DIY Pillow Cover in Five Easy Steps

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I’m back with another Drab to Fab for y’all:

DIY hand-sewn pillow cover!

This is one of the Pinterest project attempts completed for the 30-before-30 challenge: 30 completed Pinterest projects. View the rest here.

I had seen so many pillow case tutorials online, and sewing-machine tutorials for decorative pillow covers. But as ironic as it is, this avid DIY-er does not own a sewing machine (yet)! Because of this, the easier the template, and the fewer stitches needed, the better. And thus, though I pulled some tips and tricks from other Pinterest pins of pillow covers, I’m sharing a tutorial for those of y’all who also stick to the traditional way of sewing–by hand!

DIY Pillow cover

Materials needed for a DIY Pillow Cover: 

  • – Old Pillow (or pillow insert)
  • – Fabric (enough to wrap both sides of the pillow, and a few extra inches.
  • – Tape measure
  • – Scissors
  • – Pins for hemming
  • – Sewing Needle and complimentary color thread

I decided on a medium-weight green-and-white chevron fabric for my new DIY pillow cover. I lucked out and found about 1.4 yrd of fabric in the clearance section of Hobby Lobby. I bought the pillow for $3 at a thrift store. The local thrift by me chemically sanitizes their pillows, so you know you’re getting a clean, like-new product with no scare!

Pillow and Fabric

After scouring Pinterest and taking a look at other blog tutorials, I combined the best of several tutorials I saw to create the following steps for an easy and quick DIY Pillow Cover:


Step 1: Measure Your Pillow Width

Hopefully, you already got tons of fabric as a “just in case” precaution (I know I always do!). Measure the width (length-wise) of your pillow from end to end. This particular pillow was approx. 19 in. on one side. Now, double that number and add a few “cushion” inches for hem and wiggle room (literally, you will find when you’re done you have to “wiggle” the pillow into the cover).

I added an extra 8 inches because I wanted wide hems (and, to be completely honest, I had 8 inches left after doubling my pillow’s width). So, my fabric width ended up being: 19+19+8=46 inches.

Step 2: Measure the Height

Take your tape measure and measure the height of your pillow. Cut your fabric to this measurement, do not leave extra room. You want the cover to fit snug, so giving a little room on the height will consequently cause the cover to sag a little.

Step 3: Pin and Sew Hems

Now that your fabric is cut, it’s time to sew the hems. Pin, then sew a small hem on each side of the pillow, where the flaps will end up being. I used a mix between a running stitch and a blind hem stitch in order to achieve a strong, hand-sewn seam but make the stitches less noticeable on the front. If you’re beginning to learn how to sew, this blog has a great list with examples of basic hems.

Pin and Sew Hem

Step 4: Hem All Sides

Your sides are hemmed, now it’s time to sew the whole thing together! Fold your pillow so that the hemmed sides are overlapping, creating an opening with a little fabric cover underneath. Measure out this step to make sure when folded, the fabric measures the width of your pillow (in my case, 20 inches). You will be sewing the top and the bottom, hemming together all pieces of fabric. Make sure to pin your fabric so that ALL pieces are sewn together. In some parts, you will be sewing three separate pieces together.

I decided on a back stitch for my hem, as I wanted a little bit of a stronger hold than a blind hem. Looking back, I probably would have doubled up on my hem for a bit of a better hold and strength, but if you are not doing this by hand, then you have nothing to worry about 🙂

fold pillow cover for sewing

Step 5: Fold Your Cover Right Side Out, and Stuff!

And with a few easy steps, your pillow is ready to go! Taking care to push each corner out, flip your pillow cover inside out (this will actually make it right side out). Now, all there is left to do is stuff your old pillow (or pillow insert) into the new cover! Take care in doing this step, if you have a long pillow like mine, it will take some work to get the pillow to go into the cover, it won’t go willingly. Just work at it, bit by bit, and “wiggle” your insert into the cover, so as to not stretch or rip the work you just finished.

DIY pillow cover complete


And there you have it! In five simple steps, you have just taken your drab old pillow to simply fabulous! I love the versatility this gives my home decor. No sense buying expensive pillows for each season; just buy corresponding fabric, sew to the same measurements, and swap them out for each holiday/decor change!

completed DIY pillow cover

If you want a little less “plush” look, you can use a softer insert or add a little room to your measurements, as I did in this other DIY pillow cover:

Before and After DIY Pillow Cover


I can’t wait to see your results! Enjoy! Where will you be putting your new DIY Pillow Cover to use?

Stay Dashing, My Dears!

Sarah is a Marketing Project Coordinator at Research Now.
Sarah writes about events, experiences, and happenings around Dallas, Texas and Plano.
Sarah is a blogger, foodie, and brand advocate, dedicating her free time to DIY craft tutorials, creating new recipes, and reviewing products.

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