how to make a body pillow

How to Make and Upholster a Body Pillow

Finding the right body pillow when you’re pregnant, have back pain, or are a side sleeper is an arduous task. Why not try making one instead? This step-by-step guide on how to make a body pillow will save you more time and money! Keep reading to know more.

What Is a Body Pillow?

A body pillow is a narrow yet long pillow that you can hug with your arm and leg. It’s a side sleeper’s best friend because it makes sleeping more manageable and comfortable. The body pillow also helps with proper alignment and relieves pressure points.  

Many embrace the body pillow with their hand and leg on top. But you can use it in other ways. Instead of cradling the pillow, others rest their hands on it for comfort. Or support your back with the body pillow while propping yourself up in bed. 

Pregnant women also use a body pillow because their weight is concentrated on their midsection. It helps them sleep better to promote circulation to the fetus. 

Types of Body Pillows

Body pillows come in many shapes and sizes. Below are the most common kinds:

  • Rectangular pillows are 10 inches by 48 inches to 30 inches by 60 inches. 
  • Cylindrical pillows, also known as bolsters, are ideal for sharing beds.
  • U-shaped body pillows are the most common pregnancy pillows. 
  • J-shaped body pillows provide support for the whole body. 

How to Make a Body Pillow

1.   Prepare the Materials

Have the following things ready for your body pillow project:

  • 1 ¾ yard of muslin, 45 inches wide
  • 2 yards of fabric, 45 inches wide
  • Sewing machine
  • 4 bags of polyester fiber filling
  • Scissors
  • Thread

Your fabric of choice should be high-quality and machine-washable. Choose a design, color, and pattern that fits the style of your bedroom.  

The measurements I provided are optional. You can choose the size of your body pillow. Just make sure to add a one-inch allowance for the seams. You will fold half an inch on each side and iron them.

2.           Clean the Fabric.

Wash and press the fabrics you bought. Afterward, get your muslin and cut the selvages. It should be 63 inches long and 40 inches wide. Clip the width so that it reaches this size. Tear the muslin in a straight line.

3.           Sew the Fabrics Together.

Fold the muslin in half lengthwise, with the ironed side facing you. Turn it on the wrong side to make the stitches invisible. Then, sew the ends using the half-inch folded seams. Use a zig-zag stitch when finishing the hem. 

Leave the ironed side open for the filling later on. Use a backstitch with your hands if you do not have a sewing machine. 

4.           Turn It Right Side Out.

Clip the corners of the sewn muslin and turn it right side out. Try rolling up the edges for more convenient stuffing if the pillow is too big. 

5.           Add the Stuffing.

Take out the fiberfill and stuff your pillow with it. Distribute the material evenly and tightly to make your body pillow firmer. Or keep it light for a softer pillow.  

Unroll the fabric as you add more filling. Try shredded foam, cotton, down, or scrap fabric if you don’t have polyester fiberfill. You may also use the feathers from old pillow stuffing or down comforters. However, these materials may not have a desirable texture like polyester.

6.           Close the Seam

Turn down a half-inch seam and close it with a whip stitch or a hidden hem. Do a hand stitch instead of using your sewing machine.

7.           Cut the Fabric

For the pillowcase fabric, fold the whole thing in half and lay the finished edge on a straight and level line. Line it up with the help of a cutting mat.  

While the rule marks are aligned on the mat, position the ruler’s edge across the fabric. Then, cut a line through the fabric’s thickness. Cut two pieces, one measuring 22 inches by 72 inches and 22 inches by 65 inches.  

On the 65-inch side of the fabric, fold a 2-inch hem. Ironing is optional, then sew in place. 

8.           Stack the Pieces

Lay one fabric on the other right side, with the raw edges even at one end. Fold back the 72-inch fabric to align with the hemmed side of the other piece.  

Afterward, pin it in place and stitch across the other end. Do the same on the other side through all thicknesses. Finish sewing the edges using a zig-zag stitch. 

9.           Turn the Pillowcase

Once you’re done sewing, turn the pillowcase right side out. Place the pillow inside the case and encase the end with the flap.

Best Fill Materials for Body Pillows

When choosing the fill material for your body pillow, consider your preferred firmness, budget, and warmth. Down is the premium choice for maximum comfort. But you can also try memory foam, latex, or DIY stuffings. 

Down

Down refers to the soft feathers under geese’s and ducks’ wings. You can find it in their belly region, and you will notice how soft and warm they are. 

Manufacturers deem this material as the softest fill material. However, it is hyper-allergenic. The natural material is unprocessed, so dust is common even if you wash it. The dust on down material can cause a runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and watery eyes.

Polyester

Polyester is a down alternative, except it’s hypoallergenic and more affordable. It’s common in most pillows and is made of synthetic materials.

Latex

Latex comes from rubber trees’ sap and is minimally processed to contain fewer chemicals than synthetic fills. They also feel cool while you’re sleeping.

In Conclusion

Making your own body pillow is a cost-effective way to relieve your pressure points and resolve your side-sleeping problems. 

Consider your height, sleeping needs, preferred materials, and design when making your own body pillow. This way, it will provide the support and relaxation you need for a good night’s sleep! Want more great tutorials? Check out this project we did to reupholster a wingback chair.

Has this article helped you on how to make a body pillow? Let me know what you think in the comments below! 

Start the conversation