DIY Reading Book Pocket Pillow Pattern

Learn How to Sew a Reading Pillow with pocket using this Free Pattern

Create a fun reading pillow and encourage the love of reading with our free Reading Pocket Pillow Sewing Pattern.  

Books are great gifts for boys and girls of all ages, from babies up to teens.  Gifting books is even more fun and special with a homemade cozy reading pocket pillow.

A reading pillow with a front pocket is a great way for a kid to cuddle up with their favorite book OR the handy handle makes it easy to grab when traveling to carry books, coloring books, crayons, markers, stuffed animals and other fun stuff.

Free Reading Pocket Pillow Pattern - fb

what is a reading pillow?

A reading pillow sometimes called a book pillow, pocket pillow or storytime pillow is a large cushion with a pocket in the front to store multiple books. The child can snuggle with it, lean on it or rest books on it while reading.

About this reading pillow pattern:

Many reading pillows are way too complicated.  We wanted to make a simple pillow with a pocket. Our DIY reading pillow pattern is an easy, no-fuss sewing project requiring no zipper, no special sewing technique, only straight and zigzag stitching.

It's an easy project for a beginner sewist or a quick gift project for an experienced sewist.

It has an envelope-style closure on the back of the pillow so the cover can easily be removed for washing.


Size Matters! Reading pillows can be made in many different sizes.  Our reading pillow is large, soft and comfy; it's 18" x 18".

In this DIY tutorial, we'll take you through the steps to sew an adorable and functional reading pillow from start to finish, from choosing fabric to the cutting of the fabric, from sewing the pillow cover to inserting pillow form and book.

Watch the DIY reading pocket book pillow video first and then follow the written step-by-step instructions below.

Printable PDF Version - Keep reading for a free version of this tutorial. If you would like to purchase an ad free printable version of this tutorial, please visit our Etsy Shop listing for DIY Reading Book Pocket Pillow Pattern. For a small fee, you can purchase a PDF downloadable version of this tutorial.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link DIY Reading Book Pocket Pillow Pattern to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

These homemade reading pocket pillows are super fast to make but if you're short on time, check out Etsy's reading pillow selection.

Machine embroiderers!  Saying and machine embroider applique designs are the perfect addition to reading pillows. Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery has a few fun 'in the hoop' reading pillow designs - horse or unicorn, deer, dragon and dinosaur


Reading Pillow Tutorial Finished

WHAT YOU NEED to make the reading pillow:

  • Soft 18" square pillow insert
  • Main Fabric
  • Accent (pillow) fabric
  • Fusible Fleece
  • Thread
  • Scissor (or rotary cutter and a cutting mat)
  • Ruler
  • Sewing pins or clips
  • As in most sewing projects, you need a sewing machine, iron and ironing board

Reading Pillow Tutorial Supplies

reading pocket pillow step-by-step INSTRUCTIONS :

STEP 1: choose coordinating fabric

As far as fabrics go, this style pocket pillow is the perfect showcase for fun cotton fabrics. The pillow can be made from one fabric, but it's all about the fabric combinations.

Have the recipient in mind when choosing the fabric.  Get creative and choose fabrics in the recipient's favorite colors or theme.

For instance, my great-grandson loves to play with matchbox cars and trucks.  For today's tutorial, deciding on a car theme for the pocket along with a complimentary fabric for the main pillow fabric was a no-brainer.

Choosing the fabric can be lots of fun.

STEP 2: cutting the fabric for the reading pillow

Begin by ironing all the fabric to remove all wrinkles.  I cut the fabric with a rotary cutter, cutting mat and acrylic ruler.  However, a scissor can also be used instead. Reading Pillow Tutorial Fabrics CutCut the following pieces:

Main Fabric
1 - 19" x 19" square (pillow front)
2 - 13" x 19" rectangles (pillow back)

Accent Fabric
1 - 22" x 19" rectangle (pocket)
1 - 4" x 8" rectangle (handle)
The handle can also be made from the main fabric

Fusible Fleece
1 - 19" x 19" square
1 - 11" x 19" rectangle 

STEP 3: how to make the reading book pocket

Fold the pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, so that it measures 11" by 19".  Press the fold to set a crease.

Open the piece and place the 11" by 19" piece of fusible fleece on top of one section aligning the edge of the fleece with the crease.

Reading Pillow Tutorial Pocket Fabric Interfacing

Fuse the fleece to the fabric with an iron, ironing from the center toward the edges of the fabric.  Read the manufacturer's directions to make sure you are fusing it correctly.

