How to Make a Pillow Insert – Cheap + Luxe!

Today I’m showing you how to make a pillow insert by using an IKEA FJÄDRAR
inner cushion. But wait; it’s already a throw pillow insert, so what’s the deal?! Well, we’re going to customize the size!

Can you Make Your Own Pillow Insert?

Making your own custom pillow insert is so easy when you have something to start with that you can alter! At only $8 for each insert, IKEA’s FJÄDRAR insert provides a luxe look at a bargain price! You really can’t beat the price or comfort of this feather filled insert!

Maybe you have throw pillows that need rejuvenating? Or you have a special fabric, like a grain sack, that you’d like to make an odd-sized pillow form for. If so, this is the tutorial for you!

Watch the video below or continue on to the written tutorial:

Creative Craft Hop

Today we’re taking part in the Creative Craft Hop hosted by Andrea and Chloe at Design Morsels and Celebrate & Decorate. So don’t forget to check out the other projects at the bottom of this post. And be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

Before we get into the tutorial, don’t forget to get your DIY mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe! You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Throw Pillow Inserts

Not all throw pillow inserts are created equally. When I designed my crochet pillow cover (aka, the Kayla pillow), I was pretty disappointed with how the fibrefill insert I bought for it looked (and it was more than double the price of the FJÄDRAR insert!). So I ‘borrowed’ one of the inserts from my throw cushions to try with the Kayla pillow, but sadly it was too big.

See how beautiful the IKEA inserts look in these pillow covers?

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That’s when I had a brainstorm to modify the FJÄDRAR to fit the Kayla pillow perfectly. IKEA’s FJÄDRAR inner cushion is 16×26 and is filled with feathers.  At only $8, there’s really nothing to lose, so why not cut it down!

If you can sew a straight seam, it’s well worth the effort. And if you’re worried about having feather’s floating everywhere, I’ve got you covered with a few tricks to keep them contained.

How to Make a Pillow Insert

First step is to grab two plastic bags: one large plastic bag and a second one that will fit the pillow form.

Use a seam ripper to open up the seam along the short edge. I'm showing you how to make a pillow insert by using an IKEA FJÄDRAR inner cushion. Birdz of a Feather | feather filled throw pillows | feather filled pillows | pillow inserts | pillow inserts diy | pillow inserts cheap | feather pillow inserts | diy feather pillow inserts | pillow diy ideas | pillow diy | pillow diy ideas how to make | pillow diy how to make | pillow sewing projects | pillow sewing ideas | pillow sewing tutorial | pillow sewing | dewing pillow inserts | sewing a pillow insert

Once it’s fully open, gently insert the form into a large plastic bag, open end first. I used a clear bag, but a garbage bag will work.

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Roll back the fabric and push the feather filling into the bag until the pillow case is empty and the bag is full. Remove the fabric from the bag; it will now be inside out at this point.

Roll the edges of the plastic bag and tie it off so you don’t accidentally spill the feathers. We like to keep our feathers numbered here at Birdz of a Feather, like we did for our wacky and fun Foghorn Leghorn clock 🙂

Pick up Cling-On Feathers

Now, run some strips of packing tape along to pick up the small feathers still clinging to the fabric. You can also use a lint roller instead if you have one.

If you want to clean the fabric completely, and you’re careful, you can even use a vacuum cleaner. I have a vaccuum system so gave it a try. First, set the bag of feathers aside and out of the way (you don’t want any vacuum cleaner incidents).

Hold the hose on it’s edge so it doesn’t come into full contact with the pillow case and accidentally suck the fabric into it. Alternately, if you have an upholstery brush attachment with your system, you can likely make full contact with the fabric without fear of sucking it up!

How Do You Measure for a Pillow Insert?

Mark the size you want to alter the insert to right onto the fabric with pencil. Since I’m using this for the Kayla pillow, I’m removing 4″ on the length and 1 1/4″ on the width. A good rule of thumb is to make the insert 1″ – 2″ larger than the pillow cover.

Cut along the pencils lines.

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At the sewing machine, adjust to a small stitch length (I’m using 2). I used a seam allowance of 1/2″ on the short edge and 3/8″ on the long edge.

Stitch the short edge first, but leave at least a 6″ gap in the middle so you can re-stuff the feathers.

Turn the corner and continue sewing along the long edge. Then go back and run another length of stitching close to the first line – about 1/8″ away – as shown below. This will help keep the quills of the feather from escaping the pillow insert. I have a serger, so I also serged the edges but it’s not necessary.

Re-Fill with Feathers

Turn the fabric right side out. Along the edge where you left the opening, finger press along the seam.

Remember the second plastic bag I told you to grab? To keep the outer fabric clean, put the plastic bag back on and roll the upper edge down around it as shown below. I'm showing you how to make a pillow insert by using an IKEA FJÄDRAR inner cushion. Birdz of a Feather | feather filled throw pillows | feather filled pillows | pillow inserts | pillow inserts diy | pillow inserts cheap | feather pillow inserts | diy feather pillow inserts | pillow diy ideas | pillow diy | pillow diy ideas how to make | pillow diy how to make | pillow sewing projects | pillow sewing ideas | pillow sewing tutorial | pillow sewing | dewing pillow inserts | sewing a pillow insert

Put the filled bag of feathers into a rigid plastic container. I initially used a tall container but then switched over to a shorter one because it’s easier to reach into!

