How to Stuff a Pillow Cover:
What your mother never showed you!

You might consider an explanation of how to stuff a pillow cover unnecessary. After all, how hard can it be? Don’t you just zip open the cover and stuff in the insert? The truth is, many people damage their new pillow covers through improper handling while trying to stuff them with the pillow inserts. No matter how well sewn your pillow covers are, too much pressure at the zipper ends may cause the stitching to pop and split and the cover to pull apart. This can easily happen with pillows made from light weight fabrics such as silk, or with pillows made with concealed zippers that cannot be easily reinforced at the zipper ends.

Take a look at the photo below. Here is a clear example of a cover that has pulled apart at the zipper end because of too much stress on the stitching when it was being stuffed with the pillow insert.

Pillow Cover Zipper Seam

Now let’s take a look at the best way to stuff your covers to minimize stress on the zipper ends.

The first thing to check is that your pillow insert is the right size for your cover. If you’ve bought your covers and inserts together from Pillow Décor then we’ve already made sure that the insert is the best fit for your cover. However, if you are using your existing inserts in new pillow covers, then you’ll want to make sure that the inserts aren’t too large before trying to force them into the covers. As a general rule, a polyfill insert shouldn’t be more than about one inch larger than the pillow cover. For smaller covers (14”x14”or less) the insert should ideally be no larger than the cover.  If you are using feather/down inserts, you may be able to use inserts that measure as much as 2 or three inches bigger than the cover depending of the ‘loft’ or volume of the insert.

Once you are sure that your insert isn’t too big for your cover, then it’s time to gently stuff your cover.
  1. Unzip your pillow cover and lay it in front of you on a flat surface.
  2. Then gently fold your pillow insert in half while compressing it enough to grasp it in the center and hold the two sides together.
  3. Keeping the insert squeezed together with one hand, hold open the pillow cover with the other hand and gently pull the cover over one end of the insert.
  4. Continue working the cover over the insert while keeping it squeezed together until you have all four corners of the insert inside the cover. Be careful not to release your grasp of the insert before it is completely inside the cover. If you must let go of the insert, do so gently so as to avoid letting it suddenly expand against the zipper end seams.
  5. Once you have the insert inside the cover, use one hand to gently straighten and position the insert so that all four corners are in place in the corners of the cover.
  6. Now you are ready to zip up your cover. This should also be done gently and gradually to make sure there are no loose threads or insert fabric interfering with the zipper.
  7. Gently guide the zipper fastener down the length of the zipper until it is completely closed. Do not force the zipper if it starts to stick or jam. If this happens, slowly reverse the zipper while checking to make sure nothing is caught in it. Then try closing it again.

And that is all there is too it. You probably noticed we used the word ‘gently’ a few hundred times in the above instructions. If nothing else, just be gentle with your covers when you stuff them. They will thank you for it. 


How to stuff a pillow cover


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