Refold the pocket at the center crease and press again to flatten the top fold. Reading Pillow Tutorial Pocket Fabric

Edgestitch along the top edge of the pocket at the fold. Reading Pillow Tutorial Pocket Topstitched

STEP 4: make a handle for the reading pillow

With the 4" x 8" handle fabric, fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press to set a crease. Reading Pillow Tutorial Handle Ironed In Half

Unfold the fabric, then fold each raw edge of the fabric to the center crease and press.Reading Pillow Tutorial Handle Iron to Center

Next, fold the handle fabric in half again at the first center crease.Reading Pillow Tutorial Handle Iron In Half AgainThe handle should be 1" wide x 8" long with four layers of fabric and raw edges inside.

At the sewing machine using a straight stitch, sew a row of stitches, edgestitch, along both sides of the handle close to the fold. Reading Pillow Tutorial Handle Topstitched

STEP 5: Assemble the reading pillow front

First, apply the 19" x 19" fusible fleece piece to the back of the pillow front. Lay the fusible fleece on the ironing board with the fusible side up.  Place the pillow front fabric on top with wrong side down.  Fuse together by ironing from the center toward the edges of the fabric.Reading Pillow Tutorial Main Fabric Interfacing

Now, lay the large front pillow piece on your work table with the right side facing up.  Take the pocket piece and place it directly on top of the front piece making sure to line up the raw edges on the sides and bottom.  Pin in place. Reading Pillow Tutorial Place Back

Let's attach the handle.  Form the handle into a "U" shape at the center top edge of the pillow front so that it's facing down.  The ends should be about three inches apart.  Pin. Reading Pillow Tutorial Pin Handle

The pocket and handle should be pinned.

Reading Pillow Tutorial Place Pocket

At the sewing machine, baste both the right and left sides of the pocket to secure them.  Also, baste close to the edge of the handle to hold it in place. Reading Pillow Tutorial Pocket Basted

STEP 6: create the reading pillow envelope back

For both back pieces, fold one of the long edges under 1/2" toward the wrong side of the fabric Reading Pillow Tutorial Fold Edge Upand press. Reading Pillow Tutorial Iron Folded Edge

Fold 1/2" again and press flat.  The raw edge is hidden in the fold.Reading Pillow Tutorial Folded Edge Iron

Pin and topstitch close to the inside fold of the fabric. Reading Pillow Tutorial Two Back Pieces Edges Finished

STEP 7: put the reading pocket pillow together

Lay the pillow front right side up on a flat surface.  Pin one pillow backing piece, right side down, to the top of the pillow front with the folded edge facing down toward the center. Be sure to line up the three raw edges - the TOP edge and the SIDE edges of the pillow front piece.  

Now, pin the second pillow back piece on top of this piece, right side down, and line up the raw edges of this piece with the BOTTOM and SIDE edges of the pillow front.  Be sure the folded edge is facing up this time.

Reading Pillow Tutorial Place Other Back_Piece

STEP 8: stitching around the reading pillow perimeter

Stitch around the entire pillow perimeter using 1/2" seam allowance.  Begin sewing along one side, not at the corner.

Reading Pillow Tutorial Sew Around PillowWhen you get close to the corner, stop with the needle down, pivot diagonally and sew two or three stitches diagonally, needle down, pivot and sew the next side.

By doing the diagonal stitches at each corner the pillow will have a nicer finished look when turned right side out.  The corner will be crisper.

Also, reinforce the stitching over the folded edges of the pillow back and the handle stitching them again. 

With a scissor, clip the corners diagonally to reduce some of the fabric bulk.  To prevent the seams from fraying, zigzag stitch around the entire pillow.

Reading Pillow Tutorial Clip Corners Zig Zag Raw Edge

STEP 9: finishing

It's time to turn the pillow cover right side out.  A point turner is a helpful tool for poking out the corners of the pillow.

Reading Pillow Tutorial Finished On CouchFinally, insert the pillow form and a good book and the reading pocket pillow is ready for gift-giving.

Whether you need a kid's gift for a birthday, Christmas or other holiday, a reading pillow is a cute idea that can be easily personalized for the recipient.


  • By choosing a fun themed fabric and colors recipient likes
  • Embroider recipients name on the pillow
  • Machine applique a design on the pillow
  • Add a quote to the pillow
  • Print a personalized photo onto the pocket fabric

If you enjoyed this tutorial be sure to pin, bookmark and share.  We would love for you to sign up for our newsletter, that way you will be notified each time we release a new tutorial! You'll get access to all of our new FREE patterns, FREE project tutorials, tips and lots more!

Happy Sewing!

Printable PDF Version - If you would like to purchase an ad free printable version of this tutorial, please visit our Etsy Shop listing for DIY Reading Book Pocket Pillow Pattern. For a small fee, you can purchase a PDF downloadable version of this tutorial.


If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

looking for more gift ideas for kids?

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Free Reading Pocket Pillow Tutorial

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