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Re-tie the feather filled bag so only half the bag is open.  Then insert the pillow form right in front of the bag, but still inside the container as shown. 

Grab a handful of feathers and start stuffing. I find that putting the edge of the plastic bag with the feathers into the pillow form will help ‘slide’ the feathers in. Go slow and the feathers will stay contained! This isn’t a good time to sneeze :).

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As you fill the form back up, ensure that the feathers reach right down into the corners so everything is nice and plump. 

Close it Up Again

Don’t fill right to the upper edge; you’ll need room to stitch the seam closed again. When you’re happy with the amount of fill, carefully pin the opening. I don’t know the tread count of the fabric IKEA uses, but man it must be high. It was a struggle to get a sharp pin through the fabric!

Remove the plastic bag and take it back to the sewing machine. Now you have two choices: you can permanently close the opening right away. Or you can do what I did. I ran a temporary running stitch along the edge so I could test out the modified insert with my Kayla pillow cover. That way, I could open it up and fill again if I had to, but it was perfect. Once you’re happy with the amount of fill run two rows of small stitching along the opening to seal the opening like you did previously along the other seams.

Save your leftover feathers for another project. If you modify several inserts you’ll probably have enough to make another pillow insert (you’ll just have to buy a high thread count fabric to encase the feathers).

DIY Throw Pillow

Here’s how the Kayla pillow looks with its custom feather-filled insert! Doesn’t it look great? If you like the Kayla pillow, the crochet e-pattern is for sale in our new shop. But the good news is that we’re donating 100% of all proceeds to Alzheimer’s!

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Crochet for a Cure

And it’s not just the Kayla pillow100% of all e-pattern sales from our shop will be donated to Alzheimer’s so please visit to check us out. You’ll not only get a quality pattern, but can feel good about your money going to a great cause :). It’s a win-win!

Crochet for a Cure | Ribblr.com | Ribblr | Kayla Pillow | Gabriola frog | Tooth Fairy Pillow

Pin How to Make a Pillow Insert

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Creative Craft Hop

Now go check out Design Morsel’s Painting Terra Cotta Pots. Then pop back in to visit these other talented bloggers for more creative craft projects:

24 thoughts on “How to Make a Pillow Insert – Cheap + Luxe!

  1. What a great tutorial, Sara! I think we all need to know how to make a pillow insert! And I love that you used feathers – my kind of insert, lol!

    • Thanks Gail; with a blog name like Birdz of a Feather, I can’t imagine using anything else but feathers – lol!

  2. I was just needing this information as I needed a pillow insert. Thank you so much for sharing your great tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing and wonderful crafting with you

    • So glad that this is timely for you Chas! I just scooped up a few more inserts from Ikea and can’t wait to modify some more. There’s nothing better than the look of a feather pillow :).

  3. I need to make some pillow inserts to fit some covers that I have. I hadn’t considered feathers, but now I will have to think about it! It has been awhile since I have been to an Ikea. Great tutorial!

    • We were so lucky that a friend offered to pick some up for us; I have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle the maze at Ikea – lol!

  4. These are great tips, Sara! There’s nothing worse than a flat pillow, and have “borrowed” stuffing from older pillows to create a fuller look. Happy Memorial Day weekend! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

    • Thanks Cecilia! I agree; nothing worse than sad flat pillows :). Happy Memorial Day weekend to you too!

  5. I prefer a feather pillow insert but they cost much more than foam. Being able to make my own is perfect. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.

    • I paid almost $20 for a fibrefill form so couldn’t believe the price when I saw these were only $8. I’ll probably never go back 🙂

  6. Wow, what a great idea, and at a bargain price! I would never have thought of this, and you really came up with the perfect way to fill a pillow! Thanks for this creative tip!

  7. Thanks for the great tutorial Sara! I’ve always preferred a feather insert over a fiber fill. Happy to hop with you again ♥

    • Thank you Jenna! Yes, feathers are a must at Birdz of a Feather – lol. Thanks also for your compliment on my Crochet for a Cure projects; I’m so passionate about the cause!

  8. I love the trick for picking up loose feathers. This is a great tutorial. Something we can all use because you can never have enough pillows right? Glad you joined in the hop.

  9. Sara, I’ve been meaning to get some of those feather inserts from IKEA. They’re such a bargain! I never thought of modifying them to fit a pillow form, though. What a great idea! Thanks for this tutorial and the great video, too. There’s nothing as cozy as a down pillow! It’s always fun hopping with you 🙂

    • I know, I can’t believe they can even sell them for that price! They sure do have the cozy factor 🙂

  10. Such a great tutorial, Sarah! I am in need of some pillow inserts, so this is a perfect post for me to read. I can’t wait to give it a try. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

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