Belly Button Pillow OR A Lesson in Geometry

BellyButton Pillow (1 of 2)

I saw a similar pillow from Cluck.Cluck.Sew on Flickr and HAD to have one. :) So I spent some time constructing it in my head and drawing out the pieces.

Remember how I maybe once mentioned that I was an Architect and my husband is an engineer? That gives us plenty of CAD experience and resources. I had him help me create these pattern pieces on CAD and save them as PDFs. Print them at 100% scale. The dashed line (radius if the pillow) should measure 8" after you print it out. The finished pillow's diameter will be 16".

(Also, remember that I said I'm a math teacher? Well, I get to teach geometry to 7th graders. Here's a quick review.)


16 fabric scraps for wedges (about 4" x 10" each)
1 Fat Quarter or equivalent for back
1 Fat Quarter for the side OR 1/4 yard x WOF
Rotary cutter, mat and scissors
Pattern Pieces (wedge & circle)
sewing machine with matching thread
2 - 1.5" buttons
Matching embroidery floss & long embroidery needle

1) Print out the pattern pieces on card stock. You will need 1 of this wedge and 4 of this larger wedge. Cut out the pieces on the solid lines. The dashed lines show the seam allowances. You will need to tape 4 of the larger wedge together to get 1/2 a circle.

2) Cut out 16 of the smaller wedge from various fabrics. Set aside.

BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (1 of 18)
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (1 of 17)
(Here I've shown 2 different ways of laying the pattern piece, depending on the pattern of the fabric)

3) Take your backing fabric and fold in 1/2. Place diameter of circle on the fold line and cut around the arc. When you unfold the fabric you should have a 17" diameter circle. Set aside.

4) You will need one strip that is 4" x 50.75" long for the edge. Cut 4" strips from your FQ or WOF and sew together end to end using a 1/4" seam allowance. Press seams open. From a FQ this will take about 3 4" strips. From WOF if will take 2 strips. Trim down to 50.75" long.
** curious about how I got 50.75"? Circumference = 3.14 * diameter. Then I added 1/2" for the final seam allowance.**

5) With right sides together, take your 4" x 50.75" band and sew together the open ends using a 1/4" seam allowance so that you have a circle of fabric. Press seam open. Set aside.

6) Sew together your 16 wedges in pairs. Place 2 with rights sides together and sew along one long radius seam using a 1/4" seam allowance. Start at the rounded edge and sew toward the point. No need to backstitch at the beginning and end of these pieces. Press seams open. You now have 8 pairs. 
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (3 of 17)
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (5 of 17)

Trim off the wings at the tip.
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (4 of 17)

7) Sew together your 2 sets of pairs. Place 2 pairs with rights sides together and sew along one long radius seam using a 1/4" seam allowance. Press seams open. You now have 4 quarters. Trim off wings.
*When they are laid out they may look like they won't come together properly. Trust me, I fretted over this. It's an illusion and if your seams have been 1/4" then you'll be fine!**
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (6 of 17)

8) Sew together 2 quarters, again along a radius with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press seams open. Trim off wings.

BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (7 of 17)
9) Sew together your 2 halves along the full diameter. Press seam to one side.
* It will be bulky in the center. Don't worry if your points don't meet up perfectly, we're going to cover them up with a button!*
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (8 of 17)

10) Take your pieced front and side band. Mark your side band into 4ths by laying it flat and marking the side folds with pins, then unfold & refold, matching up those pins in the middle and marking the new side folds.
* With pencil & on the wrong side of the fabric, you may want to mark these spots for easier matching in step 13. *
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (9 of 17)

11)With right sides together, match your pins on your side band with the quarter seams from Step 8. Pin. Then pin at the eights. Then pin at the 16ths, so that now there is a pin at EVERY seam of your pillow front. Add more in between those if it makes you feel more comfortable!
*Sewing circles can be tricky. Use lots of pins!*
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (10 of 17)

12) SLOWLY sew along the pinned edge with a 1/2" seam allowance. All the way around. Make sure to un-bunch your fabric as you go. 
*I find it is easier to have the pieced circle on the bottom and the band on top so that it's easier to push the band into place.*
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (11 of 17)

13) Take your back circle and fold it in 1/2. Mark the fold at the edges. Unfold, then refold to match up those pins and mark the new fold (just like we did for the band). 
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (12 of 17)
14) Match up these marking with the ones on the band and pin. Then pin in between. Keep pinning until you're out of pins! (Ok, you don't have to pin that much...)
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (13 of 17)

15) SLOWLY sew along the pinned edge with a 1/2" seam allowance. STOP with about a 4" opening. Make sure to un-bunch your fabric as you go. Back stitching at the beginning and end is REALLY important.
* Having a hard time remembering to leave the opening? Put 2 pins at the stopping point as a reminder.*
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (14 of 17)

16) Turn your pillow right side out through your opening.

17) Now take a LONG embroidery needle with a long length of embroidery floss (big knot at the end please) and, from the inside to the outside, push the needle through the middle of the front patchwork. Pull it through all the way. This is a preparation for step 19.
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (15 of 17)

18) Stuff with your stuffing of choice. Nice and full! Adjust as evenly as possible. It took me almost an entire bag of polyfil.

19) Stitch the opening closed. I used a ladder stitch.
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (16 of 17)

20) We are going to tack the pillow in the middle first, then add the buttons. So, with your needle hanging out the front middle, go down through the top and out the middle back, then back up to the top. Pull tight. Back down and up once more, then knot the thread. This will all be covered with the button, it's just easier to have it already puckered.
BellyButton Pillow Tutorial (17 of 17)

20) Grab your pillow front button. Sew up through through it, then down and out the middle back. Take your other button and sew up through it. When you come down, go all the way through the pillow and front button. Continue until the buttons are secure. Tie off and bury the knot & tail.
BellyButton Pillow (2 of 2)

BellyButton Pillow (1 of 1)BellyButton Pillow (1 of 2)
* Sorry if the colors in the pictures are a bit off, it's tough to get good light for tutorials after work!*

** For personal use only **


  1. Thank you for the great tutorial! I am going to make this - out of Hope Valley too!

  2. it's so cute! ♥

    thanks for the full tutorial... I wanted to try to make one too... and was going to use my Dresden ruler. This is much better!

  3. lol, this is very timely! I just posted on my blog about this pillow and my inability to get the points to match up. If you don't mind, I am going to link this post as a follow up:
    Thanks for the great tutorial!

  4. Beautiful pillow! Thanks so much for the tutorial, you made it look so simple :)

  5. That is an awesome tute! Hope I can find time to try it this weekend!

  6. Great tutorial- clear and helpful- good for Christmas cushions

  7. That's a cute pillow! Thanks for the tutorial, and good job with it (super clear). I'd love to make one of these some day. Um, after the holidays. :)

  8. I luuuuuuuuuuv this pillow! I can't believe I stumbled onto your blog and found this tut!!! I'm sooo excited!!!!

  9. really inspired me to make it in my workshop :)

    belinda from Indonesia

  10. i learned so much from this tutorial. it was very well written, and easy to follow. the patterns were incredibly helpful as well. thank you thank you thank you!

  11. Thank you for this. Will applique to a square piece of muslin for a square pillow. The pi part just escaped me. I teach kindergarten. Too long since my pi days LOL.

  12. New to your blog. I realize this is an older post, but I do want you to know how much I like this pillow! Can't wait to give it a try. I just bought a wedge ruler to make round quilts--50 to 70 inches I believe. I'll have to try a matching pillow now, too. Thanks for sharing. I know these tutorials are a lot of work.


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