Make an Easy-to-Sew Child’s Pillow Book Tote

Pillow Pocket TotesI have friends and relatives whose children are having babies this summer. I want to gift them something handmade that will be useful for many years to come. The Pillow Book Tote, which I’ve made before, seems like just such a gift. I’ll use fabrics appropriate for a boy or a girl as some of the young parents are waiting to reveal the gender. Having been an elementary school teacher, I gift a book for a baby that is fun for the parents to read to the little one.

This pillow book tote uses 2 different 1/2 yard cuts of fabric and a 14″ square pillow (I got mine from JoAnn Fabrics) and is quite easy and quick to cut and sew.

Below, I am including the tutorial for you, but I have a free PDF instruction sheet detailing how to make one that is available at MY PAYHIP SHOP.


INSTRUCTIONS for Child’s Pillow Book Tote


  • cutting mat,
  • rotary cutter,
  • pins,
  • sewing machine,
  • 1/2 yard main print
  • 1/2 yard coordinating fabric for pocket
  • 14” pillow form
  • Thread


  • From main print, cut one 14-1/2” x 14-1/2” square and two rectangles 10” x 14-1/2”
  • From coordinating fabric, cut one 14-1/2” x 14-1/2” square and one 6” x 14-1/2” rectangle

Front Fabric Cut  Back Fabrics Cut  Pocket Fabric Cut

  • Fold and press the 6” x 14-1/2” rectangle in half, open it, fold the edges to the middle, press in half to form a strip that is about 1-1/2” x 14-1/2” then stitch along both folded edges.
  • Fold the coordinating 14-1/2″ x 14-1/2″ fabric in half with the wrong sides together. Press and topstitch 1/4″ from the fold. Handle folded for sewing
  • Hem the two 10” x 14-1/2” rectangles along one 14-1/2” edge of each piece by folding the edge 1/4″ and again 1/4″ for the hem, pressing and pinning. (If using directional fabrics, hem the top edge of one piece and the bottom edge of the other.)  Back pieces hemmed

Sew the Pillow Tote

  • Place the main 14-1/2” x 14-1/2” piece, right side up on the table.
  • Find the top center of this piece. Mark 3-1/2″ to the left and to the right of the center.
  • Pin the 1-1/2” x 14-1/2” handle in place on the top of the main print, with the outer edge of each handle touching that 3-1/2” mark from the center.

Handle centered on front of tote

  • Align the pocket with the bottom of the main print, matching raw edges.

  • Place the 14-1/2″ raw edge of one hemmed rectangle along the top edge, over the handles, aligning all raw edges. Re-pin the handle so the pins are now on the outside.

Top back fabric pinned over handle

  • Place the raw edge of the lower hemmed rectangle along the bottom edge, aligning raw edges. The two folded 10″ x 14-1/2″ pieces will overlap about 3″. Pin around all four edges.

Bottom back fabric place over front

  • Stitch around all edges with a 1/2” seam allowance. Reinforce the handle edges by re-stitching that portion of the seam allowance.

Clip corners

  • Clip the corners.

Finished back of tote  Finished front of tote

  • Turn right side out through the back opening, push corners out. Insert pillow form.
  • I have an easy way to turn the corners of pillows out and very seldom do I have to use something to poke them out!
  • CLICK HERE for a short instruction.

As the child gets older, the pillow book tote can go to the sitter’s, grandma’s, on a trip, to bed. These would be great donations to a children’s charity with a book in the pocket. Let me know if you make one or more and how you gifted it.


Nancy Myers
Nancy Myers
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