Perfect Pillow Corners

A friend of my mother-in-law gave me some fabric. It had been given to her. She couldn’t use it for her doll making or other sewing projects. She saw my dolls, thought I ought to have it, and passed it along to me. People who sew are like gardeners who share plants and cuttings. “Please take this, I know you can put it to good use.”

I decided the fabric does have potential for a doll, but in the meantime, I’ve used some of it to make pillows. The fabric has nice embroidered embellishment and it is a total match for my living room. I needed a lumbar support pillow for my favorite chair, so I made two. One for my chair and one for the matching chair, just in case I need to sit there.

Pillows are a quick and easy project. They are perfect for those just learning to sew especially when combined with ready made pillow forms. One problem encountered when sewing pillows is the “dog-ear” corners. The plumper the pillow is stuffed, the more pointy and misshapen the corners. Lots of people simply round out the corners when sewing, but all that does is made rounded corners. There is another way. I’ve been using this tip so long (over 30 years) that I don’t have any idea where originally I learned it. It is easy and the results are perfect and I’d like to share it with you.

How to Sew Perfect Pillow Corners Tutorial

I’ve drawn out the pattern changes on paper to make it easier to see. Usually I make the changes directly on the pillow pieces after they are cut out.

Mark 1/2″ and 3″ in from all corners along the seam line. (red dots)

pillow tutorialConnect each set of dots with those across on the same corner as shown. (red lines) These are your new seam lines.

pillow tutorial 2Here are the same markings on the fabric. You can see I was not too accurate with my marking.

pillow tutorial 2Sew around the pillow turning at each new corner point. Leave an opening to turn the pillow. The seam does have a funny shape for now, but it evens out when it gets stuffed.

pillow tutorial 3Turn the pillow right side out and the sides are already beginning to straighten out.

pillow tutorial 4Once stuffed, the pillow has perfectly square corners and straight sides.pillow finished

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12 Responses to Perfect Pillow Corners

  1. nita butler says:

    Very pretty!Thanks for the instructions, I need a new pillow for my car to put behind my back! This is perfect!

  2. Peta says:

    This is truly the only way to avoid the dreadful dog ears. I would like to add though to get a plump, luxurious look you use an insert 2 inches larger than the pillow cover. I make my own, so then it can be as full as I want, or not.

  3. Barbra says:

    Hello, can you please tell me if this will work on a “one-piece” envelope pillow cover.

    • Not too easily. With the envelope style the fabric has a fold and that would prevent you from changing the corners on that side.

      • Barbra Ann says:

        Yes, that’s what I was thinking as far as making this work for a one piece envelope pillow. I love the one-piece pillow, super easy, but those pointy dog ears, just don’t like them.
        Question: Are the measurements for making the pillow without dog ears the same for other sizes…your markings are 1/2″ and 3″ from the corners, would this be the same for a: 20×20, 18×18, 16×16, and 14×14 pillow? Thank you so much for your quick response, I really appreciate it.

      • The short answer is that the 1/2″ works for all (most) pillow sizes. It’s what I’ve always used. What matters most is the depth, how fat the pillow will end up. That fluffiness is what causes the dog ears to occur. If you are making some really large pillows that will be fat, you could increase the amount taken away at the corners to, say, 3/4″ and 4″? I’ve made 20″ pillows with the basic 1/2″ adjustment and that has worked well.

      • Barbra Ann says:

        So, Looks like I can use 1/2″ in the corners for 18, 16, 14 square pillows, but what about that second marking, the 3″ marking, does that vary with the pillow sizes I referenced or is it 3″ for all sizes?

      • 3″ would work for all those sizes. I’ve used it for pillows from 8″ to 24″

  4. Linda says:

    oh come on guys. lets use our heads. the ‘dog ear’ correction can be done on one-piece envelope pillows. i just did it. no problem. just sew up the sides of your one-piece envelope pillow cover, place the ‘dog ear’ corrector markings, and re-stitch the corners, being sure to back stitch when tapering off. it is barely noticeable on the ‘no seam’ sides (think darting). what is noticeable is that there are no dog ears!! piece of cake.

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