National Sewing Month 2012: Reading Pillow With Pocket Tutorial

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It’s day 7 of the National Sewing Month blog series and today’s post is so much fun. This reading pillow packs everything you need for some serious “me” time. Not to mention, it’s going to make your relaxation session much more comfortable. Before we get to it, I just want to remind you that along with these wonderful guest posts and tutorials, we’re giving away a HUGE prize at the end of our series. We can’t tell you what that prize is just yet. But we can tell you how to enter. Simply leave a comment at the bottom of any of our series posts (any with National Sewing Month 2012 in the title) and you’re entered to win!

Here’s today’s special post, created by Melissa Mortenson from the blog The Polka Dot Chair. To learn more about Melissa and to find her entire project collection, visit her designer profile.



Hello Fave Crafts Blog readers! I am soooo flattered that they asked me to be a part of the celebrations here for National Sewing Month. I love to sew, it is truly one of the great pleasures in my life. When I’m not sewing you can find me busily blogging away at The Polkadot Chair, or stalking Pinterest for new things to pin (I may be slightly obsessed!)

I thought a lot about what to share with you guys today. I decided on a revamp of some pillows I made for my nephews a few Christmases ago. I did them quick (like in an hour) and always thought that I could have done a better job. Regardless my sister says that her boys took them to bed every night and kept all kinds of treasures in the pocket. I gifted the pillows with a flashlight, because there is something charming about a little kid staying up late to read at night.

Here’s how to make the pillow:

You will need:

  • 3 Fat Quarters (the measurements leave little to no waste of these fat quarters, so if you are nervous about your cutting abilities buy 4 so you have an extra just in case).
  • 2 yards 1″ wide ribbon
  • Fusible Fleece
  • 1 package piping
  • Letters- I cut mine out of fuzzy fusible vinyl with my Silhouette machine… if you don’t have one, don’t worry you could also appliqué the letters on or buy iron on letters at the craft store.
  • 18″ pillow form

Cut one Fat Quarter to 18″x 18″ for the pillow front, then cut the scrap from this piece to 2 1/2″ x 18″ for pillow back

Cut one Fat Quarter (the navy blue dot for the pocket) into 2 pieces each 18″ x 11″

Cut another Fat Quarter for the back into 2 pieces each 18″ x 9″


Attach fusible fleece to the back of the Pillow Front piece (18×18) and the pocket front piece (11×18)

Iron “READ” onto the front pocket piece.

Using a piping foot attach 1 piece of piping to the top of the pillow. The raw edge of the piping will match up with the raw edge of the pocket piece.

Place pocket lining piece (your 2nd 11×18 piece) right sides together with your pocket front piece. Stitch along the top seam, along the same stitching line you just used to attach your piping. This will ensure that your piping looks good on the outside of your pillow.

Turn pillow pocket piece right side out and press.

Pin pocket piece to Pillow front piece. Baste pocket to pillow front. Set aside.

Place about 12″ of ribbon in the center of one of your pillow back pieces along the 18″ edge. Stitch in place. Take your scrap piece from your pillow front and sew it to this same edge of the pillow back piece. (as shown in the photo above) Turn under edge 1/4″ and hem.

Take your 2nd 9″x18″ pillow back piece and turn under the seam 1/4″ and sew in place. Sew another piece of ribbon to the center of this piece.

Attach a piece of ribbon about 10″ long to your pillow front at the top. Each end should be 3″ in from the side of the pillow.


Using your piping foot attach piping to the edge of the pillow front. Raw edge of the piping flush with the raw edge of the pillow front.


Pin the 2 pillow back pieces to pillow front piece. The ribbons should be matching in the center and the piece with the extra piece sewn onto it should be on top (the photo is wrong, learned that one the hard way *wink*).

Using your piping foot sew pillow front to pillow back along the same stitching line you used to attach your piping.

Clip corners, turn right side out and you’re done!

What’s on your reading list this season?



