Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Super Simple Pillow Covers

I think I might hate to sew.  Maybe if I had a designated sewing area - like an entire room - where everything was already set up and handy, maybe then I wouldn't hate it.  I hate having to dig everything out, set up shop at the dining room table, lay fabric out on the living room floor to have enough room to see what I'm doing, and then clean everything up and put it all away when I'm done.  It's a pain.  And if you remember my ranting about sewing my bedroom curtains here, then you'll recall my inability to cut or sew a straight line.  Not so good when you're trying to create something that doesn't look like a five year old made it.

Which leads me to pillow covers.  I don't know about you, but in my house, I need things that are easily washable.  And with my ever changing decor frenzies, I need to be able to change things on the cheap.  Enter the pillow slipcover.  The easiest way to swap out pillows, in my opinion.

My outdoor pillows are not outdoor pillows.  They're cheap $5 dollar Walmart pillows that I got two years ago.  They've definitely seen their better day.  So last time JoAnn's had their outdoor fabric on sale for 1/2 off, I bought some.  I have six pillows outside, two of which I covered last month with some outdoor fabric I already had.  Today I covered the other four.

I'm a visual person, so I took lots of pictures.  This is by no means the "correct" way to sew.  I do what works for me to get the end result I desire.

Normally, I would wash and dry my fabric first, but I didn't do that this time because of the fabric I was using.

I'm less of a measurer than I am an eyeballer, so I layed everything out on the floor to get my bearings.

Then I did end up measuring, just so I could easily do four without having to lay everything out every time.

My pillows are 17" square, so I cut my fabric to 18" wide, with the plan of NOT folding the edges in before sewing.  You can take the time to do that, but I have way too little patience for extra measuring and ironing.  I'm sure it would make the seams sturdier, but mine seem to hold up just fine.  I do, however, hem the short ends, because they will show.

 Next, I held my breath and cut.

At this point, you'll want to hem one of your short ends.

Fold over once and iron.

Fold over again and iron again.


You should have something like this.

Now, before you hem the other short end, you may need to trim your fabric a little.  You could measure, or you could eyeball it like me.  I lay the pillow on top, wrap the fabric around and mark how much I need to cut off.

Once it was the length I wanted, making sure there was at least three inches of overlap, I did lay it out and measure it so I'd know where to cut the next three.

Once your fabric is cut, hem the other end just like the first.

Next, lay your fabric out, right side up, and put your pillow on it.  Fold the ends in to cover the pillow.

Carefully slide the pillow out.

Stick a pen in both sides so that when you pick it up to carry it to the sewing machine, it stays folded where you've marked it.

Sew both sides closed.  It should look like this.

Turn the cover right side out.

At this point, if the stars are aligned, the pillow will fit inside of the cover.

Here they are outside.

I'm linking up to What I Made Wednesday over at Sweet Peas and Bumblebee and Nifty Thrifty Sunday over at Nifty Thrifty Things.


  1. Very pretty pillows! Your colours are very similar to our patio and porch pillow colours and I made pillows this year and last too.

  2. Love the fabric choices! Nice job!

  3. Cute! i am the same way. I hate following directions and want to just do it!! It usually turns out ok. Great blog!!

  4. Cute! Love the pillows!
    Thank you so much for linking this up to {nifty thrifty sunday} as well!

  5. Hi Mindy--I hear you about having a sewing room. I've lived in houses where I did not have a sewing room and it does slow you down. I am also slowed down by my own procrastination so bravo to you for just getting it done and adding a lift to your day by making your living space lovely.
    I just finished some pillow covers myself and made them removable to be washable (pooping birds, drooling dogs, slopping teens...). It is satisfying to get the old wrapped up with the new.
    Now make sure you have some time to relax against those pillows! :)

  6. Mindy- You did a great job. I, too, like having a place for sewing, so I don't have to get everything out all the time. Though, when I did have to use the dining table, it stayed for quite a while before I put it away- usually when company was coming. lol. We just ate in the kitchen!

    Thanks for linking to Well-Made Wednesday!

  7. OMG! Just found your blog for the first time and I totally posted this almost exact same tutorial on my blog yesterday! I swear i didn't copy cat...haha. Love the pillows! Your blog is super cute and fun.


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