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DIY Reading Pillow Pattern + How to Make a Book Pillow VIDEO

Do you know what a reading pillow is? Book Pillow also called Pocket Pillow, is a wonderful invention that allows you to read books while snuggling a pillow! Who knew that kind of thing even existed?

Most of these pillows are way too complex to make though, with applique, piping, and other fancy stuff. Because of that, not many sewing enthusiasts try to make them.

Our DIY Reading pillow is completely different. It’s easy to make but it doesn’t lack in any way when you compare it to its complicated counterparts. It’s simple, yet comfortable and convenient! Plus I’ll give you a cut list and free reading pillow pattern.

diy reading pillow with books in the front pocket

If you like how this sounds, you’ll love this reading pillow tutorial. Because it will teach you how to make a reading pillow the easy way!

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How to make reading pillow

Book pillow supplies and tools

For this project, you will need a few different fabrics and some other things. Here’s a list of the essentials for this book pillow:

all supplies needed to make a book pillow for reading

DOWNLOAD: diy reading pillow pattern / cut list

When you prepare all of this, proceed to the next step.

Follow us for free patterns & tutorials!

How to Sew a Reading Pillow

Watch the diy reading pillow video first and then follow the written step by step instructions below.
Please enjoy and don’t forget to Like and SUBSCRIBE over on YouTube to be kept up to date with new videos as they come out.



STEP 1: Prepare the reading pillow pattern for use

Download the book pillow pattern and print it out at 100% on a US letter paper. Trim it, tape it and cut it out accordingly and remove all excess paper.

If you don’t want to use the free reading pillow pattern, just print or write down the cut list.

STEP 2: Cut out the fabric pieces

Wash the fabric thoroughly and press flat before you start doing anything. Use the pattern as a guide and cut out the fabric accordingly.

If you don’t have the pocket pillow pattern or you can’t print it out for some reason, download and use the cut list above or cut as follows.

fabrics cut according to the free reading pillow pattern

  • Cut the front fabric into an 18 x 18 inches wide piece.
  • Cut two pieces 12 x 18 inches big from the back fabric.
  • Cut the pillow pocket fabric and the pillow lining into an 12 x 18 inches piece each.
  • Cut two pieces of fusible interfacing, one should be 12 x 18 inches and the other should be 18 x 18 inches big.

STEP 3: Apply the interfacing

Take the pocket fabric piece and the fusible interfacing that’s the same size. Put the interfacing (fusible side down) on top of the wrong side of the fabric. Iron from the center toward the edges of fabric.

Do the same with the other interfacing piece and the pillow front fabric.

applying interfacing to the front pocket of these pocket pillows

TIP: Having trouble telling which is the fusible side of the interfacing? Look for the bumpy side – it is the side with the glue, and the smooth side is the one you need to press with your iron. So, fusible side = bumpy side

STEP 4: Line the pocket

Place the pocket lining piece and the interfaced pocket fabric on top of each other so that their right sides are facing each other. Align the edges and secure the top edge with pins or clips.

Sew along the top edge with a half-inch seam allowance.

lining the pocket of the book pillow

STEP 5: Turn the pocket around and topstitch

Press the seam open and turn the entire piece inside-out. Flatten the seam and top stitch the edge.

topstitching the front pocket of the book pillow

STEP 6: Attach the handle (optional)

Fold your fabric in half and press with the iron. Unfold and fold the top and bottom edge so that they meet in the middle. Press. Fold one last time along the crease in the middle. Pin and stitch along the fold.

TIP: Do NOT add handle if making this for children under 3 – it is a chocking hazard!

STEP 7: Assemble the front

Lay the pocket piece on top of the main fabric so that their bottom edges are aligned, and their right sides are facing up. Stitch both left and right side edges to secure them.

Set the two short edges of the handle in the middle of the longer edge of the main fabric piece, about three inches apart from each other. Keep the entire ribbon on top of the fabric so that it bends downward.  Pin and sew in place.

attaching handle to the front of the pocket pillow

STEP 8: Prepare the back pieces

For both back pieces: Fold one of the longer edges 1/2 inch toward the wrong side of the fabric TWICE and press flat. Pin and stitch in place.

preparing the hem of the back of the reading pillow

STEP 9: Make the envelope back

Put one of those pieces on top of the front of the pillow, with its right side down. Align the long raw edge with the TOP side of the pillow. Make sure the folded edge is facing down. Secure with pins or clips.

