How To Make A Flanged Pillow

Hi everyone!  I'm Jann from Newton Custom Interiors.  I LOVE to make pillows, and today I'm excited to share with you how to make a flanged pillow.  This is a great pillow!   The flange adds some interest to this type of pillow, and I love adding cording around the outside edge.  You can make a small version of this pillow to put on a sofa or chair, or you can make a larger version for a bed.

How To Make A Flanged Pillow. If you want the very best in custom pillows then this is for you! Top quality flanged pillow with corded edge and no floppy flanges!

Before I get started with the tutorial, I want to mention a pet peeve of mine about flanged pillows.  I know you've all seen this.  The flanged pillow with the floppy corners, which is the big problem with most store-bought flanged shams.


I like to beef up my flanged pillows, so that the corners don't droop or flop.  Below are some pillows I made for a client's guest bedroom.  Notice how the corners stand up nicely.


That's what is so great about making your own pillows, you can add in details that will make your pillows really custom.  In this tutorial, I'll give you step-by-step instructions for making your flanged pillows with no floppy corners, and I'll also show you how to add cording around the flanges.  Cording adds an extra pop of color.

How To Make A Flanged Pillow With Cording

For this pillow I used a 18″ x 14″ pillow form, and made my flanges at 1 1/2″.  You can make your pillow whatever size you want, maybe a bed- size pillow with larger flanges.  Just adjust your measurements accordingly.

flanged pillow finished measurements

Materials needed:

18″ x 14″ pillow form
3/4 yard of fabric for pillow
1 yard of fabric for cording (to make it stand out, pick a solid fabric that coordinates with your pillow fabric)
1/2 yard of lining
1/2 yard of batting
16″ zipper
Thread matched to fabric


1. Cut your front piece of fabric 22″ wide x 18″ long.

2.  Cut 2 pieces for the back of pillow.  The first piece needs to be cut at 22″ wide x 15 3/4″ long, and the second at 22″ wide and 3 3/4″ long.

cut measurements

3.  First we're going to work on the back of the pillow.  Serge the 2 edges of the back pieces where the zipper will be inserted, or you can zig-zag along the edges to keep the fabric from fraying.  (You could also use pinking shears on the two edges if you don't have a serger.)

serged edges

4. Sew the two back pieces, right sides together, using a 3/4″ seam allowance.  Use a small stitch for the first 3 1/2″ and the last 3 1/2″, and a long stitch for the middle.  This is where the zipper will be sewn in, and the long stitches will be taken out later.

stitches for zipper

5. Sew the zipper into the seam.  I have done a short video showing how to insert a zipper in this type of pillow.  I've also written out the instructions below the video.

Directions for inserting zipper –

a. You will have two pieces of fabric, or in the case of the neckroll pillow, one piece of fabric.  Serge the two edges that you will be seaming together for the zipper.  This will keep the fabric from fraying when the zipper is opened and closed.

b.  With right sides together, sew a  seam 3/4″ away from the serged edges.  The first and last couple of inches of the seam will be sewn with a medium sized stitch, and the middle section will be a long stitch.  (These long stitches will be taken out later.)

c. Your zipper length should be slightly larger than the zipper opening.  For instance, if the zipper opening needs to be 14″, then I would use a zipper that was 15″ or 16″ long.

d.  Lay your zipper face side down and centered on the seam.  The top and bottom edges of the zipper should overlap slightly, 1/2″ or so, into the medium seam stitching.

e.  Using a zipper foot, start sewing to the left of the top of the zipper teeth.  Continue sewing down the left side of the zipper teeth.

f.  At the bottom of the zipper, turn and sew across the bottom edge.

g.  Turn again and sew up the other side of the zipper.

h.  When you reach the top, turn again and sew across the top edge.

i.  Take out the long stitches in your seam, so that the zipper can be opened and closed.  Remove any loose threads.

