Lisa Kyle Young Photography

Making Throw Pillow Covers

I love to make covers for our throw pillows. It makes it so easy to do a quick re-decorate around the house plus cleaning is easy.  Just remove the cover and throw it in the wash or handwash it.  Pillows without re-moveable covers are so hard to clean. You just have to spot clean them and that can be quite difficult after a summer of house guests and kids running all over.

But I want all my projects to be simple, easy, and quick. That means I try not to have to include zippers or sew button holes as this just provides me with another way to screw things up. After a bit of research I decided that the simplest pillow cover for me would be one that is basically just like an envelope. I think they are also referred to as pocket pillows. Just a pocket that you put your pillow into. You probably don’t want to put stuffing into it cause it could fall out. This type of design is best for covering an existing pillow or a pillow form.

The hardest part about making throw pillow covers is determining the exact measurement to cut the fabric.  I have been off by an inch or two and then either the pillow cover it too large or too small.  Even with trying to be exact with the measurements and taking into account the depth of the pillow and the seams it seems (no pun intended – OK pun intended) I never come out quite right. It also depends on how squishy/fluffy the existing pillow is as to how much it gives when trying to stuff it into the pocket and after it is covered.

The first couple of pillow covers I made came out too small so then I ended up sewing snaps on the cover to help keep it closed. The next couple I made came out too big. Trial and error.  But an easy solution is to put a different sized pillow into the cover.

What I do is determine the final size I want the pillow cover to be, like I said a bit difficult to determine but I try my best, and then I cut fabric width wise to include the seam (roughly 5/8″ but anywhere from 1/2″ to 1″ will work just fine), and then lengthwise I cut about 2 1/2 times the desired finished product length. Again, this can vary depending on the pillow. I have covered long bench pillows where I like the fabric overlap to be a bit longer than with square throw pillows but if it is too long and you are trying to push a piece of long thick foam into it then it can be nearly impossible. Determining the perfect overlap length is an art.

After washing and pressing the fabric I fold over the edges on all sides and sew them to finish the seam. I then fold the fabric, right sides facing each other, into a three piece, two fold, envelope (see photo below) and sew the two sides together. There are tons of really good tutorials on the internet which explain it better than me.


Cover shown inside out and folded right sides facing each other, three ways - Notice the overlap

Cover shown inside out and folded right sides facing each other, three ways – Notice the overlap

Cover right side out - notice the overlap (envelope)

Cover right side out – notice the overlap (envelope)

Pillow cover with pillow form in it

Pillow cover with pillow form in it

Final product on the couch

Final product on the couch




Tagged on: