How to Sew Pillow Cover Tutorial

I’ve recently been looking for inexpensive ways to upgrade the décor in my living room.  When we moved into our 1989 colonial we purchased a beautiful leather sofa set that came with a ton of pillows.  Fortunately the pillows were a high quality down pillow, but unfortunately they came with a very dark and dated cover.  Since it’s proved to be a challenge to upgrade certain items and stay under a $100 (my budget for the upgrades), replacing the couch pillows seemed the easiest solution.  Boy was I wrong!  Currently only six pillows remain in the living room and to purchase brand new pillows I was looking at $25 to $30 a pillow, yikes!  As I scrolled through another home shopping website feeling utterly sticker shocked a banner came across the screen for a Joann Fabrics home décor fabric sale.  Perfect—time to make pillow covers.  And it turns out, not only was it pretty easy, but it was very inexpensive alternative to full replacements.  To cover all six pillows (each one measuring at 19 x 19) it cost $31.26 with tax.  Mind you, these fabrics were on sale, so make sure you grab a coupon if you want to make the covers with home décor fabric which tends to be on a higher price point.  You can, however, make pillow covers with cotton or even fleece!



·         Thread

·         Sewing Pins

·         Sewing machine (or a sewing needle if you have the patience and time)

·         Scissors

·         Measuring tape

·         Material

·         The pillow(s) you are covering



1.      Lay material on a flat surface and place pillow on material.  You will need to measure how much material will be needed to cover the pillow, along with space for the seam.  Fold the material over the pillow (if it’s a fat pillow, push the pillow down to get an accurate measurement). 

2.      Once you know the amount of fabric, begin to cut the material.  I recommend you leave a 2 inch seam on the long ends of the material.

3.      Flip you material so the right side (outside) of the fabric is facing down and the inside is facing up.

4.      Once material is cut, on the top and bottom (shortest measured lengths), fold material in 2 inches.  After folded, tuck the material to create a double tuck—this will create a 1 inch seam.  Pin these edges.

5.      With your sewing machine already set up and threaded, sew these short ends (make sure to pull the pins out as you go!)

6.      You’ll now have a long piece of material with the ends sewn.  Lay this out and place your pillow on the material.  At this point you need to measure how much material is needed to cover the pillow with an overlap.  Flip the material so the inside of the material is out and the outside in.   Take the bottom on the fabric and pull it over the bottom of the pillow and the top of the pillow.  You are essentially creating something that looks like a pocket or envelop. 

7.      Remove the pillow and pin the edges length-wise.  You’ll need to leave a 2 inch seam (or whatever inch seam based on your pillow)

8.      Sew these seams. I highly recommend sewing it twice so it is an extra durable seam.

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9.      Simply turn your pillow cover the right side out and stuff your pillow in! 

10.  Enjoy a new pillow cover that can easily be removed and washed or even updated as the seasons change!

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Some Extra Tips:

·         Wash, dry, and iron material based on the material directions just in case you wash the cases later and the material shrinks

·         You are basically making the pillow inside out and then turning it the correct way when you put the pillow in the cover—thinking of it this way made it easier to remember which way the fabric went

·         Bring your pillow to the store with you and don’t be afraid to ask someone in the fabric department to help you estimate the amount of fabric you will need!  Each pillow required 23 inches of fabric!  If it wasn’t for the help of a young woman in the fabric department I might still be at Joann’s trying to figure this out!

I am really happy with the way these covers turned out and I am excited to sew more covers for around my house! Keep in mind, when you are doing basic upgrades these can actually add a lot of visual appeal to your home (especially if you are selling)!

Thanks for reading!



Gina GarlockComment