Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade shows you how to make this pretty Pintuck Pillow with an easy smocking technique. You’ll want to make more than one! Learn more about Rebecca in her introduction, and let us know if you sew one up for your home or for a gift.

This beautiful pillow cover is made for a 20″ pillow and is a simple introduction to the smocking technique!

It’s elegant and classic, and would make a great Mother’s Day gift (it’s so soon, you know!).


  • 21″ x 42″ piece of linen or linen-blend
  • 19 x 19″square of muslin
  • 12″ x 19″ piece for backing
  • 14″ x 19″ piece for backing
  • Ruler
  • Water-soluble pen or disappearing ink pen or tracing wheel
  • Pins
  • Coordinating thread

1. Iron your 21″x 42″ piece of linen or linen-blend and lay it out so that the long sides are laying horizontally.

Mark your fabric at one inch intervals using your ruler and marking method of choice along the entire length of fabric.

2. On the right-hand side of the fabric, pinch the second line from the right in your fingers, folding on the line and down to the line directly to the left. Pin in place.

3. Continue pinning the pleats down, moving from right to left and bottom to top. Pin liberally. You really can’t have too many at this point. Place your pins as close to the edge of the pleat as possible.
As you start to reach the middle and beyond of pleating your linen panel, try not to pull on the fabric that has already been pleated, as this may pull it out of place. Pick up the side that has already been pleated to move it if needed.

5. Stitch down the pleats 1/2″ from the edge to hold them in place. Press the pleats in place with an iron, removing pins as you go. Do not iron over the pins, as most pinheads will melt under the heat of the iron. Remove pins from a few rows at a time while pressing.

6. Find the middle of your pleated panel (with the pleats running horizontally) and mark at the edge of each pleat. Use a marking device that will be easily removed, because these spots will be visible in the finished pillow. Mark all the pleats at 1.5″ intervals.

7. Starting from the bottom full pleat, take the pleat mark that is second from the left, and stitch it to the mark on the pleat above. You will stitch from the edge of the pleat in about 1/4″. Make sure you backstitch at both ends. You will stitch every other mark along this row in this manner. Follow the diagram above.

8. Move up one pleat and take the mark that is first on the left; stitch it to the mark on the pleat above. You will stitch from the edge of the pleat in about 1.4″. Make sure you backstitch at both ends. You will stitch every other mark (the ones that aren’t already sewn) along this row in this manner. Follow the diagram above.

9. Continue stitching all the rows of pleats in this manner, always stitching to the pleat above, but just sewing every other mark in each row. Make sure that you’re not accidentally catching more pleats than you need when sewing, especially as you get towards the end. Your finished panel will look like an accordion of diamonds.

10. Trim panel down to 19” x 19″. You will need to stretch the panel out to check the size. Don’t force it to stretch beyond what it wants to.

11. To make your envelope closure for the back, take the 12″ x 19″ piece and the 14″ x 19″ piece and fold both over by 1/2″. Press. Then fold over another 1/2″ and press. Top stitch. Because your pillow front has so much volume, we are going to heavily pin the back pieces together before attaching to the front. Using a grid or ruler as reference, overlap your back pieces so they form a 19″ square. Use a liberal amount of pins to secure that in place.

12. Lay your 19″ x 19″ piece of muslin on your workspace, then lay your pillow front on top with the wrong side facing the muslin. Align the left and right and pin heavily. Place pillow back pieces right sides together with the pillow front. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance along the left and right sides (the ones that don’t need to stretch out). Backstitch the flaps of the envelope back to ensure they are secure.

13. Find the middle of the unsewn sides of your pillow front and back, and mark with a pin. This will help you evenly stretch the pillow front to the size of the pillow back. Sew the remaining sides carefully, making sure that you are catching the pleats on the back and ensuring they don’t get too bunched up.

14. Trim the corners, using pinking shears on the seams if desired. Flip pillow cover right side out and press carefully. Press the nose of the iron into each half pleat so that you don’t crush the smocking.

I hope that you enjoy your new pillow cover. It would be an impressive pillow to add to any arrangement in your home, and would make such a thoughtful gift!