How to Buy Fabric for Pillows


Buying fabric for pillows is fairly simple, but is a rather hands-on process. You will often have greater satisfaction with pillows when the fabric was purchased in person rather than through an online store (unless you buy the exact fabric you chose in the store) because you get the chance to see and feel the fabric before buying and using it.

  • Determine what size and shape your pillows are going to be, and add 2 inches to each seam. For example, if you want a 12-inch square pillow then you will need two 14-inch squares of fabric to make the pillow.

  • Calculate how many yards of fabric you will need according to the sizes you determined in Step 1, keeping in mind that most fabric is sold on bolts that are either 45 inches or 60 inches wide. So, if you want to make two 12-inch square pillows, you only need 1 yard of fabric because the 14-inch squares lying side by side measure 28 inches. The fabric is folded and so you can cut two squares at one time rather than four separate squares side by side.

  • Choose a cotton, poly/cotton blend, fleece or upholstery fabric in the desired color or pattern. Avoid jersey or knit fabrics or any other fabric that will stretch, as this will distort the shape of your pillows. If you are a beginning or inexperienced sewer, it is also best to avoid shiny or satin fabrics as they can be more difficult to work with.

  • Before purchasing your fabric, carefully consider the thickness of your fabric and whether your machine is suited for working with it, since many upholstery fabrics require thicker needles and fleeces are often sewn better on sergers. If not, try to find another fabric that will be more compatible with your equipment.

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