Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Simple Pillow Cover Tutorial

Isn't this little throw pillow adorable? I got it on clearance at Tar-jay a few months ago. Unfortunately, when I got it home, I realized it really clashed with my living room decor. Then Mr. Vintage Violet said he didn't like it. :( And since he usually goes sweetly along with anything decorating related that I want to do (and it really didn't match the room), I decided it was time for a change!

Time for a pillow cover!

This is a really simple project and is perfect for the beginning sewer. It probably took me an hour start to finish.

First, you need to measure the dimensions of your pillow.

This one was 20 inches long...

By 12 inches... short? Hmmm... Not sure how to word that correctly.

Now take your fabric that you've already washed and dried. I bought this 100% cotton linen-ish looking stuff for $2.50 a yard at Wally world. To cut a straight line, I like to fold the fabric over a few times and cut through several layers at once. The shorter the line I have to cut, the better the odds that I will actually cut it straight.

Since my pillow is 12 inches on the short side, I decided to cut that side of my fabric at 13 inches, that way I would have 1/2 inch on each side for my seam allowance.

Then I cut the ends off the other ends of my piece of fabric. I ended up with a big square about 13 inches by 28 inches. Then I cut that piece in half.

Now we have two pieces of fabric that are 13 inches by 14 inches. These two pieces will become the back of our pillow.

Next, cut another piece of fabric that is 13 inches short and 21 inches long (20 inches to fit the pillow plus 1/2 inch on each side for the seam allowance). If you are making a different sized pillow, just measure the dimensions of your pillow and add an inch to each measurement.

The two smaller pieces on the right are going to overlap to make the back of our pillow the same length as the front. But first, we have a few more steps.

Take one of the smaller pieces and fold over the edge about 1/2 inch on the short side (for me, this was the side that is 13" long). Iron your fold in place. My fabric doesn't have a right or wrong side, but if yours does, you want to fold your fabric so that the wrong sides are "kissing."

Next, take some hem tape, and cut a piece to fit inside your fold.

Place the hem tape inside the fold.

See how we're sort of making a fabric, hem tape, fabric sandwich?

 Now, just iron your fold again with the hem tape between the two layers of fabric.

We've now created a hem, without any sewing! Repeat these steps with your other short piece of fabric.

Now take your large, unhemmed rectangle of fabric and, with right sides kissing, lay one of the short hemmed pieces on top. Then hemmed side should face towards the center of the pillow. Like this...

Next, take the other short hemmed piece, and lay it on the other end of your fabric rectangle, with hemmed edge facing towards the center. Your two hemmed pieces should now be overlapping in the center of the pillow. Like this...


Now, throw some pins around the edges.

 Now you need to sew around the edges. Set your sewing machine to a straight stitch of medium length. Sew all the way around the edges of your pillow cover, 1/2 inch from the edges.

When you've finished sewing, take your scissors and clip the corners of your pillow on a diagonal, very close to your seam. This allows the corners of your pillow cover to not be bunchy when you turn it right side out.

When you turn your pillow right side out, the corners will probably not turn all the way out.

(Argh! Don't know why this picture won't turn sideways! Hopefully I can fix that later. Anyway...) Take one of your pins and dig it into the corner of fabric, picking the fabric out into a point, so that none of the corner is buried inside the pillow cover. Now, iron your pillow cover so that all the seams are nice and flat.


Start shoving that pillow in there! You might need to use a little muscle.

All done! Love it!

Here's how it looks in the back.

I took a few pictures of my new pillow. It just looks good everywhere!

I made the red and white striped pillow using the same technique as for this one.

This is such a simple project. Have you ever made pillow covers?

I'm linking this project to The Shabby Chic Cottage's Transformation Thursday!

The Shabby Nest


  1. Oh my gosh - I attempted this a few months ago and it was a disaster! Thanks for the awesome tutorial! I would love if you would link this up at Saturday Social!!

    - Jenn @ Social Salutations

  2. Jennifer, thanks for letting me know about your link party!

  3. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!! I am visiting from Tatertots and Jello and I am a new follower! I would love love love if you would link this up to my Delicately Constructed linky party!
    I hope you have a fabulous weekend and I see you around soon!

  4. really great tutorial! it looks awesome!

    Found you on TT&J.

    I would love for you to link this up at my weekend Link Party, Once Upon a Weekend. This weekend is my first-ever party, and I am so hoping people will participate! :)

    Here’s the link if you’re interested:

    Also, if you have a list of favorite link parties, I’d love to be included on Fridays. Thanks a ton!

  5. Sarah! I never knew how to make a pillow cover like that. That's awesome! Thanks so much for the great tutorial. (I heard about it from your mom's post on your wall... You two are great. And, I'm also very excited about seeing the big reveal of the basement. :0)) Love you guys!