DIY reading pillow tutorial - making the envelope back

Then put the second back piece over the front, again with its right side down. Align the long raw edge with the BOTTOM of the pillow. Make sure to keep the folded edge up this time. Use clips or pins to keep the layers in place.

attaching the second piece of fabric for the back of the pocket pillow

STEP 10: Sew around

Stitch all around the pillowcase with a half-inch seam allowance. Backstitch over the folded edges of the back pieces to prevent the seams from pocking out when you are inserting the pillow form.

STEP 11: Finish the DIY reading pillow

Clip all four corners a bit to reduce bulk. Turn the entire pillowcase inside-out and push out the corners with a pencil or with your fingers. Press flat on the ironing board.

DIY reading pillow with pocket and handle - all finished

Put an 18 inch pillow form in the case.

Your reading pillow with handle is now ready for action! Insert your favorite book in the pocket and keep it for yourself or just add a good book give it away as a gift.

pocket pillows on the bed with an e-book at the front

Did you like my reading pillow sewing pattern and tutorial? Now that you know how to sew a reading pillow, try making a couple of them yourself. They are great gifts for any occasion and everyone will love it if you give it to them. Let us know how these adorable book pillows with pocket and handle turned out. If you have some ideas on how to improve this project, do tell us!

Enjoy reading in the most comfortable and cozy way!


Do you like this DIY Book Pillow with pocket? Pin for later:

How to make a reading pillow with pocket - DIY book pillow tutorial and video

Wanna be friends? Click HERE and follow me on Pinterest



Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 50 comments
Marielle - August 29, 2020

This would be so great for road trips! Thanks for the tutorial. Visiting from #homemattersparty. Have a great weekend!

chickenruby - August 30, 2020

It sounds more complicated than it looks. May give this one a try for my grandchild. Thanks for joining in with #pocolo and hope to see you again soon. I’m sharing on twitter and we send weekly reminders for this link if you’re interested

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    I’m so glad you liked it! It’s an easy sew, and I’m sure your grandchild would love to receive a reading pillow as a gift from you

Tracy Albiero - August 31, 2020

This would make great gifts for my reader friends!! #trafficjamweekend

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    It makes a great gift for both adults and kids

Naush Samama - August 31, 2020

Helen, your reading pillow is so cute and functional. I love how it keeps books organized as well. Thank you for sharing it with us at Meraki Link Party. I hope you will join us this week.
Much love

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    Thank you for your nice words! I love the pillow. It’s so comfy

Michelle - August 31, 2020

What a great idea!! And your tutorial makes it look so easy.

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    It really is easy. Just few straight stitches! Glad you iked it

Shelbee on the Edge - August 31, 2020

You always share the most creative ideas! I love this reading pillow. Thanks for linking up with me.


Liz - September 2, 2020

What an awesome idea! Thank you for sharing on Homestead Blog Hop!

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    Thank you, Liz! It’s my pleasure

Michelle - September 2, 2020

What an awesome concept! I will feature this project in this week’s Creative Compulsions.


    Helen - September 3, 2020

    I’m flattered! Thank you

Laura Walters - September 2, 2020

We are so excited that you participated! Thank you for sharing your creativity! This is so cute!

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    Thank you, Laura. This means a lot to me. So glad you liked my tutorials

Beth Watson - September 2, 2020

What a great addition to our linky party! We are so happy to have you!

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    Thank you for the kind words, Beth. I’m so happy to have found you

creativejewishmom/sara - September 3, 2020

Love it, thanks so much for the great tutorial and for sharing on craft schooling sunday! So happy to have a regular contributor whose got sewing covered!

    Helen - September 3, 2020

    I’m so happy I’ve found you! I love the opportunity to share my tutorials with your readers!

Kate - November 3, 2020

Love this! Need to make 5 and have done two so far. They look fab! Thanks ?

    Helen - November 3, 2020

    Awesome. You go girl. They’ll be appreciated

Kim - December 6, 2020

Thank you for your video! I cant wait to make these! I have a silly question… I need make 20×20 pillows, would i just add 2inches to all your measurements?

