Super Easy DIY Throw Pillow Cover

by CK
4 Materials
I guess you could say I'm addicted to throw pillows. ;-) But honestly they are one of the easiest and least expensive ways to update your decor. Sometimes I find throw pillows on sale but most of the time I make my own. And you can too...even if you don't sew. For those of you who do sew, you can skip this very simple, easy, DIY tutorial because you'll say "That's too easy!" ;-)
Let's get started! You can have new throw pillows for your living room or bedrooms in no time AND for far less than what you can purchase ready-made pillows. Best of all, they're truly custom designed by you!
Step 1: First choose your fabric. It doesn't necessarily have to be decorator weight fabric. For this tutorial I've used simple cotton blend.

Step 2: How much to buy? Our pillow will be about 18" wide so we'll need to purchase a half yard. To save money look for either 36" or 44/45" wide material. You can buy a half yard of wider fabric but you'll have more waste.

Step 3: If you plan to launder your pillows, prewash the fabric to avoid any shrinking later. This is a good thing if you have kids or pets who'll also use the pillows. ;-) (Make sure your fabric says washable.)

NOTE: You'll see that the fabric I'm using for the tutorial isn't the same as my finished pillow. (I decided to do a tutorial after my pillow was done.)

Let's start the actual sewing process!
Step 4: Lay out your fabric wrong side up. Fold back a half inch of one of the selvage edges. (That's the one that looks like this.) Here you'll sew it (or use fabric tape) to make a finished edge. Press it flat with your iron.
Step 5: With fabric laying right side up, fold back the side that you've just sewn the selvage edge down. On this photo the left side is the side I've just sewn. Fold it to approximately 2/3 of the way across the fabric. Here's why: This is going to be a throw pillow cover that's in the style of a pillow sham...or 'envelope' pillow. This style makes it really easy to remove the pillow insert for laundering.
This is what it looks like when it's laying down on the left side of the fabric. Next we'll see what it looks like when we bring over the right side.
Step 6: Here I'm folding over the fabric from the right, to meet in about the middle of the pillow sham.
Step 7: There should be a large overlap of fabric, meaning the left side and right side do not meet flush with each other.
Step 8: On one of the unfinished sides, you'll be sewing a 1/2" seam from top to bottom. You can trim any excess if necessary. Use straight pins to hold the fabric in place as you sew if you're new at this ;-) Start at the top and......
.....continue sewing all the way to the bottom. If sewing, not using fabric tape, tie off in a knot or backstitch to make sure the stitching stays in place. Now do the other side the same way. So far you've only sewn 3 seams! Not bad and honestly not too hard since they're all just straight seams. This really is an easy project for beginners.
Step 9: Your fabric is now sewn and ready to turn right side out as shown here. Now you'll want to iron it flat to get rid of any wrinkles and to press the seams nicely. The front side is the solid piece of fabric. The back will look like the photo below.
Step 10: This is the back side of the pillow. Here you can see the opening where the pillow insert will go. As you can see, the design of this is like a pillow sham you get when purchasing a bedding set that includes duvet cover and pillow shams. So yes, you can also make your own custom bed pillow sized covers using this same'll just need more fabric. :-)

OK....Now here's another super duper easy and inexpensive way to stuff that pretty pillow cover you just made. :-) You can certainly purchase a pillow form from any store but if you want to save money here's what I do.

I purchase an inexpensive regular size bed pillow. Walmart has them for $2.50. Because the really inexpensive ones are filled with rolled batting, they're great for this use.
Step 11: Push the batting over so you can easily cut open one end of the pillow. Then remove the batting and pull it apart so you have individual pieces that you'll use to re-stuff to fit the pillow cover you just made. If you happen to purchase a pillow that already has pieces of stuffing, you skip this step.
Step 12:

a. Measure the empty bed pillow and cut off any excess so it fits into the pillow cover you've just made. Don't make the pillow insert the same exact size as your pillow cover. You need to have a little extra to allow for the stuffing ;-)

b. Determine how much stuffing you want in your pillow. Surprisingly though I started with a regular sized bed pillow, after I pulled apart the batting(stuffing) I used it all to re-stuff the pillow to the size of my sewn pillow cover!

c. Once you've decided your pillow insert is the fullness you need, sew it closed. Don't worry if it looks a little rough, you won't see it when it's inside your pillow cover ;-)

d. Before inserting it, make sure you've got the stuffing evenly distributed. Avoid areas that are too full or too empty by just pushing and pulling it around till it's even.
Step 13: Now you have your finished pillow insert. As you can see it's quite a bit smaller than the bed pillow size I started out with. We're ready to make it pretty now! Just insert into the finished sewn pillow cover you just made and wait for all the compliments on your custom designed work :-)
This shows the back side of the finished throw pillow cover. The pillow insert is easily removed from the opening when the cover needs laundering.

OK, you say.....Won't the pillow insert show through? Nope... If you've designed it as shown, there should be enough fabric on the inside "flap" so that even if the pillow gets tousled about, the opening will still show the nice fabric.

Once you make one of these, you'll say "Man, that was easy! Why did she do so many steps?" LOL! You're right! It is quite easy and hopefully the many steps described made it easy for you to make many more :-)

Now one last look......

1/2 yard of cotton blend fabric from Walmart = $2.00

Thread (I had it already but you only need a small thimble)

Fabric tape (I didn't use this. But you'll find it at any fabric store.)

Bed pillow (to be used for pillow insert/stuffing) from Walmart - $2.50
Suggested materials:
  • 1/2 yard of cotton blend fabric   (Any fabric store)
  • Thread in coordinating color to material   (Any fabric store)
  • Inexpensive bed pillow   (Walmart)
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