Who doesn’t love making something simple and practical for their children? I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews, they all love films, teddys and reading so I thought what better gift to give them than a reading pillow. Here is how to make a reading cushion…
I made mine for children using some Disney themed fat quarters from Aldi and a little decoration, but honestly, you can make these for pretty much anyone in any theme.
Tools & Equipment
- Sewing Machine
- Fabric – cut to size of 16 by 16 inches ( you can make the cushion any size you want)
- Pocket Fabric – cut to size of 11 by 16 inches
- Bias Tape – You can make this from any of your fabrics or buy pre-made.
- Zip ( 14 inches Long)
- Quilting Ruler
- Rotary Cutter
How To Make A Reading Cushion
You can change the measurements to fit whatever size and shape you want to make. There is no rule on size for how to make a reading cushion, it is completely up to you.
Top Tip: Buy the insert to go in the cushion first – then you can use this as a template to create the correct size cushion cover.
Cut two squares this will be your main cushion front and back.
I chose to use fat quarters for this project, I used three in total. You can use the same fabric on everything or change it up as I did.
Top Tip: To Make a really neat and straight square use a quilting ruler and a rotary cutter.
These are super easy to use and quicker. The ruler helps with precision and creates a smooth edge to work from.
Buy Here: Friskars Softgrip Rotary Cutter
Buy Here: EZ Quilting 6.5 x 24 inch Ruler
Cut the pocket fabric roughly half the size of your main pieces..This will layer on top of your main fabric piece and create a pocket.
Make sure to add on at least 1 inch to use to create a neat edge at the top.
Working with the pocket piece only you will need to fold down 1cm of the top edge. Make sure you are folding the right side behind. Iron as you go to keep the fabric in place and to create a neat line.
Repeat and fold over again another 1cm thickness. This will create a neat edge on both the outside and inside. It will also help stop the fabric from fraying in the long term.
To help keep the pressed fabric in place you can either pin it or use sewing clips to hold it in place. This is a great idea if you are working over a day or two and not just in one sitting.
Alternatively, you can use a bias binding tape along the edge. This is super fun if you choose to make it from one of the other fabrics within the project or even just a contrasting colour.
Sew right sides together and then pull over the bias tape, to sew into place on the back.
Also, I have my ironing board in another room so I have to walk back and forth with my sewing and fabric. One day I will have a mini iron-on my desk area!
Sew into place using a medium length stitch and line the edge up to your fabric edge. This way you can keep a steady and neat line throughout your project.
Top Tip: If you struggle with straight lines, place a piece of tape at measured intervals on your sewing machine to help you stay straight.
I also took the time to add a little detailing on my reading pillow. This isn’t necessary but I thought my Niece would like it. I simply pinned it in place and sewed along each edge so hold it in place.
Top Tip: If you are wanting to make the reading cushion more personalised, you can add letters and names or even embroidery to the pocket.
You can find iron on letters and pictures if you are wanting to make it more personal.
This step will include both the pocket piece and the main square of fabric for the front.
Lay the main reading pillow fabric on a flat surface with the right side (patterned or most clear) upwards. Then lay the pocket piece also right side up on top.
Make sure to line up the edges to the bottom corners and edges so you know it is correct.
You want to make sure they are sat right on top on one another so that when you sew the cushion together it will all catch into the seam and look neat.
Pin into place to hold the fabric layers together.
Create the handles, you can do this by using up some of the scrap pieces of fabric or by using cotton tape. Personally I would use fabric as it will be more durable, stronger and longer-lasting.
You can make the handles by cutting a 3 by 9 inch piece of fabric.
Within this step, you can also add bondaweb or fabric stiffener but it is not required.
Take the pieces to the ironing board and fold both sides in 1/2 of an inch. Iron into place and press, use steam if your fabric is fairly tough.
You should have something that looks like this:
Then using your iron fold the strip of fabric in half, making sure the raw edges are on the inside. This will create a stronghold and a tough handle for the reading cushion.
This isn’t a necessary part of how to make a reading cushion, but I do like the added touch of a handle. It is nice to carry around and it makes it easier for little hands to hold.
Pin or clip the folded fabric in place and take it to the sewing machine. Sew down the open edge, close by to make it neat.
I decided to add a zip into my reading cushion as it made it easier to wash and take care of it. I wanted the zip to be out of the way so I decided it was better at the base.
You can alternatively place the zip where you wish but I didn’t want mind interfering with the handles at the top.
To sew in the zip place your zip and fabric edge right sides together and pin into place.
Sew into place with a zipper foot, you can find them for all different machine types and styles.
Repeat with the backing piece of fabric.
Place on your handles to the front panel and pin them into place ready to sew.
You can either sew it in place before attaching the back piece or sew them into place with the back piece.
Top Tip: Line both pieces together so you can make sure the handles are aligned and even.
Pace the backing piece of fabric face down on top of the front piece. You will already be attached due to the zip.
Line up edges and corners and pin or clip into place.
Sew around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam, making sure you catch the handles and zip at each end.
Cut off the corners to get rid of any bulk and make the edges neat.
Turn the right way through and you are done! Stuff with your cushion filler and zip up. Place a book in the pocket and present to your little one!
That is everything on how to make a reading cushion. I hope you have found this helpful and really found an easy way to make one of these adorable reding pillows for your little ones. You can create so many varients and colours it is endless fun.