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Exactly How Much Fabric You Need for Pillows (11 Sizes)

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How much fabric you need for 2 square ‘throw’ pillows…

(Click a link to skip to the visual chart below)

How much fabric you need for 2 rectangle & lumbar pillows…

My fabric estimates are for invisible zipper pillows with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances.

I added an extra 0.1 yards to account for a fabric shrinkage rate of 10% (length only, not shrinkage along the width). 

This is because when you pre-wash and dry your materials, they might shrink. Fabric sellers may also cut your yardage wonkily, causing you to lose a few inches.

I’m going to show you charts that reveal:

  • How much fabric each pillow size will use.
  • How much leftover fabric to expect.
  • Whether you should get 45″ or 58″ wide fabrics.
pillows on couch

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Note: if you’re from the UK, you might know these as decorative cushions instead.


How much fabric you need for 12″ x 12″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 1.2 yards (1.1 meters) to make 4 12×12″ pillows.

If you just want 2 pillows, 0.9 yards (0.9 meters) is enough.

blue chart showing how much fabric you need for 12 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 0.9 yards (0.9 meters) to make 4 12×12″ pillows.

If you only want 2 pillows, 0.5 yards (0.5 meters) is enough.

blue chart showing how much fabric you need for 12 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 14″ x 14″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 1.8 yards (1.7 meters) to make 4 14×14″ pillows.

If you just want 2 pillows, 1 yard (1 meter) is enough.

blue chart showing how much fabric you need for 14 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1.4 yards (1.3 meters) to make 4 14×14″ pillows.

For 2 pillows, you need 1 yard (1 meter).

blue chart showing how much fabric you need for 14 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 16″ x 16″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 2 yards (1.9 meters) to make 4 16×16″ pillows.

If you just want 2 pillows, 1.1 yards (1 meter) is enough.

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 16 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll only need 1.1 yards (1 meter) to make 3 16×16″ pillows.

If you’re not worried about fabric shrinkage, 1 yard (1 meter) is enough, as you can see in the chart below.

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 16 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 18″ x 18″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 1.7 yards (1.6 meters) to make 3 18×18″ pillows.

If you just want 2 pillows, you’ll need 1.2 yards (1.1 meters).

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 18 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1.7 yards (1.6 meters) to make 4 18×18″ pillows.

In this situation, I’m nervous about fabric shrinkage along the width (from selvage to selvage).

If you look at the chart below, the pillow pieces use every last bit of width space. The tiny gaps at the top and bottom of the chart are the unusable selvage edges, so I’m ignoring those.

If there was width-wise shrinkage, the 2 pillow pieces at the bottom would not fit anymore. In this case, you would need about 2.3 yards (2.1 meters) instead to make 4 pillows.

If you just want 2 pillows, you’ll need 1.2 yards (1.1 meters).

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 18 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 20″ x 20″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 1.9 yards (1.8 meters) to make 3 20×20″ pillows.

If you just want 2 pillows, you’ll need 1.3 yards (1.2 meters).

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 20 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1.9 yards (1.8 meters) to make 3 20×20″ pillows.

If you just want 2 pillows, you’ll need 1.3 yards (1.2 meters).

So the fabric requirements are the same as the shorter width fabric, except you’ll have a lot more waste material.

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 20 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 22″ x 22″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 2.7 yards (2.5 meters) to make 2 22×22″ pillows.

There’s a lot of fabric wastage.

blue chart for 22 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1.4 yards (1.3 meters) to make 2 22×22″ pillows.

blue chart for 22 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 24″ x 24″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 2.9 yards (2.7 meters) to make 2 24×24″ pillows.

blue chart showing how much fabric you need for 24 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1.5 yards (1.4 meters) to make 2 24×24″ pillows.

blue chart showing how much fabric you need for 24 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 26″ x 26″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

Note: 26×26″ is also the size of euro pillow shams (shams are decorative pillows for beds). (source: Target).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 3.1 yards (2.9 meters) to make 2 26×26″ pillows.

In this case, you’re better off using a fabric with a wider width. To make the same size and number of pillows, you only need 1.6 yards of 58″ wide fabric.

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 26 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1.6 yards (1.5 meters) to make 2 26×26″ pillows.

This is much cheaper than using 45″ wide fabric.

blue chart showing how much fabric is needed for 26 inch pillows

How much fabric you need for 12″ x 16″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 1.6 yards (1.5 meters) to make 4 12×16″ pillows.

For 2 pillows, 1.1 yards (1 meter) is enough.

blue fabric chart for 12x16" pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1.1 yards (1 meter) to make 4 12×16″ pillows.

For 2 pillows, 0.6 yards (0.6 meters) is enough fabric.

blue fabric chart for 12x16" pillows

How much fabric you need for 14″ x 26″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 1.6 yards (1.5 meters) to make 2 14×26″ pillows.

blue fabric chart for 14x26" pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 1 yard (1 meter) to make 2 14×26″ pillows.

I flipped the pillow pieces to use less fabric.

blue fabric chart for 14x26" pillows

How much fabric you need for 16″ x 42″ pillows

These fabric estimates are for an invisible zipper pillow with 3/8″ (1cm) seam allowances. An extra 0.1 yards has been added to account for a 10% fabric shrinkage rate (length only, not shrinkage along the width).

If your fabric is 45″ wide (1.14 meters), you’ll need 2 yards (1.9 meters) to make 2 16×42″ pillows.

In this situation, I’m nervous about fabric shrinkage along the width (from selvage to selvage).

If you look at the chart below, the pillow pieces use every last bit of width space. The tiny gaps at the top and bottom of the chart are the unusable selvage edges, so I’m ignoring those.

blue chart for 16x42 inch pillows

If there was width-wise shrinkage, the pillow pieces would not fit anymore. You would need to rotate them. In this case, you would need 2.5 yards (2.3 meters) instead to make 2 pillows.

Here’s a chart to illustrate what I mean:

blue chart for 16x42 inch pillows

If your fabric is 58″ wide (1.47 meters), you’ll need 2 yards (1.9 meters) to make 2 16×42″ pillows.

blue chart for 16x42 inch pillows

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