy pattern. It has an envelope cushion back that overlaps, so you don’t need to insert zippers or buttons.

Reading Pillow Pattern Supplies

  • ½ YARD FABRIC – Look for fat quarters to use for the contrasting pocket.
  • BASIC SEWING SUPPLIES – Sewing machine, scissors, pins, cotton thread, ruler or a tape measure.
  • OPTIONAL – Ric-rac for decoration

Best Fabrics for Making Pillows

Pillows or cushion covers work best in good quality natural cotton, linens, types of chintzand gingham. I used quilting cotton for the front and backs and then a decorator fabric which was a bit thicker for the pocket.

Smaller prints are great for the pocket of this pillow pattern. When cutting out the pocket, think about the pattern placement. I took a lot of time positioning the pocket so I got complete llamas.

Reading Pillow PatternPin
Reading Pillow Pattern

How to Make a Reading Pillow Step by Step

Step 1 – Cut the Fabric

It is important to measure your insert before you start. Measure the insert and factor in the curve of the pillow insert. This pattern is for a square insert of 18 inches.


For an 18-inch (46cm) pillow insert, cut:

  • FRONT (CUT 1) – 19×19 inches (48x48cm)
  • BACKS (CUT 2) – 19 x 14 inches (48 x 48cm)
  • POCKET (CUT 2) – 19 x 10 inches (48 x 25.5cm)


If you want to make another sized reading pillow pattern, here is the formula for the cutting measurements. This will work for any square insert.

*Numbers below are in inches. The height and width are that of the insert.

  • FRONT (CUT 1) – (width + 1) by (height + 1)
  • BACKS (CUT 2) – (height +1) by (½ width + 4)
  • POCKET (CUT 2) – (½ height + 2) by (width + 1)

Step 2 – Prepare the Pocket

The pocket piece is a contrast piece of fabric that will fit across the width of the pillow and measures a little more than half the height of the front.

For pockets cut from a thin fabric, press fusible interfacing to the back pocket piece to give it a little more body.

If you wish to add ric-rac trim, baste it across the top of the outside of the pocket ⅜ inch (1cm) from the raw edge. I used a jumbo ric-rac and had to position it slightly over the edge. You will be sewing a little past the center of the ric-rac. Read my full tutorial on sewing sew ric-rac for more tips.

Baste the Ric-RacPin
Baste the Ric-Rac

Put the pocket and pocket lining right sides together and stitch across the top edge with a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance.

Top of the PocketPin
Top of the Pocket

Press the seam so the pocket and pocket lining are wrong sides together.

You now have a finished pocket ready to place on the fabric.

Finished PocketPin
Finished Pocket

Step 3 – Baste Pocket to the Outside

Place the pocket on the right side of the front. Baste around the pocket edges and bottom to hold it in place.

Reading Pillow Pattern Front PiecePin
Reading Pillow Pattern Front Piece

Step 4 – Hem the Backs

On the wrong side, press over one long edge of the pillow backs by ¼ inch (6mm). Press over again by ¼ inch(6mm) to form a double hem.

Stitch across the backs.

Hem the BacksPin
Hem the Backs

Place the backs right side up overlapping in the center. The hemmed edges should both be in the center. Double-check the width in case your hems were not accurate. It should be 19 inches (48cm) across. Adjust if necessary.

Baste the top and bottom of the overlapped part.


Step 5 – Optional Baste the Handle

If you would like a handle you can use some pretty tape or ribbon. Press the pillow to give you a center fold line for the spot where the handle is to be attached. Baste the ribbon in a loop facing inwards.

Step 6 – Stitch the Front to the Backs

Now you are ready to sew the seams.

Put the font and backs right sides together and stitch all the way around with a ½ inch (12mm) seam allowance. Backstitch over the areas where the overlapped backs are. This will give the pillow some extra strength at the opening.


Step 7 – Turn and Press

Clip the corners. Turn the pillow right side out and press. Your reading pillow pattern is now ready to use. Insert a book into the pocket, sit back and relax.


Decorative Ideas for Your Reading Pillow Pattern

The reading pillow is a very simple straight sewing project. It would be effective to add on pom-poms, piping, and embroidery. It would be fun to personalize the reading pillow bag with your child’s name.

Reading Pillow PatternPin
Reading Pillow Pattern

Reading Pillow Pattern – In Conclusion

The reading pillow pattern makes a great gift for kiddies just learning to read. Personalize the pillow and bring it along for the ride on holiday trips or visits to grandma. Try making a reading pocket pillow and see how practical and decorative they are.

reading pillow pattern, how to make a reading pillowPin

Reading Pillow Pattern

Learn how to make a reading pillow with this easy step by step tutorial.


Difficulty: Easy Beginner

Keyword: Sewing Patterns

More Pillow Patterns

These easy pillow patterns are designed for beginners and will have you making over your house in no time!

Leave a Comment