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Mattress pillow for the garden

sewing summer

This easy sewing project is perfect for beginners and a great summer craft project. It will transform a hard garden chair or bench into a comfy corner in which to relax and the pretty felt tufts adds a decorative touch and also hold all the layers of the pillow together.

 mattress pillow

Skills needed:

  • Machine sewing seams (check out our techniques blog)
  • Box stitching
  • Trimming corners
  • Slipstitching



The instructions given here are for a pillow that is 20in. (50cm) square. If you need to adjust the measurements to fit your bench, remember to add 1¼ in. (3cm) to the squares that you cut in Step 1 to allow for the seams. Similarly, the side strip needs to be 1¼ in. (3cm) longer than the sum of the four sides—although the depth will remain the same.



40in. (1m) of striped fabric

49in. (125cm) of thick batting (wadding)

10in. (25cm) of felt in 2 colors

Sewing thread to match fabrics

Embroidery floss



Tape measure

Fabric scissors

Sewing machine



Sewing needle

Pinking shears

Long needle



20in. (50cm) square



Take 5/8-in. (1.5-cm) seam allowances throughout unless otherwise stated.



mattress pillow step 1

1. Cut two 21-in. (53-cm) squares of striped fabric.

mattress pillow step 2

2. Cut two strips of fabric 5½ in. (14cm) long by the width of the fabric. Cut off the selvages. With right sides together, machine stitch the two strips together. Press the seam open. Cut the strip to 80in. (203cm) long.

mattress pillow step 3

3. To make the handle, cut a 9 x 3½ -in. (24 x 9-cm) strip of fabric. Fold in half lengthwise, with right sides together, and machine stitch down the long raw edge. Turn right side out and press so that the seam runs down the center. Turn the ends under to the wrong side by 5/8in. (1.5cm), and press.

mattress pillow step 4

4. Pin the handle onto the long fabric strip with one end 6½ in. (15.5cm) from one end and the other end 7½ in. (19cm) from that. Machine stitch a square around each end of the strip and then a cross from corner to corner of the stitched squares.

mattress pillow step 5

5. With right sides together, pin and machine stitch the short ends of the long strip together. Press the seam open. With right sides together, pin and machine stitch the side panel to one of the squares, placing the seam of the side panel at a corner. Snip the corners of the square and press.

mattress pillow step 6

6. Pin and stitch the other side of the side panel to the remaining square, leaving an opening of about 8in. (20cm) in one side, and turn right side out. Cut four 20-in. (50-cm) squares of batting (wadding). Push them through the opening, making sure that the corners of the batting (wadding) are pushed right into the corners of the cover. Slipstitch the opening closed.

mattress pillow step 7

7. Using pinking shears, cut four 2½ -in. (6-cm) circles one color of felt and four 1½ -in. (4-cm) circles the second color of felt.

mattress pillow step 8

8. At each corner, place a pin 6in. (16cm) in from each side to mark the positions for the felt circles. Thread a long needle with embroidery floss and tie knot about 1½ in. (4cm) from the end. Thread the needle through the center of a small felt circle and then through a larger felt circle and push the needle through the pillow at the marked place. Pull the needle through the pillow.

mattress pillow step 9

9. Stitch back up from the back of the pillow to the front through the felt circles. Repeat to secure. Pull the embroidery floss to gather the pillow and tie a knot to secure it. Trim the ends of the thread to about 1¼ in. (3cm). Repeat at the other corners.


For more beginner's sewing projects, check out Learn to Sew by Emma Hardy.


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