How to Prevent Protruding Corners on Pillows

multi colored throw pillows

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One of the most common complaints about home-sewn pillows is that the corners protrude or stick out beyond what is eye appealing. There are solutions to this problem. The first step is to sew a cover that is the right size for a pillow form.

The free pattern for a removable basic pillow form cover is a classic example. Although the directions call for a half-inch seam allowance, the cover is cut to the size of the form. This allows the entire cover to be filled with the pillow form. If the finished pillow is the same size as the pillow form, there is not enough pillow form to fill all the way out to the corners.

Seam-Trimming Method

Some fabrics will want to protrude even if they are firmly stuffed. In some cases, it is the seam allowances that are helping to cause the protruding corner. This is especially true when you are using heavy upholstery fabric. The simplest solution is to trim the seam allowance diagonally at the corners and the seam allowance as it approaches the corner before you add a seam finish. In some cases, this simple solution will eliminate the pointy corners.

Seam Trimming Method to Remedy Protruding Corners on pillows
Debbie Colgrove

A Sewing Method

A simple way to prevent protruding square corners on a pillow is to sew a couple of stitches across the corners which will round the corner ever so slightly. The number of stitches across the corner will be dictated by the weight of the fabric and the stitch length you are using. A piece of heavy upholstery fabric will require a few more stitches than a lightweight cotton fabric will need to prevent a poking corner. Trimming the seam allowances, as described in the previous step, before you add a seam finish also will contribute to eliminating the poking corners.

Sewing Method to Prevent Protruding Corners on Pillows
Debbie Colgrove

Tapering and Stitching Solution

If you've tried everything previously mentioned and the fabric still wants to protrude no matter what you do to tame it, there is another solution. By tapering the seams and sewing a few stitches across the corners, you take away fabric from the corners.

Tapering and Stitching Solution to Protruding Corners on Pillows
Debbie Colgrove

Press and Fold Solution

If trimming the seam allowance corner is not enough, you can tame the corner by sewing the corner with a couple of stitches across the corner.

  1. After the corner is sewn, press the seams as they were sewn.
  2. Press back the corners onto the body of the pillow or pillow cover.
  3. Trim off any excess seam allowance.
  4. Use a couple of stitches on the sides on top of the side seam to anchor the corners as they were pressed.
  5. Apply a seam finish. If the fabric is especially prone to fraying, apply a seam finish to the corners seam allowance before you sew the seam allowance down; otherwise, it is safe to eliminate the seam finish on this small area, which will eliminate a bit of the bulk in the corner.
Press and Fold Solution to Protruding Pillow Corners
Debbie Colgrove

Rounding Off Pillow Corners

Nothing says that you must have square corners on a pillow. You can round off the pillow corners without making an actually round pillow. This works especially well on a pillow that you are sewing with a piping or cording edge. In most cases, you will need to clip the cording's seam allowance when you are sewing to allow the cording to smoothly go around the corner.

The simplest template to round off a corner is a kitchen plate. Be sure to create the same round corner on all four corners by either folding the cover to cut all four corners at the same time or creating a paper template to repeat the corner on each corner of the pillow.

Rounding Off Pillow Corners to solve pointy, protruding corners
Debbie Colgrove