The Magic Pillow Facing Tutorial

You may hear me jokingly say I’m a lazy quilter but, I don’t ever believe in compromising quality and workmanship and I LOVE a professional finish when I sew. This means even on the insides of projects or in places that wont be seen often – like the inside of a pillow. I’ve serged seams, sewn full linings, put bias tape over the seam allowance – all kinds of things to achieve a professional look. But, after I figured out how to do the “magic pillow facing”, I think I will only make pillows this way now! It looks so professional. Essentially, you line the pillow front with a facing that encloses all the raw edges! And, it just takes one extra 4″ seam and one extra turn.

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I had a heck of a time figuring out a title for this that would make sense. But, it really does feel magical when you do it. And, it’s more of a facing than a lining. So, there you go.

You can use this technique to make a pillow that has an envelope back or a pillow with either an invisible or lapped zipper put in. Whichever you choose, sew your pillow back as you normally would first. This tutorial will use an envelope back for ease of demonstration.

You can also use this technique with any size or shape pillow! This tutorial assumes a 1/4″ seam width. Adjust to fit your desired seam width for assembling your pillow.

Here we go:

  1. First, your pillow front, back, and facing should all be the same size. If they are not trim down to size.
  2. Place pillow front RIGHT SIDE UP. This can be a solid piece of fabric, a patchwork piece, or even a quilted pillow front. If you’re going to quilt your pillow front just quilt the pillow front onto batting since you’re effectively adding a facing to the pillow front with this technique.Magic Pillow Facing Artwork1
  3. Place pillow back WRONG SIDE UP on top of pillow front. They will be RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.Magic Pillow Facing Artwork2
  4. Align outside edges, pinning as desired. At the bottom (and away from any join) , sew about a 5 inch long seam 1/4″ from the edge of your pillow. Note: If you have a zipper on your pillow back then unzip it here!Magic Pillow Facing Artwork 3
  5. Place pillow facing WRONG SIDE UP on top of pillow back.Magic Pillow Facing Artwork 4
  6. Align outside edges pinning as desired. On the facing, mark the beginning and end of the 4 inch seam that was sewn. Mark with chalk or use a few straight pins. This will be your beginning and ending marks for your next seam.Magic Pillow Facing Artwork 5
  7. Starting at the end mark of the 4 inch seam, sew with a 1/4″ seam all the way around your pillow stopping at the other mark for the 4 inch seam.
    Magic Pillow Facing Artwork 6
  8. Reach in through the 4″ opening at the bottom and turn your pillow right sides out. You will see the RIGHT SIDE of the facing on one side and the WRONG SIDE of the pillow back.
  9. Then reaching through the opening of your pillow back, turn your pillow right sides out again. You will now see the RIGHT SIDE of the pillow front and the RIGHT SIDE of the pillow back.
  10. Poke your corners out.
  11. Whip stich the 4 inch opening closed in the bottom.
  12. Look at that magical pillow facing! Don’t you feel fancy?

Here’s one pillow I made using that technique:

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It’s hard to photograph the inside of a pillow but, here’s a peek at how the inside looks. The pillow back is to the right and the facing is to the left. See, magical huh?!

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Let me know if the last steps aren’t clear. I’ll try to take some pics to help. And, if you try it – let me know how it turns out!

Happy sewing!

Comments 11

  1. This is so helpful and timely for me. I’m about to start making large pillow covers using an alpaca wool blanket for the front. Using your method I won’t have to worry about the light interfacing on the inside of the blanket degrading when I wash them as it will be safely enclosed. Wouldn’t have come across your fantastic tutorial if not for your link from Instagram, so thank you for writing it and for taking the time to add the link!

  2. I just followed this tutorial in finishing my Charlie the Cushion project. Thanks again for sharing! I love how neat it is on the inside now! And how easy it was 😀

  3. I’m getting ready to make a pillow for a swap project and I’m definitely going to incorporate this technique. You explained it very clearly.
    Thanks for posting!

  4. Thank you! I usually do a “backing ” on a quilted pillow front before adding the back of pillow but that still leaves all the seams open. This is such a clever technique I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Latifah Post

      Yes Jude, that is exactly what this is for. For making a really great finished inside to your pillow with no raw edges.

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