With the holiday season just around the corner, stitch up the perfect gift for students of all ages in your life: a study pillow! Perfect for students from preschool age and all the way up through college, this design features generous pockets for holding workbooks, notebooks and more, plus convenient side pockets for stowing away pens and pencils, calculators, erasers and other study essentials. With a high-density foam insert, this pillow is comfortable enough to lean up against, but sturdy enough to use as a writing surface. Today I’m providing the full how-to for this study pillow project. Let’s get started!
For this project, you will need…
- 2 15×17″ high-density foam chair cushion inserts
- 1 yard 54″ home decorator fabric (main fabric)
- 5/8 yard 54″ home decorator fabric (accent fabric)
- 16″ section of 5/8″ sew-in Velcro
- 8″ piece woven strap material
- 2 packages maxi piping (optional)
- Washable ink marker
- Coordinating thread
- Rotary cutter and mat (optional, but recommended)
- Basic sewing supplies: machine, shears, iron, etc.
Note: All seam allowances are 1/2″.
To begin, make your cuts.
From the main fabric:
- (1) pillow front piece at 16×18″
- (2) back flap pieces at 10.5×16″
- (1) front pocket lining piece at 10.5×18″
- (1) side pencil pocket piece at 5×6.5″
- (1) side calculator pocket piece at 5×8.5″
From the accent fabric:
- (2) short side joining pieces at 5×17″
- (2) long side joining pieces at 5×19″
- (1) front pocket outer piece at 10.5×18″
Place the front pocket outer piece and the front pocket lining piece together, right sides facing; pin. Stitch along one of the long edges. (If using, stitch piping into this seam.) Fold piece in half at the seam so that it is right side out; press. Pin assembled pocket to bottom (18″) edge of pillow front piece, aligning the corners and raw edges. Baste around the side and bottom edges of the pocket piece to affix it to the pillow front piece. Set assembled panel aside.
Fold one of the short edges of the side calculator pocket piece under 1/4″; press. Fold under an additional 1/4″, press, and stitch to hem. Place one of the short side joining pieces face up on a work surface. Align the short raw edge of the side calculator pocket piece with one of the short edges of the side joining piece; pin. Baste 1/8″ away from the side and bottom edges of the pocket to affix it to the side joining piece. Set assembled piece aside.
Fold one of the short edges of the side side pencil pocket piece under 1/4″; press. Fold under an additional 1/4″, press, and stitch to hem. Place the piece face up on a work surface, so that the hemmed edge is at the top. Use a washable ink marker to make marks at 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5″ from the left edge of the piece, and then use a straight edge to draw a vertical line through each mark from the bottom edge of the piece to the top (hemmed) edge.
Place the remaining short side joining piece face up on a work surface. Align the short raw edge of the side pencil pocket piece with one of the short edges of the side joining piece; pin. Baste 1/8″ away from the side and bottom edges of the pocket to affix it to the side joining piece before stitching along each of the vertical lines on the piece. (This will create individual pen holders.) Set assembled piece aside.
Place one of the long side joining pieces face up on a work surface. Fold the raw edges of the strap piece under 1/2″. Position the strap piece onto the side joining piece so that each folded edge of the strap is 5.5″ from its respective edge on the joining piece. Pin. Stitch a rectangle around each edge of the strap piece to affix it to the joining piece.
With the same piece face up on the work surface, align the short raw edges of the short side joining pieces (the end opposite the ends with the pockets) with either of the short edges of the long side joining piece; pin. Stitch the pieces together to form a long strip. Align each of the short edges of the remaining long side joining piece with the remaining edges of the short side joining pieces (the edges that correspond with the bottom of each pocket); pin and stitch. The resulting piece will form a continuous tube.
Serge or zig-zag 1 long edge on each of the back flap pieces. Fold each finished edge under 1″; press. Stitch along finished edge to hem. Place one of the hemmed pieces face up on a work surface and one of the pieces face down. Position the Velcro at the center of the hem, with the hook portion of the Velcro on the wrong side and the loop portion on the right side. Stitch along each of the long edges of the Velcro to secure it to the flap pieces. Secure the flap pieces together at the Velcro edge so that the assembled panels measure precisely 18″ across.
Place the assembled pillow front/pocket piece face up on a work surface. Align the assembled side joining pieces with the raw edges of the pillow front piece, right sides facing, making sure the corners on the pillow front piece are aligned with the seams on the joining pieces. Important: The strap portion of the joining piece should be aligned with the top edge of the pillow front piece. Pin the pieces together and stitch. (If using, stitch piping into this seam.)
Place the piece face up on a work surface, and pin the Velcroed back flap pieces in a similar fashion, so that the right sides are facing and the seams of the joining pieces are aligned with the corners of the back flap pieces. Stitch. (If using, stitch piping into this seam.)
Turn the cover right-side out, and open the back flaps. Tuck the foam cushions inside, one at a time, before securing the Velcro to close.
Your study pillow is ready to be put to good use!
With organized side pockets for writing tools…
…and ample space for other supplies, this pillow is sure to help the scholars in your life stay organized in their studies!
I love that this project allows you to incorporate various fabrics, allowing you to personalize it for any child of any age.
This would be a great pillow to tote along when traveling, too!
Itching to stitch up even more great organizational gifts this holiday season? Check out the ideas below!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you’ll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.