Pillow Repair Workshop: Fix a Torn Seam

Throw pillow with split seam - stuffing spilling out

It’s that time of year when kids (both young and old) can get a little rambunctious with indoor fun, and the living room decor has been known to fall victim to some good healthy rough-housing… usually the pillows.

Here’s a simple solution to repair a split seam that will give any pillow new life – and look like a pro did it! (note: this works on any split seam on clothing as well)

Throw pillow with split seam - stuffing spilling out

Has your favorite pillow split a seam?

Close view of split seam with stuffing spilling out

A torn seam need not spell the end of a perfectly good pillow

You will need:
1) a straight needle
2) a spool of thread (hand-quilting thread is a nice weight for this purpose, but any thread will do)

Begin by finding the two broken thread ends at each end of the split, pull them gently until no loops are visible on the outside and tuck them inside the pillow:

loose threads

Find the loose thread ends at each end of the split

pulling threads tight

Tug the loose threads until any loops disappear, and tuck them inside

Now thread the needle – here’s a quick way to tie a knot in your thread:
Four steps to tie knot in the thread end

Next, pin the opening closed at the center of the split, adding pins along the split as needed to keep the stuffing or pillow form inside. To begin sewing insert the needle from the inside of the fold coming out the middle of the crease line. Pull the thread through so the knot is resting on the back side of the crease out of sight:

Insert needle into the back side of the crease

Inserting the needle to begin stitching

Take a tiny “lock stitch” to secure the beginning of your hand-stitched seam:

lock stitch

The "lock-stitch"

Take a 1/4″ stitch by inserting the needle into the opposite fold and working back and forth as shown:

hidden stitch

The "slip stitch" forms a hidden seam

slipstitch diagram

Finish stitching about 1/4″ beyond the opening at the other end, securing the end with two or three small lock stitches taken in one spot, looping the needle through each stitch before pulling it tight.

finished seam

Look Ma! No threads!

About the Author

CarlaHey there! I'm Carla Pyle. I love the stories that our furniture tells. For me a picture of my Granddaddy Milton's green upholstered arm chair brings to mind the vivid rhymes & colors of 'The Cat in the Hat' and his soft low voice in the telling. I love too that there is always an element of nature in furniture - the warm-toned curving grain of a walnut leg or the reflection of life in a mid-century chrome piece. The best part of teaching & sharing natural upholstery is that it ties all of these things together. Stories - of individual experience and of the planet - help us build happy & healthy homes.View all posts by Carla →

  1. Allie FerraioloAllie Ferraiolo01-22-2017

    Thank you for the thorough tutorial! Using this, and a video on sewing a slip stitch (, I was able to mend my pillow successfully! I’m beginner sewer so I appreciate the clarity with which you described the process.

  2. Carla PyleCarla Pyle02-24-2017

    I’m so glad this was helpful! Thanks for the link that may help others as well.

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