Reading Pillow

You will need four different fabrics for the Reading Pillow.  Fabrics have labelled (see picture below) to help illustrate where they will be used:

Begin by pressing your fabrics well.  The Cutting Instructions for each fabric are as follows:


  • 3 – 2 ½” x WOF


  • 20” square [front]
  • 2 - 11” high x 20” wide [back top and back bottom]


  • 13” high x 20” wide [pocket lining]
  • 4” high x 12” wide [handle]
  • 3 3/4" high x 20” wide [zipper accent]


  • 13” high x 20” wide

You will also need some batting and muslin.  I like to use 100% cotton batting.  Cut three pieces of batting as follows: 

  • 20” square
  • 13” high x 20” wide
  • 1” high x 12” wide

 Cut one piece of muslin:

  • 20” square

Other required notions:  1 – 22” zipper, matching threads for quilting and appliqué, marking tool, ruler, usual sewing notions (ie thread snips, clips, pins).

Once the fabrics and batting are cut, you are ready to begin!

Handle Prep:

  • Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press with a hot iron. Open up and bring one raw edge to the centre fold line and press.  Repeat with other long raw edge.
  • Open the folds and place the batting strip (1" high x 12" wide) along one side of the centre fold.  Refold along the pressed lines so that the handle measures 1” x 12”.
  • Top stitch at 1/8” from one long side. Repeat with other long side.  Then stitch ¼” away from the first line.  Repeat with the other side so that there are four stitch lines in total.

 Binding Prep:

  • Take the three strips of binding fabric and sew together to make one long, continuous piece (as you would make quilt binding). Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. 
  • Cut 20” off and trim 1/8” off the raw edge. This will make the binding just a bit narrower and will be used for the pocket edge. 


  • Set all binding aside.


Exterior Pocket:

  • Lay pocket batting on work surface and place pocket exterior, right side up, over pocket batting. Baste together and quilt as desired.
  • Trim pocket to 12” high x 19” wide.
  • Lay name in desired location, cover with pressing sheet and fuse in place with a hot, dry iron.
  • To secure the name appliqué in place, use a short stitch and matching thread, top stitch close to the edges (about 1/8") of the name appliqué.
  • Now take the pocket lining and place wrong side up and put quilted panel on top. Using a long stitch, baste down one side, across the bottom and up the other side.
  • Trim the pocket lining even with the quilted pocket piece.
  • Line up the 20” piece of binding along the top front edge of the pocket. Stitch in place. Wrap to the lining side of the pocket and hand-stitch to finish. Set aside.


Pillow Front:

  • Make a quilt sandwich with the Main fabric, batting and muslin. Baste and quilt as desired.
  • Trim to a 19” square.
  • Find the centre and mark. Measuring 2” from the centre mark, pin or clip the inside edge of the handle in place. Repeat with the other end of the handle, pinning or clipping 2” on the other side of the centre mark. Using a 1/8” seam allowance, stitch in place.

  • Place the Exterior Pocket on top of the Pillow Front, aligning the sides and bottom of the Pocket with the Pillow Front. Clip together and baste in place.
  • Set aside.

Pillow Back:

  • Take one back piece and sew the zipper cover strip to the bottom of the piece. The sewn piece should measure 12 ¾” high x 20” wide. This will now be the Pillow Back Top.
  • Using the Pillow Back Top, the zipper and the remaining 11” high x 20” back piece, insert the zipper. I like to use this tutorial by Sotak Handmade.

 To Finish:

  • Lay the completed Pillow Back wrong side up. * Make sure the zipper pull is open about halfway, and will not be sewn outside of the seam. *
  • Place the completed Pillow Front on top and use pins to secure in place. Make sure the zipper is level.  Stitch around the entire perimeter, then trim the excess Pillow Back.

  • Using the remaining binding, attach to the front as you would for a quilt. Wrap around to the back and hand stitch in place.

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