Posted by Katie Gambone
I love throw pillows. They make a space cozy and you can quickly and easily change the look of a room by switching them out at different times of the year. The one thing I don’t like about throw pillows is that they can be kind of pricey, and I’ve never really understood why.
So, with the help of my mother-in-law Enza Gambone, today’s post will help you sew your own pillow covers. Enza is a professional seamstress, she is a fantastic teacher and this post would not have been possible without her!
Sewing is a really helpful skill. It was not as hard as I thought it would be and sewing will save you serious cash. In fact, it cost me under $10 ($10!!!) and the assistance of a kind, patient mother-in-law to recover three outdoor pillows. I actually looked at just replacing the pillows at a cost of between $15-$20 per pillow. I therefore calculate that this DIY project saved me roughly $35-$50. But I anticipate it will save me much more cash down the road because I am hooked on sewing now.
So here we go! I had purchased these two pillows (see below) at Lowe’s last year. They aren’t in terrible shape, but the fabric is really faded and looks a little…blah. For some reason they don’t actually look that bad in these pictures, but in person they are not looking great. I had a third pillow in my basement that didn’t have a slipcover currently, so I added it to the project.
Thread to match fabric
Chalk or pen
I found the outdoor fabric for my pillows at Jo-Anne Fabrics. They have a great selection of indoor and outdoor fabrics and they happened to be having a huge sale the day I stopped in (how lucky!) There are also a few websites that have AMAZING fabrics, but I’ll have to save that info for another post. The staff at Jo-Anne Fabrics cut the fabric for me (we eyeballed how much I thought I would need based on similar sized pillows in their store.)
Step 1: Measure the size of the pillow that you are covering.
Step 2: Mark out the size of the pillow cover you are making on the new fabric using chalk or a pen.
If you are using one type of fabric to cover the entire pillow, then you can just fold the fabric in half so that you only need to sew three sides.
*Make sure the pattern of the fabric is on the inside.
With the fabric folded in half, measure out a square that is the same length and width as the pillow you are covering, plus a one inch border. So, if your pillow is a 15 1/2″ square, you are marking out a square that is 16 1/2″. The extra inch of fabric is for your seams. At the end of marking your fabric, it should look like the images below. Pin the fabric along the inner line so that the back and front of your pillow cover stays in place.
Step 3: Cut the fabric on the outer lines.
Step 4: Now comes the fun part – sewing! Sew along the inner lines of your square on the two outer edges of your pillow. Sew from the top to the bottom, taking care to remove the pins that have been holding the fabric in place as you go. Keep your line as straight as possible (it took me a little bit of practice..honestly my lines were quite crooked but I am going to keep practicing).
Once the two outer seams are sewn, turn the fabric to the third side, which is the only remaining side that is open. From the outer edge, sew about 2″ towards the middle of the fabric and stop. Turn the fabric and sew back over the line you just sewed to the edge of the fabric. Do the same thing on the other side of the fabric, leaving a mid-sized opening on the fourth side of your pillow once you are complete.
Step 5: Turn the fabric right side out and stuff your pillow into the opening that you left in the pillow.
Step 6: Gather the fabric that is still open on your fourth side tightly around the pillow and line up the edges. Sew as close to the edge as you can to fully enclose the pillow. Enza did this part until I get more practice sewing straight lines.
For indoor pillows, you could try a different type of enclosure (like an envelope fold or secure the fourth side with buttons) so that you can easily remove the pillows to clean the fabric as needed. I choose not to do that for my outdoor pillows for the simple reason that when it rains I don’t want moisture to be able to get into the openings, which can make the pillows moldy.
That’s it! You now have successfully sewn a slipcover for your pillow. Here are a few pictures showing you how my slipcovers turned out.
I’m really happy with them! Another big thank you to Enza for her help! I can’t wait to get started on my next sewing project. It’s something for my little guy Matteo…so stay tuned.
If you have sewing projects you think we should try, send us a message in the comments section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to see more DIY projects? Visit the DIY page of our website or subscribe to our email list by clicking here. Happy sewing!