    Helen - December 6, 2020

    Hi Kim,
    No, not to all measurements. I would only 1 inch to the half pieces (make them 13 inches instead of 12) and 2 inches to the full pieces (20 inches instead of 18)

Yolanda McLaughlin - March 26, 2021

Where can I find the pattern? I’ve looked and all I get is a picture of the different pieces and how many of each?

Thank you.

Yolie McLaughlin

    Helen - March 28, 2021

    Hi Yolie, this is actually all you need. All of these are simple rectangles or squares, so why waste paper to make a pattern for these? The cut list is much more useful

Lucy - March 29, 2021

Hi. Love the directions, the only comment is what if you are using directional fabric, do you just reverse the fabric pieces? I need to make 4 of these for great grand children. Thanks, Lucy

Adrienne Soltau - April 12, 2021

Hi, I wonder if you can give me the fabric dimensions if I want to make a 16×16 inch pillow?
Love your pattern.

Regards, Adrienne

    Helen - April 13, 2021

    Hi Adrienne, you just need to reduce all dimensions by 2″ (except for the handle)
    Happy sewing

Bonnie Scanlon - May 2, 2021

Is there a way to download the full pattern as well as the fabric requirements and cutting instructions?

    Helen - May 3, 2021

    I’m afraid it’s not possible at the moment.

    Sandra Beaton - July 9, 2021

    I use this:
    You can ‘make any webpage print friendly and pdf’
    (You can install their browser extension, as well.)

Debbie S - May 10, 2021

I make reading pillows, so far I haven’t added the handle. I do machine embroidery, so I embroider the pocket with a pic and saying, I also make my pocket lining longer and make a border on the top. I couldn’t find my measurements and the last pillow I made, the flaps in the back were way to large. I didn’t realize until after I put it together and put the pillow insert in. Thank you for these measurements

crissa ducharme - August 15, 2021

Where can I find the pattern?

    Helen - January 11, 2022

    it’s a size chart under the supplies and tools

Michele - November 8, 2021

I just made this pillow and it looks great! Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I am planning on making at least 1 more as a Christmas present and maybe adding a snack and a gift card for some books. So happy I found your site.

María - November 27, 2021

This is just what I was looking for, thank you so much. I’m a beginner and maybe I missed it but what are the dimensions of the fabric for the handle

Diana - December 4, 2021

I can’t seem to get the pattern to the reading pillow. May I have that pattern sent to my e-mail?
I don’t have a sewing machine so I will be doing this by hand. Love to do this for both of my little granddaughters.
Thank you!!

Dianne - December 10, 2021

These will be part of birthday gifts for our great grandchildren. They love reading and perfect for their bedtime stories! Thanks for the great pattern!

Annichen - December 12, 2021

should I be cutting extra fabric to account for seam allowance?

    Helen - December 14, 2021

    No, the seam allowance is accounted for

Amy - December 24, 2021

I tried to download the pattern but it only downloads the cut list. Can you please email me the pattern.

    Helen - December 24, 2021

    You don’t need a pattern as all of these are rectangles. Cut your fabrics according to the cut list, the seam allowance is already included

Mrs.Brown - February 14, 2022

I am really excited about this project, but when I click the link to download the pattern, it only shows me the fabric cut list….am I missing something? I am working with students so feel I will get more accuracy from them if there is a pattern 🙂

    Helen - February 15, 2022

    No. It’s a measure and cut fabric, meaning you only need the dimensions to cut all pieces yourself
    All are rectangles and squares

Carrie D Nutt - April 26, 2022

How do you get the pattern for the pocket pillow. All I get when I hit download is the cut list

    Helen - April 27, 2022

    It’s all you need. The pattern pieces are just rectangles you cut according to the cut list

Lynda Pusey - July 23, 2022

I made one for each of my twin granddaughters for their 16th birthday and used their crib sheets. They loved the pillows and their parents loved the sentimental fabric. I wish I could add a picture because they turned out great! This pattern is super easy.

Jacey - December 11, 2022

I just made a reading pillow for my granddaughter as a Christmas gift. Your instructions were so easy to follow and the pillow is adorable. I’m sure she will love it! Thank you for the pattern!


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