Pillow Insert vs Pillow Case

Pillows used in home decorating come in all shapes and sizes. Generally, you will make a pillow covering  and then stuff it using a pillow insert. Pillow inserts come in all different sizes, so you have many options. 

Cover Sizing

Typically, you'll want to make your pillow covering smaller than the insert. This makes the pillow more firm and shapely. How much smaller really depends on how firm the insert is. If the insert is really squishy, you may want to make the cover much smaller. As a general rule, start with these guidelines.

Insert Size Pillow Cover Size

Less than or equal to 17" / 43cm

Insert Size less 1" / 2.5cm

Greater than 17" / 43cm

Insert Size less 2" / 5cm


You would use the Pillow Cover Size as your inputs in the Item Height and Item Width variables when drafting patterns in Patternmaker Pro.

No Insert?

If you don't already have an insert, you can easily make your own. Use the basic pillow pattern and make the insert. Then stuff the insert with polyester, cotton or any other filler. Then you can take your new insert dimensions and make any cover you want from the Patternmaker Pro catalog.

Piping vs Welting

You will often find pillows and cushions decorated with welting. Welting is simply a casing that is filled with a cord. There is no difference between welting and piping. Piping is usually used as a term for garment construction and welting is used in home decorating.

Closing the Cover

You will find pillow covers and pillow shams in the Patternmaker Pro catalog.  Shams are a fabric envelope that allows you to easily insert and remove your pillow inserts. You can use expensive fabric and trims on the front of the sham and a less expensive fabric on the back. The front will always be forward facing. You can also just wash the sham and not the insert.

A pillow cover completely encases the insert and it can be flipped over and still appear the same. When you make these covers, you will need to close the cover over the insert by sewing. You'll want to hand-stitch the pillow cover closed to hide stitches. You will probably not want to remove the cover and re-sew it every time you wash the pillow. Keep this in mind when selecting the filling of the insert. You can also completely skip the insert on a closed cover and just stuff it instead.