How to Sew Simple Buttoned Pillows (Made Easier Through Imperfection)

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by Robin

These pillows have been waiting for months to be made.  Months!  I've shared before how I make pillows simply.  You can't get much easier than this tutorial I shared here last year.  So what was the hold up?

Button-holes.  Stinking button holes were the hold up.

I hate them.  But, my vision for these pillows included pretty, pearly white buttons.  I was going to have to get over my fear-distaste for the button-holer gadget of my sewing machine. 

(That and get the kids out of the house while I made them.  During button hole making I curse like a certain mayor during a "drunken stupor".  I get angry and red.  Yes, there is spittle.)

Finally, last week, after the buttons and fabric stared at me for 6 months - I sat at my sewing machine determined to get 'er done.  I had the user manual in my lap and the darn button holer thing at the ready.  (And the kids were out of the house.)  I was going to do this, even if I hated every minute of it.

Then, I had a minor epiphany: Do the button holes even matter?  Am I ever going to use the buttons as buttons? Will they look pretty if I just make them my old reliable simple way, and just sew the buttons right on? 

Yes!  Dang it.

So that's what I did, folks...

I used the simple pillow tutorial I shared here before.  Then I just sewed the flap shut with the buttons.

Perfect?  Nope.

Done?  Yes.  Done beats perfect at every match up.  (But I forget all the time, and put my money on perfect.)

I love the fabric for a few reasons.  It suits my daughter's decor in a lovely way.  Plus, I made these from a pair of thrifted pillow shams!  I paid close to nothing for them.  I even have some pieces of fabric left - that I plan to piece together into another pillow cover.

And that pillow cover will be imperfect, but most importantly it will be done.

Here's the tutorial I followed - it works every time:


Is there a project hanging over you because you want it to be perfect?  Is there a way you can make it "really done" vs "imaginary perfect"?


  1. Oh, I am just about to post about pillows, too! Mine are definitely imperfect. I love your solution. I made some covers that aren't quite the right size, so there's some gapping going on. Sewing buttons on will fix that right up, and won't cause me to have to re-make the cover. I wanted them to be removable, but you're right: For as often as I might want to wash them, I can cut the dang buttons off and re-sew them. That's much faster than any other fix I might try. (And your pillows are lovely!)

    1. Exactly! If they get dirty I could probably just throw the whole pillow in the wash on a gentle cycle or something - 'cause the pillow forms probably dirty to, no? I LOVE justifying laziness. I could get my Masters in it or something. Thanks for your comment, Rita! :)

  2. I hate buttonholes too. And done always trumps perfect but I often need the reminder.
    (I can see a certain mayor's name becoming a metaphor for bad behaviour- eg. I was so enraged that I went all Rob Ford in the grocery store. Same term can be applied to advanced state of inebriation)
    And the pillow turned out lovely!

    1. Haha - yes - I think "going-Rob-Ford" has replaced the old "going postal". I guess we can thank him for that.
      Thanks for the compliment - the fabric really does all the work to make those pillows pretty - it's sweet. I figured I needed to hurry up and make them before my daughter hits her teen years and wants black walls with graffiti sprayed on them or something less sweet. :)

  3. Regardless of what your taste is, you can attract interest to a plain-colored sofa or sectional sofa with coordinating pillows, bullion fringes, or edge cording along with other interesting details. Or, how about reviving the look of button-back, attached-back, or beautiful soft-back cushions, or maybe even some plump pillows!

  4. If you divide the buttonhole into parts (2 sides, 2 ends) then it's just 4 lines of zig-zag joined at the ends to form a skinny rectangle that's the same length as the diameter of the button and the same width as the thickness of the button.


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