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  1. Lynn G. says

    Fabulous idea. I am going to make one for my Mom. We are reading Lee Child’s book ‘A Wanted Man’. My Mom love’s to read and this would be a great idea for her to where ever we go. I think it would make a great neck pillow too!

  2. Tambra Vandal says

    Melissa has done it again! What a great Pillow! My kids are going to love these as much as I do….:)


  3. karen says

    Special gifts, here I come!!! how adorable, and personalized these pillows can be.. Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  4. Nancy B from Many LA says

    I LOVE this! I have so many books in my Kindle to read I’ll never finish! Plus “real” books. LOL! I think I might make this for my niece who is a huge bookworm!

  5. Andrea says

    What a cute idea. I have so many young readers in my family, and these will make great gifts. I just picked up five crafting books from library yesterday.

  6. CarolHS says

    That is a great idea!
    Nothing in particular on the readng list for this season, although I usually read Persuasion in November.

  7. Patricia Crowley says

    I’ve been reading The Help!

    This post is so fun! I love this because it’s a great way to use fat quarters!

  8. Nancy Preusser says

    What a cute idea – great for any age and the pillow could be decorated to fit the giftee’s favorite kind of reading!

  9. Sue D says

    This is a great gift idea for kids in my life. I will be reading the third book in the Hunger Game series when my son is done.

  10. Rosemary Griffis says

    What a great idea!! The pillow is quick and easy, and oh! there are so many ways to customize it. Maybe an embroidered monogram or name, or favorite cartoon character, omigosh, I’m having so many ideas, I can hardly type fast enough! Thanks, Melissa.

  11. Bonita Ledzius says

    My daughter and I read and review books for different sites, and would love to make this for both of us to keep our current book at hand in our favorite reading places. I have to share this on facebook for all my reviewer friends as well!

  12. Samantha Carlini says

    I LOVE this. My kids read every night and this would be a perfect gift for them. Thanks for the idea and the instructions.

  13. Emily Mills says

    I love this idea, I think I’ll adapt it to be a little smaller for my little guys and have pockets for comic books since thats what they love… maybe I’ll use some clear plasic pockets so they can see what’s in the pockets. 🙂

  14. Carmen says

    My reading list mainly consists of Little Golden Books, Dr Seuss, the children’s bible and books of that nature 🙂

  15. Amber Cherne says

    This looks like it would be a great take along for long rides and flights. Definitely gonna make some for gifts!

  16. Ginabirdy says

    Love love love this! Adding a flashlight to the pocket with a new book is a great gift idea for little ones!

  17. Marilize says

    Ooh – this is clever! A perfect tut for some Xmas gifts 🙂

    I will prob have a list of bookclub books to get through – we break for 2 months, so no excuses are entertained – hahaha.

  18. Beverly says

    Oh what a great idea. To be able to carry your reading material in a neat little pocket on the side of a pillow…with a handle, no less.

    I have just one little question. Is the pillow for when reading makes you sleepy? I almost always seems to have that affect on me although I love to read. 🙂

  19. Sarah R. says

    Thanks for the giveaway. The pillow is a great idea. I usually go to the library and cruise the stacks. Find lots of interesting books this way.

  20. Ambrielle Bender says

    Anything involving vampires! Lol I just finished spell checked no certain logic by cg Powell and loved it.

  21. Susan says

    Most of my reading has been the Bible and associated books as I have been teaching children’s Sunday school this year. Also, I love to read quilt magazines. I make so many quilts in my head. I like this pillow and like the pocket for storage. Cute project!

  22. says

    Currently, I’m re-reading Anne Rice’s Mayfair witches trilogy, and continuing David Moody’s zombie trilogy that started with “Haters.” I guess it’s just that time of year:)

  23. Julie Pike says

    This would make a great gift for my Granddaughter! Most of my reading material at the moment is new quilting patterns 🙂

  24. Michele Van Epps says

    This is a great idea! And what a wonderful gift for my reading friends. Thanks for the tutorial!

  25. Milita says

    Really cool idea! My sister lives out of town and I love making unique gifts to send her. This one has been bookmarked. 🙂

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