Make a New Pillow Cover – the Easy Way

After the Christmas tree comes down and the living room gets put back in order, I’m always looking for something new to start the new year. Sometimes, I just rearrange the furniture to make it feel new. This year, I decided to use this beautiful purple plaid flannel material to make new pillows for the sofa. I go crazy for plaid!  And flannel, who can resist that soft feel? I bought this material for a skirt and with the leftover fabric, I made these pillows – a great addition to our gray sofa.

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Most pillow covers have a zipper in them so that they can be removed for washing. This is a great feature, but makes the sewing a little more complicated and precise when making by hand. I was trying to think of way to make a cover without a zipper and thought of pillow shams. That same concept of an overlapping back works for a throw pillow too. This pillow cover can be made in about 20-30 minutes and only very basic sewing is needed. You don’t even need to measure – just line up the fabric with an existing pillow or pillow form.

Materials Needed

  • Fabric
    • one piece the size of your pillow, plus 1/2″ all around
    • two pieces the size of 1/2 your pillow plus about 4″

The exact amount of fabric will depend on the size of the pillow you intend to cover. You’ll need enough to cover the front and back of the pillow plus about 8 inches for overlap. For example, if your pillow is 15″x15″, you’ll need one piece of fabric that is 16″x16″ for the front (15″x15″ plus seam allowance). You’ll need 2 pieces that are 16″x12″ (8″ plus 4″ overlap on each).

  • Pillow – either an existing pillow or a pillow form.

Sewing the Pillow Cover

Cut out the fabric to match the size of the pillow or old cover plus about 1/2″ extra all the way around for seam allowance. This will be the front of your pillow cover.pillow cover 1

Next, cut 2 pieces for the back. They should be about half the size of the front plus 4 inches. You can make the overlap whatever size you want. I use around 4 inches, but this does not have to be precise.

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Next, turn under the back pieces where they will overlap and stitch for a clean edge. This is actually optional if you are in a hurry. I think it gives a nice finished look, but you could skip this step or simply trim with pinking shears/zig zag scissors.

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Now, we’re ready to stitch the whole thing together. The easiest way to do this is to put the front piece down on a table/flat surface right side up. Place the back pieces on top, right side down, making sure the edges are all lined up and the back pieces with the finished edges overlap in the middle.

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Pin all the way around the edge.

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Stitch all the way around the edge. There will be 3 layers to stitch through where the back overlaps, so go slow to make sure your machine doesn’t bog down.

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Trim the edges with zig zag scissors. This is optional but will help the fabric to fray less and hold up better to washing. Turn right-side out.

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Above picture is the front, below is the back – see the overlap?

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Stuff the pillow.

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That’s it!  A pretty fast and easy project that turns out a really nice pillow. Once you make a couple of these, you’ll want to make them for every season. I’m thinking an old flannel shirt would be cool to recycle into a pillow – maybe with the buttons going down the front and the pocket too. Ideas are endless. 🙂


  1. Thank you for posting this quick & easy method. This will give me an incentive to get fabric off the shelf that I’ve had for years laying around for pillows.

    1. You’re very welcome! 🙂 Once I tried this method, I got a little carried away with pillows. Have fun! 🙂

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