One of the easiest ways to transform a room is to add a few throw pillows, or update pillows you already have with new covers.
A silk pillow cover can really dress up a room, while a shabby chic cover made from a big floral print can give a house a cottage look. A few seasonal throw pillows can help decorate a home for any holiday, from Christmas to Valentine’s Day to Halloween.
Best of all, throw pillows are surprisingly easy to sew. No fancy techniques are needed.
Throw Pillow Covers Use Up Extra Fabric
Throw pillow covers can be made from a wide variety of fabrics: orphan quilt blocks, quilting fabric, fleece, upholstery fabric, silk, linen, even faux fur. Before you head off to the fabric store, look through your stash for leftovers that can be repurposed for your pillow.
Easy Throw Pillow Cover is Removable for Washing
This pillow cover has an opening in the back to make it easy to remove the cover for washing. Assembling it should take less than an hour. Add extra time if you want to quilt or embellish the front panel.
- Pillow form. These are available in many sizes at craft or fabric stores, or you can reuse a pillow form you already have.
- (Optional) batting and backing fabric for quilting the pillow front, if desired.
- (Optional) Appliqué or embellishments such as buttons, ribbons, embroidery floss, decorative threads.
- (Optional) Trim to go around the pillow’s outside edge.
- Rotary cutter, cutting mat, cutting ruler
- Sewing machine, iron and pressing surface
- Front panel fabric: This should be 2” wider and 2” longer than the pillow form. (If the pillow form is 14” x 14”, the front panel fabric should be 16” x 16.”)
- Back panel fabric: This can be a different fabric from the front panel. You will need 2 identical pieces, each one the same width as the front panel fabric. The back panel length should be half of the front panel length + 2½”, so the back pieces will overlap each other when assembled. (If the front panel is 16” x 16”, the back panel will be 8” + 2½”, or 10 ½”.)
Fabric Dimensions for Popular Pillow Sizes
- 14” x 14” pillow: Front 16” x 16”. Back, 2 pieces, 16” x 10½” each
- 18” x 18”pillow: Front 20” x 20”. Back, 2 pieces, 20” x 11½” each
- 24” x 24” pillow: Front 26” x 26”. Back, 2 pieces, 16” x 10” each
Step by Step Instructions for Sewing a Throw Pillow
- Cut the fabric for front and back to the size that fits your pillow form. See the section above for dimensions.
- (Optional) Quilt the front panel, add appliqué, or add buttons, ribbons, or other embellishments.
- Finish the top edge of each back panel piece by folding over ½” to the wrong side, pressing, then folding again to completely hide the top raw edge. Stitch along the folded edge. An alternate way to finish the edges is to bind each top edge like a quilt, using an extra piece of double-fold binding.
- Lay the front panel right side up on a flat surface. Lay the two back panel pieces right side down on top of the front panel, aligning them all around the outside edges. The back pieces should overlap in the middle. Pin all around the outside edges.
- Sew around the outside edge of the pillow, using a ½” seam for strength. Remove the pins as you sew to avoid hitting a pin with your needle.
- Clip the seam allowance in the corners to make turning easier. (Optional: stitch around all the raw edges with a zigzag stitch to neaten the seams and prevent raveling.)
- Turn the pillow cover right side out, using a chopstick or the eraser end of a pencil to poke out the corners.
- Insert the pillow form into the opening on the back side.
That’s all there is to making a stylish new pillow cover, the perfect home accessory for any mood or occasion.