What is a Pillow Form?

Sheri Cyprus

A pillow form is an uncovered, or plainly covered, pillow used in home decor and crafts projects. Decorative covers may be purchased or made to fit over pillow forms. A pillow form is also called a pillow insert and many different sizes, shapes and types of inserts are available today. It may be small and meant to be covered with fabric to accent a chair or it may be large to cover and use as a floor cushion.

Recycled plastic soda bottles are used as filling material for some quilts and pillow inserts.
Recycled plastic soda bottles are used as filling material for some quilts and pillow inserts.

Pillow forms may be made of foam or filled with polyester or down. Down is the fine-textured feathers of water birds such and geese and ducks, while polyester and foam are synthetic materials. A down-filled pillow form is often more expensive than the foam or polyester-filled type, but down is considered to be warmer and more comfortable. The disadvantage of down is that some people are allergic to it. Polyester-filled and foam pillow forms are lighter in weight than down-filled ones and tend to be easy to find as well as inexpensive.

Other types of fillings for pillow forms include eco-friendly materials. For example, recycled plastic soda bottles are used as filling material for some quilts and pillow inserts. These environmentally-friendly pillow forms would be ideal for projects using eco-friendly fabrics. Eco-friendly or environmentally-friendly fabrics are manufactured with the protection of the environment in mind.

The great thing about pillow forms, or pillow inserts, is that there are so many different types of covers to place them into. Fabric leftover from curtains, chair covers, table cloths and other soft furnishings can be used on pillow forms to create a cohesive look in the home. Many crafters create embroidered or needle-pointed patterned tops for pillow forms. Usually, a solid colored fabric is used for the backing of the stitched pillow form. Needlepoint and embroidery are two types of crafts that involve stitching designs using colorful yarn or thread.

The most popular shape of pillow form is the square, but other shapes such as round and heart are available. Bolsters or long cylindrical cushions are popular type of pillow form for upholstery fabric covers. Bolsters can be added to sofas or chaise lounges.

A chaise lounge is a seat that is stretched out like a cot. It may be backless or have a back on it. Bolster pillows can also accent armless sofas as they can serve as armrests. Neck rolls are throw cushions that look like smaller versions of bolsters. A neck roll pillow form may be covered with luxurious fabric and used as accent cushions on a bed.

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Discussion Comments


Anon53049, you can use just about any material for a pillow form. If you're using a foam insert, any kind of muslin, cotton or poly-cotton blend that isn't too thick would work just fine.

If you're wanting to stuff a pillow with feathers or down, you'll need cotton ticking, which is a thicker material that won't allow the feather stems to penetrate. You can usually find ticking in any good fabric store. They can also probably give you some good advice about what fabrics to use for a foam pillow form.

Hope this helps!


well, that's all well and good but what i need to know is where to buy the fabric to make my own pillow form. i don't need to know what to put inside the form itself. how do i find the fabric to make my own?

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