Here's a photo of the front and back sides after the zipper has been sewn in.

zipper inserted

6.  Next we're going to work on the front of the pillow.

To make the cording and apply it to the pillow front-

a.  Fold fabric so that selvage edge is lined up with the cut edge, with right sides together.  This will make a fold on the bias.  (If you can cut the cording strips on the bias, then the cording will stretch around the corners of the pillow better.)

bias fold

b.  Cut the folded edge open.

cutting fold

c.  Cut strips of fabric that will go around you cording plus 1″ for the seam allowances.  For my 1/4″ cording, I cut the strips at 1 5/8″ wide.

fabric wrapped around cording

width of strip

d.  For the length of your cording strips, cut out enough strips to go around the outside edge of the pillow plus 5″ for extra.  For this pillow I needed about 85″ of cording.

e.  Pin your strips of cording together – right sides together.  The strips will be at 90 degree angles from each other.  Sew the strips together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

cording strip sewn

f.  Wrap your long strip of cording fabric around the cording, and sew using a zipper foot.  Staying close to the cording.

sewing fabric around cord

g.  Sew the cording around the outside edge of the front of the pillow –  starting on the bottom edge of the pillow.  Clipping the cording at the corners.

sewing cording to fabric

clipping corners

h.  Join the ends of the cording together by clipping the cord on both ends so that it meets evenly.  Cut the fabric on one of the ends too.  On the other end, turn the fabric under and overlap the other end.  Sew the cording to the pillow fabric.

joining cording


cording sewn

7.  Sew the front to the back, right sides together, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Clip the corners and turn right side out.

front and back pinned

8.  Press seams.

pressing seams

9. Cut both the batting and the lining at 20 1/2″ wide x 16 1/2″ long.  This is what you'll use to beef up the pillow so that the corners don't droop.

lining and batting

10. Fold the batting in half and insert into the pillow cover.

batting inserted

11.  Do the same for the lining.  Laying it on top of the batting.

lining inserted


12.  Close the zipper, and pin all layers of the pillow together in several places, to keep all of the layers from shifting.

layers pinned

13.  Sew the flange stitch line 1 3/4″ away from the outer edges of the pillow cover.  (The flange is 1 1/2″ and adding in the 1/4″ cording equals 1 3/4″)

stitching flange

14.  Insert the pillow form into the cover, and close the zipper.

flanged pillow

I hoped you've enjoyed this tutorial for how to make a flanged pillow.  Do you have a favorite type of pillow that you like to make?

How To Make A Flanged Pillow from So Sew Easy

If you like this style of flanged pillow, you'll like this flanged pillow with an overlay!

flanged pillow with floral overlay

Want to learn more about creating your own beautiful custom pillows and bedding?  Jann has a class on Craftsy to teach you just that.  You won't regret it – check out my review of the class here.

Review of the Custom Bedding class where you can learn to sew different sorts of high quality pillows. Plus a special price for you from the instructor.

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Introducing Jann from Newton Custom Interiors

Hi!  I'm Jann Newton, and I blog about home decor, sewing tutorials and DIY projects at Newton Custom Interiors.

Recently, I was asked to teach a class for Craftsy -  Custom Bedding - Decorative Shams & Bolsters.  So Sew Easy readers enjoy a discount on my class!

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8 Responses to How To Make A Flanged Pillow

  1. Tammy Frank says:

    This is the type of pattern I was looking for. Thank you so much Jann!

    I am planning to use a 16 x 16 pillow size. Do you agree that the front fabric should be cut to 20 x 20 and the back fabric pieces should be cut to 20 x 17 3/4 and 20 x 3 3/4 long?

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Pillow Tutorials for Beginners - Mama Makes Crazy

  3. Sandra Hauger says:

    Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed your tutorial on filling the flange, and the zipper technique

  4. Liza Creavey says:

    Awesome tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Your class is definitely on my Craftsy wish list!

  5. As well as stopping the corners from flopping, I rather like the effect the batting gives to the flanged edge. I’ve featured your fab tutorial today, Jann.

What do you think?