How-To Sew a Round, Boxed Pillow
Round pillows are not as popular as square and rectangle shapes, but occasionally a circular pillow can add a point of interest, or show off a pattern better than a shape with corners. When sewing round pillows, I prefer to add boxing around the other edge to give more fullness and to prevent puckers. Yes, I know... I can make a flat, knife edge round pillow but I prefer a boxed pillow every time!
I am sharing my technique for sewing a round, boxed pillow below. The example shown is finished 15-inches with 2-inch boxing and hand sewn closed. If adding a zipper, I add it in the center of the boxing strip which I would do for a round seat cushion, but not an occasional pillow like this.
To see the full step-by-step instructions you can download a printable version here: Round, Boxed Pillow Instructions
Cuts are for a 15-inch pillow with 2 inch boxing. Adjust for your specific pillow project.
Cut the front and back pieces square, and large enough for two 16 inch circles.
Cut boxing strips 3 inches by enough pieces to achieve at least 50 inches total, or the circumference of the pillow. Make sure it matches at the top of the pillow.
If needed, cut lining or interlining for front, back and boxing pieces.
Cut just over 3 yards of bias strips to cover welt cord
1: Draw two circles to the size needed on the fabric, centering the pattern motif. Do not cut them out. For this project 16” circles were drawn (15” + 1” for seams)
2: Sew together bias strips and cover welt cord. Do not serge the edges. Clip the seam allowance of the welt cord and glue-baste the lip of the welt cord around the inside of the circle drawn on the fabric.
3: Finish off the welt cord where it meets, trimming the cord off even and folding under cut edges.
4: Continue glue basting the cord to the other piece.
5: Sew the welt cord to the fabric on both pieces.
6: Trim off excess fabric and serge the edges if needed.
7: Fold the front and back pieces into quarters and mark
8: Find where the pattern of the boxing matches at the top of the pillow and pin.
9: Starting in the center of the top of the circle, sew the boxing next to the welt cord, stopping a few inches from the center of the bottom.
10: Flip the pillow over and continue sewing from the center top to the bottom.
11: Fold over the two ends of boxing to meet and pin. Trim off excess leaving a seam allowance
12: Sew the boxing strips together and then continue sewing the boxing next to the welt cord.
13: Mark at every quarter on the boxing strips to match the marks on the circle piece.
14: Line up the marks on the boxing with the back piece. Pin at each quarter mark.
15: Starting at the center top, sew the boxing strip to the back of the pillow. Sew about three quarters of the way to the bottom and stop.
16: Flip the pillow over and sew the boxing to the pillow around to the bottom. Stop about three quarters from the very bottom, leaving a hole for turning.
17: Turn the pillow right sides out and stuff the form inside the pillow. Reach inside and push all the seam allowances down towards the boxing. (See information about pillow forms at the end of this tutorial).
18: Pin the opening closed.
19: Close the pillow by using a double thread and a ladder stitch.
20: Steam the pillow top, bottom and boxing using a press cloth (test fabrics before ironing).
Helpful information about pillow forms:
For round pillows, I prefer a 10/90 pillow form which is 10% down and 90% feather. It fills nicely and is still firm. Boxed pillows are available as custom orders, but a knife edge pillow can be used inside a boxed pillow. To use a knife edge form for a boxed pillow, order up in size as outlined below...
Finished pillow size + boxing size + 1-inch = knife edge pillow size to order
For the 15-inch pillow in this tutorial, with 2-inch boxing, an 18-inch 10/90 pillow form was used.
There are some cases where the seam in the center of the boxing will show when using a knife edge form in a round, boxed pillow; such as a pillow made with thin, light color fabric. But, with thin and light fabrics I most often will add interlining so this isn't an issue.