How to Make a Custom Pillow Insert

2 Materials
1 Hour

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!

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!

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

Making your own custom 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!

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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!

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 :).

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

Close the Opening

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. 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.

DIY Throw Pillow

Here’s how the Kayla pillow looks with its custom feather-filled insert! Doesn’t it look great?

Crochet for a Cure

If you like the Kayla pillow, the crochet e-pattern is available in our new shop. The good news is that we’re donating 100% of all proceeds to Alzheimer’s!

But it’s not just the Kayla pillow – 100% 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!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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2 of 11 comments
  • Deb Deb on Jun 16, 2021

    IKEA also has a 20x20 inner insert for $3. Much thinner and not sure what it’s stuffed with but some might find it another cheaper option. Bag says 100% polyester fiber

  • Dmotan Dmotan on Jun 16, 2021

    If you take you pillow from Ikea and bounce it up and down holding the form at short end not longways. The feathers will go to the other end of the pillow. Then put form on sewing machine and mark the size you want. stitch and then stitch

    1 1/2" from first stitched line. Also stitch a seam for the left over feathers remaining in the part of the fabric you do not need. When you cut these apart, the feathers will not come out. This takes no time and the feathers don't become such a problem. Also, if you want to make your form even smaller at the other side of form, move the feathers to where you won't be sewing. Your sewing needle should be strong enough in case you hit the vein of a feather. Or use stitch witchery. No sewing needed.

    • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Jun 22, 2021

      That's definitely and option but your shortcut method will result in a pillow that is too plump and distorted for my taste. Perhaps you'll like it that way but I prefer my pillows to have a better balance of feathers-to-fabric. Especially when the pillow cover is knit, as in my case, too many feathers will stretch it too much.